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By Witchipedia, Magical Religions and Spiritual Paths

Who is a Warlock & What Does the Term Mean

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Written by: Dawn Black (Witchipedia)


Reviewed by: Tina Caro

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.


A warlock is typically considered a male practitioner of witchcraft, but the term is less commonly used compared to “witch.”

Warlocks are often believed to possess intuitive and innate magical abilities, which they harness for various purposes.

They are known for crafting magical weapons and forming deep bonds with familiars, enhancing their spellcasting prowess.

Becoming a warlock involves personal development and challenges, as they navigate their magical journey and seek to master their powers.

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.

Intuitive and Innate Magic

Warlock magic is more intuitive than logical, and their powers are more innate than the result of carefully trained skills. They do not specialize in schools of magic as wizards do and are proficient only with simple weapons. However, the fact that they have access to the entire category of simple weapons gives them a choice that most other users of arcane magic do not have, providing versatility that could save their lives if their spells fail.

Creating Magical Weapons and Familiars

Warlocks possess the skill to create magical weapons, but they cannot use them personally. Instead, they create these weapons for guilds or other entities, but it often comes at a price that doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary. Additionally, warlocks may possess familiars, which are magical creatures resembling unusually robust and intelligent versions of small animals. These familiars serve as companions and servants to the warlock.

Development and Challenges

A warlock’s power is innate and part of their soul. Developing this power is a challenge for many warlocks, regardless of how they intend to use it. They constantly strive to improve themselves, overcome their limitations, and reach new heights of power. For a warlock, magic is the center of their life, and they seek to perfect themselves in its use. They often seek the help and guidance of more experienced warlocks in their journey of growth.

Ethical Considerations and Controversies

Warlocks can be of different alignments and motivations. Some good warlocks may seek acceptance and prove themselves in society, while evil warlocks may see themselves as separate and superior, seeking power over others they consider inferior. The practice of sorcery, like any other form of magic, can be used for good or evil purposes, depending on the inclination and intent of the individual.

Warlocks develop rudimentary powers during adolescence. Their first spells are incomplete, spontaneous, uncontrolled, and sometimes dangerous. A young warlock may unwittingly wield power, causing disturbances in their household or surroundings. As they mature and gain control, they can practice and improve their powers.

The Lone Individualists

Unlike wizards, warlocks have no sense of group identity, and they have no incentive to work together, except for those sworn to evil. They are often individualists, feared by old friends and misunderstood by family. However, their strong presence gives them great influence over people, making them excellent spies or diplomats in an adventuring party.

Warlocks possess a unique set of characteristics and abilities that stem from their innate and intuitive connection to arcane magic. Their versatility and tactical flexibility make them formidable spellcasters, capable of dealing with various situations. Ethical considerations play a role in their alignment and motivations, leading some to use their powers for good and others for evil. The journey of a warlock involves self-improvement and overcoming challenges, often with the guidance of experienced peers. Despite their individualistic nature, they can be influential in group settings, making them valuable assets in any adventuring party.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a warlock and a witch?

A warlock is a male practitioner, while a witch is almost always a woman. The terms are used to specify the gender of the practitioner within the context of magical practices.

Can a warlock be good or are they always evil?

Absolutely. Whether a warlock is good or evil depends on his intentions and the type of magick and energy he chooses to work with. Just like any practitioner of magic, a warlock can use their abilities for positive or negative purposes.

Are warlocks real? Is there any evidence of their existence?

Just like witches, warlocks are real. However, evidence of their existence might not be publicly displayed, as they often practice magick in the privacy of their homes and personal spheres. While there may not be concrete scientific evidence, belief in their existence persists within various magical and occult communities.

How can one become a warlock?

The path to becoming a warlock involves educating oneself in various types of magick and exploring different practices to find the one that resonates most with the individual. Learning from experienced practitioners, studying magical texts, and practicing rituals and spells are common ways to develop one’s abilities as a warlock.


Understanding who a warlock is can be fascinating and opens the door to exploring various aspects of magick and witchcraft. Whether one chooses to follow the path of a warlock or explore other magical practices, it provides an opportunity to find the right direction for their craft and personal growth. The world of magick and its practitioners continue to intrigue and inspire individuals on their spiritual and mystical journeys.

About Morningbird (Witchipedia's Founder)

I am a homesteading hearth witch who grew up along the shores of the Hudson River and has lived among the Great Lakes for the past 20 years. Together with my musical husband and youngest child, I steward a one-acre mini homestead with herb, vegetable and flower gardens, chickens, ducks, geese and rabbits, and areas reserved for native plants and wildlife. 

I have three children; two are grown, and I have been practicing magick alone and with family and friends for over 30 years.

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