The Council of Elder Witches and Protectors of the Sacred Covenant (also known as The Elders or Sages) were a council of senior good witches who governed over the forces of good. They oversaw and directed Whitelighters in their effort to guide and protect neophyte witches. The death of all Elders was one of three signs prophesied to bring about the apocalypse.
The Elders created and enforced rules for witches and Whitelighters to follow. They were viewed as royalty and can dispense punishment on those who do not follow their directives.
Despite their magical responsibilities, the Elders lived amongst mortals as regular people, dealing with normal human responsibilities like jobs and families. However, they did not use their abilities, or allow other witches, to interfere in mortal matters or crimes.
With their powers, the Elders could congregate anywhere, including pocket dimensions that can resemble real-world locations. Charity Callahan was shown entering one such dimension using her portaling ability. It is unknown if other Elders also possessed abilities or spells that allow them to access these dimensions.
When meeting Mel Vera, the Elders present (with the exception of Charity, whom Mel had already met) obscured their faces through the use of a cloaking spell. Charity acknowledged that the disguises were unnerving, while Priyanka Bari declared it made it impossible to hold a conversation after unmasking herself.
According to Harry, Elders were forbidden to see the memories of Whitelighters and doing so could result in them losing their status as an Elder.
The Killing of the Elders
Three months before the Vera sisters became the Charmed Ones, an unknown entity began killing Elders, starting with the sisters' mother, Marisol Vera. The murders would continue, informing the Elders that the Apocalypse was underway.
These murders caught the attention of Detective Trip Bailey who began to investigate. He learned that all the murder victims had wounds on them that appeared as if they had been struck by lightning and that someone was interested in retrieving the DNA of these victims.
Governing the Charmed Ones
While the Charmed Ones were constituted and began their journey as witches, their Whitelighter, Harry Greenwood, acted as a liaison between the neophyte witches and the Elders. The Council would only make an appearance, in the form of Charity Callahan, when the Harbinger of Hell was defeated and contained by the Charmed Ones. The rest of the council were unable to come to the sisters' aid due to the fact that the Elder murderer was still at large, but Charity did relay that the Charmed Ones were ordered to kill the Harbinger before it could reach full power.
The Charmed Ones, specifically Mel Vera, disobeyed the directive and instead used unsanctioned magic to exorcize the Harbinger and save its vessel. Having been disobeyed, the Elders decided to punish the Charmed Ones by taking their Book of Shadows, in order to check it for any more unsanctioned magic.
Facing The Sarcana
When the Charmed Ones lost the Scythe of Tartarus to a mysterious woman, Charity came back to help the sisters identify what kind of demon the thief may be. Mel was later approached by the thief, Jada Shields, who said that she was a Whitelighter and witch hybrid and informed Mel about the Sisters of Arcana (or "Sarcana") and that the Elders forbid relationships between witches and Whitelighters. Mel would investigate further and learn from Charity that an Elder was actually responsible for starting the Sarcana. There had been a war between the two, but the Elders had believed that the Sarcana were destroyed.
Mel continued to be conflicted between the two groups and decided to summon Charity so she could get more information. Charity brought her into a duplicate dimension to see the other Elders (though their identities were cloaked due to their lives being at threat) and explained how the Council wanted Mel to join the Sarcana and be their spy. However, Mel later chose to side fully with the Sarcana when she saw the Elders as only looking out for themselves.
Eventually, it was discovered that Charity Callahan was the one that had murdered Marisol Vera during a confrontation and some of her fellow Elders to cover her tracks. While Charity had been stripped of her powers by the Charmed Ones and sentenced to Tartarus for her crimes, the other Elders discovered Harry’s previous relationship with Charity, and ruled that it had led to him endangering the Charmed Ones due to his commitment being misguided, and so stripped him of his powers as well.
Due to being irritated that they had no way of communicating with the Elders and that Harry was beginning to rapidly age due to his powers being stripped, the Charmed Ones tried to use their magic in public and were quickly summoned to the headquarters of the Elders. Mel, Maggie, and Macy attempted to force the Elders to reinstate Harry’s powers, but they refused. Instead, they simply reasoned that, as Harry had accepted the consequences of his actions, the Charmed Ones should too. The girls are then teleported back to their attic, but not before Mel tells them that they were duped by Charity as well and asks where their culpability was.
Powers and Abilities
- Basic Powers
- Spell Casting: The ability to cast spells and perform rituals.
- Potion Making: The ability to brew and concoct potions, remedies and elixirs that have supernatural properties.
- Other Powers
- Individual Powers: Since they are witches, Elders possess a variety of powers that are unique to each individual.
- Teleportation: The power to move from one place to another instantaneously. This has only be shown while the Elders are at their headquarters, and not all of them teleported.
- Power Granting: The ability to grant magical power to another being. The Elders can use this power (probably) as a collective to turn dying mortals into Whitelighters.
- Power Stripping: The ability to take away another magical being's powers. The Elders can use this power as a collective to strip Whitelighters of their powers.
- Inactive Powers
- Immunity: Being witches, the Elders are inherently immune to certain magical abilities (e.g. the Sirens' songs and to Pixie Dust).
- Marisol Vera †
- Charity Callahan †
- Priyanka Bari †
- Devorah Silver †
- Cate Monroe †
- Ravyn Ribera †
- Merante Arnaud †
- Elder Robinson †
- Elder Hathaway †
- Elder Keilani †
- Elder Zaragoza †
- Elder Wade †
- Elder Connor †
- Elder Chen †
- Unnamed Ancient Elder †
- Other unnamed murdered Elders †
- Elder Celeste
- In the original series, the Elders (also known as the Founders or referred to as "They" or "Them") were a powerful group of elder Whitelighters who advised and governed the forces of good. Their purpose was to preserve the "greater good" by directing their Whitelighters to guide and protect both witches and future Whitelighters. The Elders resided in the Heavens and communicated with witches through their assigned Whitelighters.
- In the original series, the Elders also did not have a good relationship with the Charmed Ones.
- Unlike the original series, the Elders were actually witches.
- In the original series, no Elder made an appearance until the fifth season.
- Between the episodes "Pilot" and "Exorcise Your Demons", there had been at least three Elders murdered after Marisol Vera by Charity Callahan.
- Members of the Elders wore white.
- With the appearance of the Elder Celeste in the second season, there were three plot holes that contradicted the events of the first season:
- Since neither Hunter Caine nor Fiona Callahan killed Celeste, this means that the second sign of the Apocalypse should have not been fulfilled and the Apocalypse should not have happened.
- Since at least one of the Elders is still alive, the Whitelighters should not have started dying between "Red Rain" and "Safe Space" or , at least, not all of them.
- Since Celeste was out of commission or possibly retired at this point, this could have had something to do with her not being a part of the prophecy or not being connected to the Whitelighters any longer. However, if that is the case, it becomes unclear why Charity Callahan was not stripped of her status of an Elder for a series of murders before being sent to Tartarus (although, it is possible that Alastor simply got her out before they could do that or that since she was powerless at the time, they thought that there was no need to strip her of her Elder status).