Witches are humans (generally female) with magical talent, and generally with the power to affect change by magical means ("Witchcraft"). Many escaped the Salem witch trials and sought refuge in New Orleans. Among the population of witches, there is always, but one, Supreme Witch per generation. As the witches settled in their new territory, a rivalry between them and the native Voodoo practitioners arose. The feud is still on going 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 Supreme role come with the responsibility of the entire Coven as a leader of the new generation. "Guided by ancient tradition, witches survived only if united under a strong, singular authority".
One of the most important task of the Supreme is to identify her successor, a task that wasn't accomplished by former Supreme Fiona Goode, as a consequence multiple girls were tested and one of them died performing them.
As a new Supreme flowers, the life force of the current regnant gradually fades, which manifests as multiple organ failures, disease, and cancer due to the crippled immune system. In the cases where a new Supreme must rise before the natural death of the incumbent, a ritual known as "The Sacred Taking" is employed; it is a stylized suicide blessed by the coven members. It was developed when the ailing Prudence Mather was not able to make the journey to relocate the coven home to New Orleans during the Salem Witch Trials and allow a potential to ascend to Supremacy. Fiona inherited her powers earlier that most Supremes (her being around late teens to twenties at the time) because she killed her generation's Supreme and self-ascended. Fiona lived for a while after Cordelia became the Supreme but had already become very weak and sickly.
The reigning supreme is Cordelia Foxx who takes over from the previous supreme, Fiona Goode, who was also her mother. Fiona's immediate predecessor was a woman named Anna Leigh Leighton, who ran the school when Fiona was a younger woman in her late teen's. One evening, Fiona questioned her about becoming the next Supreme and how she knew. Anna Leigh informed her of the official test conducted by the council and that, while a witch may possess multiple powers, only a mastery of the Seven Wonders allows for true demonstration of entitlement to the Supremacy. When Fiona demands to be put to the test, Anna Leigh refuses, stating she was still far too young. The two engage in a heated debate of how Anna Leigh was weakening, both in power and in physical health. After Anna Leigh asserts that she would never allow Fiona to take her place, for the good of the coven, Fiona surprises her by transmutating in front of her when she turns and slashing her throat with a letter-opener and thus becoming the Supreme.
To be identified as the Supreme, the witch in question must have the mastery of 7 distinct abilities, known as 'The Seven Wonders' and include the following: Telekinesis, Divination, Transmutation, Pyrokinesis, Concilium, Descensum and Vitalum Vitalis. Fiona is the only known Supreme to be related to the next Supreme, Cordelia, putting into question if being born to the Supreme means the child is meant to be the Supreme or a mere contributing factor. Being a Supreme to a blind Cordelia fully restored the eyes and to Fiona, made the air around her vibrate with sheer power.
Voodoo Queens are shown to be the equivalent to Supremes.
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.
Despite the dwindling number of Salem descendants, the council will punish a witch, if she is found guilty of murdering another witch. Prior to her apparent death at the stake, the head of the witches' council was Myrtle Snow.
|Portrayed by||Leslie Jordan|
|Cause of Death||Dismembered by Myrtle Snow|
Quentin Fleming is a warlock, or a male witch, as well as a member of the witches' council. He is a famous author, whose books are on the best-selling list. It was mentioned that it was Fiona's magic that made his books successful. Myrtle gets revenge against him for being responsible for ordering her burning at the stake by paralyzing and dismembering him, giving one of his eyes to Cordelia. According to Myrtle, Cecily Pembroke and Quentin wanted for years to dominate the Council, therefore agreed to burn her.
|Portrayed by||Robin Bartlett|
|Cause of Death|| Dismembered by Myrtle Snow
Cecily Pembroke is a member of the witches' council that visited the academy. She serves as the stenographer and keeps an official record of the meeting. She is a Salem witch. She seems to be stern and conservative in nature. Quentin notes her lack of charisma. Myrtle gets revenge against Cecily for being responsible for ordering her burning at the stake by paralyzing and dismembering Cecily, giving one of her eyes to Cordelia. According to Myrtle, Cecily Pembroke and Quentin wanted to years dominate the Council, therefore agreed to burn her.
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. This is a partial list of those associated with the witches of American Horror Story. 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 (Misty, Cordelia, Queenie and Madison all telekinetically sent the Axeman back several yards when he attacked as well as Zoe and Madison's resurrection to bring back Kyle, etc.).
The Seven Wonders
All Supremes are assumed to have demonstrated these during their ascension to Supremacy, despite not necessarily being depicted. Only explicit depictions are listed here.
