|“||Getting what we want is what the craft of the witch is. Witchcraft is wish craft.||”|
— Sebastian about Witchcraft
Witchcraft is a word used colloquially to describe the more specific Maleficium, a Latin word which means "wrongdoing" or "mischief" and is the basis of the English word "malice". Malice, often poetically referred to as "Crooked Way" , is an extremely dark and powerful form of sorcery that draws on malevolent powers, and may be used for negative purposes (i.e. to cause destruction or misfortune, to injure or kill, or for the profit of oneself rather than for the benefit of others). While the Church is known to disapprove of all magical practices, Malice is the only magical tradition that is prohibited by law as it involves the affiliation with demonic forces. The ancient witch who is currently known as Countess Von Marburg considers witchcraft as a long path to endarkenment. According to Rev. Increase Mather, the practice of Witchcraft dates as far back to the beginning of humankind, implying that the biblical characters Adam and Eve were the first of all witches. Reverend's implications were later confirmed by Countess Von Marburg, who expressed how Eve (possibly the Countess' biological mother), was the first witch who "followed the Serpent". Since then, witches have existed, passing down their knowledge and skills through generations in family lines or by making deal with the Devil.
Deal with the Devil
- Main article: Initiation
One of the simplest and most common ways to join the legions of the Antichrist is to make a pact with the devil. Generally, there is an exchange between the wannabe witch and the Devil, although the nature of this exchange is not yet entirely clear. Tituba tricked Mary making her believe that her unborn baby would have been the price to pay in exchange for the powers. Anne Hale had to undergo a rape by the Devil in the guise of a man with caprine features, but it was not specified if this happens to every witch or Anne Hale was a special case, being both a virgin and a born witch. In the initiations shown so far, the wannabe witch has always been pushed to the brink of despair: a young Tituba desperate for her new status as a slave and the desire for revenge against her Puritan owners; Mary because of the burden of pregnancy out of wedlock and the absence of her lover John went to war; Mercy threatened with death by Mary and Anne Hale was desperate due to the recent discovery of her heritage and involvement in the witches' plots.
A method to harness enough energy to be used in spells is to achieve sexual arousal both with a partner or through autoeroticism, generally via the use of a wooden shaft. This method seems to be very common among witches as lust is one of the cornerstones of witchcraft, while the other is to cause bloody death with sacrifices. Several rituals require the use of sexual arousal, especially the rituals that allow projecting an astral double of the witch wherever she wishes to reach her purposes. Because during the excitement the soul is inebriated and the mind is free from the material world, a witch is able to use this altered state of consciousness to manifest her will and get magical results. Sexual activities are not limited to partners of the opposite sex, but rather the homoerotic transgression seems to accentuate the significance of this practice.
- Main article: Sacrifices
The ritual sacrifice is a voluntary offering of the witch's own blood, but more often it is the shedding of the blood of a victim chosen specifically because it meets certain prerequisites, be it animal or human. The bloodshed not only appeased the spirits of darkness but also has the property of being a key ingredient for special rituals of longevity or for mass murders such as the Ritum Magni, that is no more than the sum of many sacrifices to harness a large amount of energy sufficient to higher purposes.
Further information: Witchcraft
Throughout history, witchcraft has been seen as wrongful means to use the primal forces of magic for personal gain and malicious intent. Opposed and fought by high public authorities and condemned by the priesthoods of the religion in charge, first by the Pagan and later by Christian ones, practitioners of witchcraft were seen as bearers of misfortune and evil. European history has an escalation of crimes aimed at those who were identified as witches. Both in popular culture than in the educated one, witchcraft was associated with evil forces and wilderness that could be identified with different creatures, deities or demons, depending on the culture. This fear of witchcraft led to those who have gone down in history as the Burning Times, long periods of systematic hunting, torture, and killing of alleged witches with horrific instruments of death. With the advent of the Enlightenment and of rational thought, witchcraft has been forgotten, outclassed as a mere scarecrow for children the same way as bedtime stories. Nowadays Witchcraft, particularly in its contemporary sense, is an umbrella term commonly used to describe followers of polytheistic Earth-based religions, such as Wicca and other neo-pagan religions and spiritualities.
- Cotton Mather (to John Alden): Everything the witch does is powered by two things: lust and death. The lust they provide for themselves, but they must look elsewhere for the dead parts.
- -- The Stone Child
- Rose Browning (to Mary Sibley): True malice, like that which powers the Grand Rite, ferments best in a loveless heart. I have looked into your heart, and it is anything but loveless.
