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Conjuring magic is not an intellectual endeavor. It's emotion. You must ask yourself, "Why am I doing this? Who am I protecting?" Feel it.
Mr. Gold to Emma src

Witchcraft is a type of magic featured on ABC's Once Upon a Time and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. It first appears in the first episode of the first season.


Witchcraft is a form of magic that mostly humans can use, though other species can use as well, like cecaelias or tree nymphs. But unlike Fairy Magic or Divine Magic or any other types, Witchcraft is strongly tied to emotions and learning.

Origin of Witchcraft

It is unknown how Witchcraft is made, but it is known that it has been being used thousands of years ago, as Seraphina is one of the known practitioners. ("Flower Child")

Who Uses Magic and Why

All practitioners are born with this power and some may even use magic right after their birth, like Zelena; while others need a proper teacher to push them to use it like Cora, Regina, Jafar and the Red Queen. But even people like Zelena, Drizella and Anastasia need to be taught in order to control it fully. ("The Miller's Daughter", "The Serpent", "We Are Both", "Heart of the Matter", "It's Not Easy Being Green", "Wake Up Call", "The Eighth Witch")

It is not known if there is a "magic gene", nor is it known that that can pass down. Cora, who could use magic, has two daughters who also can use magic. The same thing also goes to Mr. Gold and his son, Zelena and her daughter, and Gothel and her daughter. However, Emma Swan, Jafar, Drizella and Anastasia have no known family member who can use magic, yet they use it. Henry is also born to a magical mother, yet he has not shown any magical abilities, except for his Author powers, which come from the Sorcerer himself.

Some people like the Dragon, Anastasia and Alice/Tilly can use magic even in the Land Without Magic. The reason for the latters is due to them being the Guardians. However, the Dragon's case has yet to be explored. ("Selfless, Brave and True", "An Untold Story", "I'll Be Your Mirror", "The Eighth Witch", "Secret Garden", "The Guardian", "Flower Child", "Is This Henry Mills?")


Depending on the practitioner, learning magic can sometimes last for years, as the Evil Queen's study approximately lasted for a little bit less than twenty years.[1] Or sometimes, it can last very much fast, as Drizella learned plant manipulation, magical explosion, teleportation and magical immobilization in only one lesson. But some people like Dark Ones and Merlin did not to need to learn it or any teacher since it was the Holy Grail what granted them to use magic. ("Nimue", "Wake Up Call")

Pyrokinesis also seems to be one of the most basic forms of Witchcraft. When Regina teaches Emma magic, or when Cora instructs the Red Queen, they both start by teaching them how to create fire. When Rumplestiltskin gives Regina lessons, Pyrokinesis is one of the first things that he teaches for her. ("Dark Hollow", "Heart of the Matter", "Kansas")

How to Use Magic

The use of Witchcraft is not an intellectual endeavor, but is tied to strong emotions like love and anger. One way to channel these emotions into magic is to think about and relive a moment that made you sieve with anger in the past. To rein in some of that anger, it is advised to think about your loved ones and how you want to protect them, and feel it. However, it can also be accomplished without having these two stages; only thinking about love or anger.

Just like Ice Magic, people can also lose control of their powers by having emotions like fear or extreme anger, which include but are not limited to thermokinetically hot a bottle of milk, push people off, light the lights on and off, telekinetically move objects and shatter a mirror. But they can overcome this by controlling it with the help of someone they trust. ("The Miller's Daughter", "It's Not Easy Being Green", "A Tale of Two Sisters", "The Snow Queen", "Smash the Mirror", "The Eighth Witch", "Secret Garden", “Sisterhood”)

It is not known why practitioners sometimes use incantations to use Witchcraft but most of the time, they just simply use it without words. ("Nothing to Fear", "Dirty Little Secrets" et al.)


When used, Witchcraft often gives away a pink or violet glow or a puff of smoke, though other colors can vary depends on the practitioner.