- The ability to manipulate objects with the power of the mind. This is the most commonly seen power, displayed by many witches. (Madison Montgomery, Fiona Goode, Myrtle Snow, Marie Laveau, Nan, Queenie, Zoe Benson, Misty Day, Cordelia Foxx, Anna Leigh Leighton, Stevie Nicks)
- Imposition of one's will onto another. Also called mind control. It can be resisted, though doing so causes increasing intracranial pressure to the point of explosion. (Fiona Goode , Madison Montgomery, Anna Leigh Leighton,Nan, Misty Day, Cordelia Foxx, Zoe Benson, Queenie)
- The ability to control and conjure fire with the power of the mind. (Madison Montgomery, Fiona Goode, Anna Leigh Leighton, Kaylee, Chattahoochee Forest Witch , Cordelia Foxx)
- The extra-sensory awareness of things including, objects and people, is called Divination in Coven. (Zoe Benson, Fiona Goode, Anna Leigh Leighton , Cordelia Foxx, Millie , Myrtle Snow )
- The ability to move instantaneously from one location to another without physically occupying the space in between, also known as Teleportation. (Fiona Goode, Myrtle Snow, Millie , Marie Laveau, Madison Montgomery, Anna Leigh Leighton, Misty Day, Cordelia Foxx, Queenie, Zoe Benson)
- Vitalum Vitalis
- The balancing of scales between one life force and another. Witches can transfer their own life force to dead or nearly dead people in order to heal them. Commonly seen side-effects are fainting and dizziness due to the strain. Can also be used to drain life force as well. (Zoe Benson, Madison Montgomery, Anna Leigh Leighton, Fiona Goode, Cordelia Foxx, Queenie)
- Spiritual decent into the netherworld or afterlife. Witches are able to project themselves directly into Hell, which takes form of their worst fears. If a witch is stuck for a certain amount of time, they will never be able to leave and promptly, their body disintagrates into dust. To use this power, they commonly chant an incantation. (Queenie, Zoe Benson, Madison Montgomery, Anna Leigh Leighton, Fiona Goode, Cordelia Foxx)
- Arising oneself or others from the dead and becoming alive again. It is shown powerful enough to heal the skin of burnt corpses and even fix limbs not previous attached to the body. The power is useless if the body is in too many pieces.
- Injury Transference
- Traumatic physical injuries sustained can be sympathetically transmuted to the body of another, chosen by the caster, along with the pain of the injury. Also referred to as "Human Voodoo Doll".
- Power Negation
- Cancelling out someone else's magic or voodoo curse temporarily. Zoe was able to use this power when Marie Laveau sent evil undead creatures (zombies) to Miss Robichaux's Academy, although she had no prior knowledge she possessed the ability before-hand and activated out of sheer panic and alarm.
- The Sight
- The ability to see significant visions of the past and future through touch, applies to people and materials in a series of visions or premonitions. Described as the most powerful ability to have and the most painful to live with.
- To read minds, which traditionally is referred to as Telepathy, or she may have the ability to predict the future.
- War Cry (Voodoo magic)
- A scream that causes all that hear it to turn on one another, capable of making enemies to fight their own allies.
- Affinity for an extensive knowledge of "Green Magic," including conventional herbalism as well as more sophisticated botanical science.
- Mind Control Dust
- Similar to coercion, consists in launch a magic dust in the person who passes to be controlled.
Rituals and Spells
In addition to the inherent (sometimes reflexive) abilities, there are some rituals or spells featured that require more preparation.
- The Sacred Taking
- A ritual that allows the ascension of a new Supreme, requiring the selfless suicide of the current Supreme. 
- Restoration Spell
- Restores a severed body part back into a living, fully-functional one. This ritual was performed by Zoe Benson to restore Spalding's tongue again to his mouth. 
- Truth Enchantment
- An enchantment on the tongue to only speak the truth when questioned. Cast by Myrtle Snow on Spalding, which led him to cutting off his tongue afterwards. 
- Resurrection Spell
- A reanimation of once-living things. The ritual was performed on Kyle Spencer, with anatomical contributions from other cadavers, by Madison Montgomery and Zoe Benson. 
- Fertility Ritual
- A boost to human female fertility. Performed in a candle-lined circle by Cordelia Foxx, and involving coitus with Hank Foxx inside the circle. Unfortunately, the ritual did not work for her. 
- Protective Berries
- Ritual used by Cordelia Foxx and Misty Day to make the plants from the greenhouse come to life. It is used in conjunction with a potion.
- Injury Ritual
- This ritual allowed Marie Laveau to harm Hank Foxx miles away through the use of a voodoo doll, allowing her to draw blood and pin him in the ground. 
- Reanimation Ritual
- A voodoo ritual that causes once dead corpses to rise as mindless minions. Marie Laveau would levitate above a voodoo symbol and having white irises while she controlled the zombies. However, Zoe Benson's power managed to undo the spell and make the Voodoo Queen fall from the air. 
- Preservation Spell
- An enchantment that allows an object or thing to be preserved. Myrtle Snow has achieved such a spell enchanting the tongue of Spalding. 
- The way Supremes are chosen is similar to how Slayers in the hit show Buffy the Vampire Slayers would be "activated", requiring the previous Slayer to die in order for a random potential girl to 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 are descedants to Salem witches but mythology relating to witches existed beforehand, indicating other types of witches may exist. Also, the Delphi Trust was mentioned to hunt witches even before the times of Salem.
- ↑ Martin, Denise. Ryan Murphy Reveals More American Horror Story: Coven Plot Details.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Episode: Head
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Episode: Boy Parts
- ↑ It is theoretically possible that they cheated during the Seven Wonders ceremony, but we will never know for sure.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Episode: Bitchcraft
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 Episode: The Replacements
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 Episode: Fearful Pranks Ensue
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 Episode: The Sacred Taking
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 Episode: Go to Hell
- ↑ 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 10.11 10.12 10.13 10.14 10.15 10.16 10.17 Episode: The Seven Wonders
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 She was a Supreme, therefore she had to have this power because it is one of the Seven Wonders
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 Episode: The Dead
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Episode: The Magical Delights of Stevie Nicks
- ↑ 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 14.4 Episode: The Axeman Cometh
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 15.5 15.6 Episode: Burn, Witch. Burn!