- -- The Red Rose and the Briar
- Mary Sibley (to Anne Hale): I, too, came into my powers in the wake of great and painful loss. And I remember what it was first like to feel my body from within like a fever in the blood, that I could now do things, do things with words, with gestures.
- -- Cry Havoc
- Mary Sibley (to Anne Hale): You have yet to feel the terror, slowly becomes fascination, and eventually joy as you learn to take in the life force in all the creatures around us, turning the power within it, directing it as you will, into another person...Or into say, a doll.
- -- Cry Havoc
- Dr. Wainwright: My religion is science and I am more convinced than ever that what the Church calls magic and witchcraft is but undiscovered science. I told you once that I had never met a woman like you, one who would peer into the abyss with me. And this orrery, like some celestial clockwork, tracks the comet overhead? Only the great Edmond Halley has even speculated that comets are not singular occurrences, that they cyclically return. And yet you witches have known for centuries. Such knowledge, such power, and yet you hamstring your own great achievements. You are scientists years beyond the rest of us. Why do you hide?
- Mary Sibley: Because they kill us if we do not.
- Dr. Wainwright: I understand now. Like Socrates, like Galileo, like Bruno, you are martyrs of truth. And finally, you are fighting back, waging war against the Puritans. And wiping out your enemies. Well, I will tell you, your enemies are my enemies.
- -- Dead Birds
- During different interviews, co-creator and executive producer Adam Simon expressed his interest in witchcraft and his personal vision of it then transposed on the show. The following are just a few of these statements. 
"I had been interested in some time in the tradition of European witchcraft in the early modern period and the borderlands between early science and the occult. There is a lot of exciting historical material that sort of turns the history of witchcraft upside down. Suggesting that there was more reality to it than most of us have come to believe. More and more evidence that some of those accused did, in fact, conceive of themselves as involved in some form of witchcraft."
"I was also fascinated by a wider landscape of magical belief in this last period in which magical thinking dominated all of the thinking. Even as late as the period we are talking about, say the 1690s, the vast majority of people still have a fundamentally magical view of how the world works, how the universe works, what's out there and what's in there. In particular, I've been interested in the body of work being done on European witchcraft and its relationship to Shamanism and other worldwide witch traditions."
"Every episode contains many elements drawn from or inspired by history -- we feel free to use pretty much anything that anyone believed about these things, anywhere in the world, for a couple of centuries leading up to our period. If one had the will and the patience one could footnote dozens of details in every episode."
- Adam Simon has implied several times that there is more than one god and that there is more than one way to practice magic. While the Salem coven (as well as many other covens around the world) worship the Devil, many Native American tribes worship a god called the Great Spirit.
- Close to the release of the third season, Adam Simon also revealed a pagan origin of Essex Hive, asserting that only in recent centuries the witches are subject to the devil, but their practices were initially oriented towards different beliefs.
- In an interview, Adam Simon expressed that many of the magic practitioners - or cunning folks - have the role of charmers, healers, and sages and that the only form of magic that is considered dangerous and illegal is Black Magic, or "Malice". Adam Simon also referred to Malice as Left-Handed Path in few interviews. 
- According to Reverend Cotton Mather, everything a witch does is powered by two things: death and lust. While many witches draw energy from the former by channeling the electromagnetic forces that are created from both animal and human sacrifices, many witches also draw power from the latter by channeling the energy of their own lewdness and sexuality.
- In Salem Universe, Witchcraft is black magic, and the practice of it blackens the soul of the practitioner regardless of how it's used. This was proven by Anne Hale, who in spite of her vow to harm none, was still blacken by her power.
- The Devil is the primary patron of all witches who practice Dark Magic.
- Almost all traditions of Witchcraft acknowledge the changing of seasons as well as lunar phases to mark and celebrate Pagan holidays and Witches' Sabbaths.
- ↑ The Witchcraft described in this page specifically refers to Maleficium; For a wide range of magic practices, see "Magic."
- ↑ Mary Sibley referred to witchcraft as 'crooked way' in Wages of Sin
- ↑ Countess Von Marburg used these exact words in Blood Kiss
- ↑ Spoilertv.com - Adam Simon exclusive interview
- ↑ Adam Simon reveal a pagan history of Essex Hive at San Diego Comic Con 2016; see Spoilers.
- ↑ Adam Simon about Season Two and Witchcraft lore.