Inability to Use Magic

Sometimes, the person can have a trouble with using magic because they are in a different land for the first time.

This is what happened to Regina Mills after Mr. Gold brought magic to Storybrooke after 28 years. Because according to him, magic is unpredictable in the Land Without Magic. But Regina later used her mother's spell book by smelling of the written words to get the magic flowing again. ("Broken", "We Are Both")

Underworld is also another place where magic is said to be unpredictable, but this time, Regina's inability to use magic was because she was blocking herself emotionally. Zelena and Emma are also shown to have difficulties when they first arrived in this world. ("Devil's Due", "Our Decay")

Regina and Emma both showed difficulties of using magic when they first arrived in the New Enchanted Forest. However, after a couple of practice, their magic became normal again. ("A Pirate's Life", "The Garden of Forking Paths")

Known Practitioners


On-Screen Notes

  • Sometimes, when using witchcraft, incantations are used:
    • When Jafar's summons the dragon, he casts a spell, Ego vocare te dolor. Ego vocare te damnum. Ego vocare te faciam scelus, which is Latin for "I will call you pain. I will call you loss. I will call do (will do) crime.[3] ("Bad Blood")
    • When Cyrus uses a Locator Spell to activate the enchantment, he uses the spell locus mirabilis, which is Latin for "wonderful place".[4] ("Nothing to Fear")
    • To light up the Jabberwocky's prison, Jafar casts a spell, fiat lux, which is Latin for "let there be light".[5] ("Nothing to Fear")
    • When Jafar uses Lizard's eyes to view the last person her eyes saw after death, he casts a spell: De visu intueri. Visione revelare, which is Latin for "Look with its own eyes. Vision reveal."[6] ("Dirty Little Secrets")
    • The incantations Jafar uses to take control over the Genie Lamps are:
      • "Incipio. Tres genies in utres. Ego te coniungere. Da mihi virtutem!" which is Latin for "Begin. Three genies in bottles. I join you. Give me power!"[7] [Note that there is no word for "genie" in Latin, so this word is plain English.]
      • When it does not work, he tries "Magicae res tres. Vult totam!" which means "Three magic things. He wants all!"[8] However, that does not work either. ("Heart of the Matter")


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.


  1. Regina was 18 years old when she met Snow White who was 10 at the time, that means Regina is 8 years older Snow White.

    Regina also didn't know how to cast a glamour spell in the episode "The Evil Queen", which takes place roughly two or three years before the Dark Curse.

    And Emma Swan, who was roughly 28 years old, said that she and her mother are about the same age. So that puts Regina roughly 36 at the time.
    ("The Stable Boy", "The Heart of the Truest Believer", "Regina Rising")
  2. File:710FreeingDrizella.png
  3. ego vocare te. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 4, 2018.
    dolor. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 4, 2018.
    damnum. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 4, 2018.
    facio. NS NihilScio. Retrieved on September 4, 2018. “faciam – will make”
    scelus. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 4, 2018.
  4. locus mirabilis. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 6, 2018.
  5. TwitterLogo @RichardHatem (Richard Hatem) on Twitter (March 7, 2014). "I wish we were that smart. All we said was Fiat Lux "Let there be light."" (screenshot)
  6. intueri. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
    de visu. Educalingo. Retrieved on September 19, 2019. “The Latin spelling De visu, translated literally, means with its own eyes, for direct vision.”
    vision. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
    revelare. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
  7. Incipio. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
    tres. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
    in. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
    utres. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
    Da mihi. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
    virtutem. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
  8. Magicae. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
    res tres. Google Translate. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
    What is the meaning of the Latin word vult?. WordHippo. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
    totam (Latin). WordSense. Retrieved on September 9, 2018.
  9. File:103WereSeparated.png
  10. File:107IsSnowWhite3.png
  11. File:310TurnThePage.png
  12. File:422SnowCharmingStorybook.png
  13. File:505RumplestiltskinStorybook.png

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