The term warlock is often used to describe a male witch though it is relatively rare that a male witch self-identify this way, as the term “witch” is gender-neutral. While the term warlock is embraced within some traditions, it is considered derogatory among others.
Historically, the term has been used to denote a male practitioner of specifically malevolent magick since about the 14th century. Men accused in the Scottish witch trials were referenced as Warlocks.
What Does it Mean to be a Warlock?
The term warlock is largely believed to mean something like “oathbreaker” or “traitor. Some covens and individual witches reserve the term for witches who have violated some rule or betrayed the coven in some way.
On the other hand, some men proudly identify as warlocks. Some will point out that anyone who was born and baptized into Christianity and then embraced witchcraft or a similar magical tradition meets the definition of warlock quite neatly.
These may proudly wear the term as a reminder that they have turned away from the religion imposed on them and embraced what they view as true. They have turned away from the official church of the land and modern warlocks are simply reclaiming terms once used by witch hunters to condemn them.
For some, the term warlock is specifically associated with Satan, Himself the traitor or oatbreaker of God and thus the term may be embraced by those magic-users who embrace Satanic or Luciferian-based traditions.
Evidence does support the negative connotations of the word warlock. The word may descend from the proto-Indo-European *wēr-, meaning “true” which gave way to the Old English wǣr, meaning “promise” and loga meaning “lie”.
On the other hand, it may have come to us from the Old Germanic route, via the word varð-lokkur meaning “caller of spirits”, though this second derivation doesn’t get a lot of support from scholars.
Warlocks Popular Culture
Dungeons and Dragons (and related games): the warlock class denotes a magick user who has been granted magical abilities in connection with an oath or bond to an entity. The nature of the entity varies.
The World of Warcraft warlock class specializes in summoning demons.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: the term Warlock denotes a male Witch, in this case, a human-like being devoted to the service of Satan possessing both magical abilities and a greatly extended lifespan.