Witches are humans gifted with the power to affect change by supernatural or paranormal means, a practice known as "witchcraft". Witches are generally female, though there are a few male witches, referred to as "warlocks". Because of their unnatural abilities and supposed connections with dark forces, witches have historically been feared, persecuted, and hunted. Many escaped the Salem witch trials and sought refuge in New Orleans. Among the population of witches, there is always one witch per generation who possesses a class of seven powers considered to be advanced acts of magic. This witch is known as the "Supreme". As the witches settled in their new territory, a rivalry between them and the native Voodoo practitioners arose. The feud is still ongoing in present day New Orleans. A group of witches are the focus of Coven, in which magic is a genetic heredity that connects a person to the elements and forces of nature in order to practice witchcraft.
A coven is a community or gathering of witches, a group of believers who gather together for ceremonies of worship, such as celebrating the Sabbaths and honoring the gods. In the context of American Horror Story, Coven also refers to the third story or season. It is unclear how many covens are distributed around the world, however there are at least two recognized covens in the series: the notorious coven of the Salem descendants and the vaguely mentioned coven of Northhampton, England.
The New Orleans coven is dominant worldwide. After the Salem Witch Trials, their descendants established a haven in New Orleans, where they were involved in frequent territorial skirmishes against the resident Voodoo sect. The stronghold of Miss Robichaux's Academy was founded in 1868 in the Garden District by Supreme Marion Warton, both to protect the coven and to nurture the gifts of blossoming witches and warlocks. A family of non-magical stewards has served the school for generations, and a mysterious group of albino guards protects and enforces the will of the Witches Council (itself a judicial body against witch crimes).
The origin of witchcraft remains a mystery; however, it is known that witches have existed for many centuries, passing down their knowledge and skills through generations in family lines, possibly even before Salem. Marie Laveau declared that the basis of witches was originally from Africa, just like Voodoo, and that witches are mere pretenders with gifts stolen long ago. Queenie's ancestor, Tituba, is a slave known for being the first woman accused of witchcraft and is possibly who introduced Salem women to magic.
The Supreme Witch
The Supreme Witch, known more colloquially as The Supreme, is a worldwide recognized status among the witches descending from the Salem witch trials. While most witches possess only a handful of gifts, the Supreme is said to embody multiple, if not all, gifts. Historically, there is said to be only one Supreme per generation (approximately 30-50 years). Part of being a Supreme meant no ailments or diseases would harm the Supreme.
The Witches' Council
The governing body of the witches and warlocks, depicted as elders and very old fashioned as they still use typewriters in the modern times. They are responsible for policing witch crimes, the concealment of witchcraft to the uninitiated, and for the welcoming of potential students to Miss Robichaux's Academy. The council only visits covens on very important cases, such as the death of another witch.
A number of magical powers and abilities have been showcased in Coven.
Some abilities are inherent or reflexive to certain witches, that is they do not need to focus or concentrate. It's not rare for a witch to manifest more than three powers, though a Supreme is required to have at least seven (the Seven Wonders), though not necessarily all possible powers. It is said that the reason that a Supreme is so powerful is because she is the physical embodiment of many and or all powers.
- Witches are shown to be able to use their powers collectively.
- Certain abilities can also be triggered by certain events and substances.
- Voodoo and Witchcraft users share certain powers.
- The way Supremes are chosen is similar to how Slayers in the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer would be "activated", requiring a previous Slayer to die in order for a random person to potentially be the next generation's Slayers. Both Slayers and Supremes are generally female and both shows have witches and supernatural creatures.
- The earliest known American coven (in the series) are descendants of Salem witches but mythology relating to witches existed beforehand, indicating other types of witches may exist. Also, the Delphi Trust has been hunting witches since before the trials of Salem.
- The Supreme Mimi DeLongpre shares the same surname as supposed distant cousins of Constance Langdon and parents of Michael Langdon in her cover story in the final episode of Murder House. "He was the child of distant cousins on my mothers side. The DeLongpres of Virginia, Eveline and Steve."
- ↑ Martin, Denise. Ryan Murphy Reveals More American Horror Story: Coven Plot Details.
- ↑ Episode: Head
- ↑ Episode: Boy Parts