We don't know much about the Coven of the Eight and what happened to it in the events of "Flower Child" and "Is This Henry Mills?". This wiki's explaination for it is that Eloise found a bunch of "ramdom witches", but honestly I don't believe that. The way Eloise acts around them, how motivated they are, all of it makes me believe they are the original witches. Plus the very strange fact that Eloise wanted the Desk Sergeant to "wake her sisters", and how he later joined them. Here's where my headcanon comes in. My original idea was that the Desk Sergeant ressurected them but there was a few flaws in that idea. I was able to expand upon that idea and my belief is that the witches in 719 and 720 are the original witches in new bodies. My guess is that the Desk Sergeant was some kind of magical entity in the NEF and somehow he was able to move the memories and powers of the original witches who are dead into new bodies. Of course this is all speculation but I really wanted to share this.
The one problem is that none of them were Ivy, we know that there were eight witches, four left, while Sage and the BW could be revived and Regina was replaced by Alice, Ivy wasn't there and so she needed someone to replace her.
Well... They still could you used Drizella's memories from the NEF where she would follow through on the plan. Leota could go either way. They could of used her memories or she could of been present like Seraphina.
Ya know, I liked talking about this, but this is rampant speculation, largely baseless.
Gothel did pick random witches. Leota is a non factor given we can’t really include her either in original or most recent. Sage and Braeburn are dead: 2 down. Belfrey left. 3 down. That’s four members left, excluding the eighth witch: Gothel, Seraphina, and two others (assuming Leota was a nonfactor).
It’s largely presumed given the rules on the show and different actresses, that these are completely new witches that Gothel surveyed behind the scenes.The Desk Sargent wasn’t uncovered to be anyone important or anything....so, all we could guess is that Gothel simply used that plant from earlier than she randomly conjured that could break the curse.
There’s just a lot of holes that simply cannot be filled in other way. I mean, Gothel randomly had a plan to kill the Guardian/steal the Guardian’s power in two episodes (if you include deleted scenes).
I always assume the witches for casting the Dark Curse had to be a lot more specific than the spell Gothel did in HH. So Gothel may have had back up witches for other spells, but she needed 8 specific ones for the Dark Curse. Like how Regina was a witch who had crushed the heart of the thing she loves most, I assumed the others had special specifics as well. Seraphina, a witch who left a toxic situation; Hedge Witch, a witch who prefers to heal than hex; Blind Witch, a witch that has eaten human flesh; Leota, a witch who has been to the other side; Gothel, a witch that was once a nymph; Drizella, a witch that has killed another witch to get what she wants; and Mystery Witch, a witch who did something. That's my personal take anyway.
I agree with CDA, though not on those particular qualifications but that they were ingredients. I think that the time travel requires four ingredients related to the ones for the spell, I don’t remember exactly what I had for everyone but it’s in a document somewhere, including Moana the mystery witch from my season 8.