Some fans have already finished binge-watching Chilling Adventures of Sabrina but have questions. Season three had the teenage witch scrambling to address the management issues down in hell, a budding war in Greendale, and her shaky relationship with Nicholas Scratch. There is a lot going on in this season of CAOS, and one of the issues the coven has to deal with is its waning magic.
By the end of part three, Zelda figured out how to regain their powers without the dark lord, and she did it by using a mystical, ancient source. But what is it and does it make sense for the witches in Chilling Adventures? Don’t read ahead if you haven’t watched the entire third season of the series. Spoilers!
What happened to the witches’ power in ‘Chilling Adventures’?
Satan, trapped in the body of Nick Scratch, was not happy that he’d been kicked off the throne at the end of part two. While imprisoned in chains and a salt circle, he plotted his revenge against the wayward Church of Night coven that was once led by Father Blackwood. One of the things he did was take back his “gifts” of magic from the group.
Obviously, this left them vulnerable to attacks from him, Father Blackwood, and the pagan clan. The latter turned out to be a major villain and all through the season, it was emphasized that they were about the old gods. This proved to be troublesome for the former Church of Night coven who shifted their allegiance to Lilith.
The witches used an old god to get their powers back
After Hilda and Zelda both “die,” they spend time in limbo, not quite dead and not quite alive. There, they are shown the answer to the pagan problem by their brother Edward Spellman. Zelda pieces together that the solution is to tap into the power of the maiden, mother, and crone. It’s not until she comes back to the land of the living and does a spell over Hilda’s grave that viewers learn what that means.
In spite of the tension and trouble brewing between the “old ones” faction and Sabrina’s coven, Zelda actually calls upon an old god/goddess to raise Hilda and imbue their coven with magic.
It’s Hekate that she prays to, the ancient Greek goddess of witchcraft, the moon, and night. It works! With their powers restored, they defeat Pan, the Gorgon, and the rest of the pagan crew.
Why this magical lore works for ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’
Who is Hekate? According to Ancient History Encyclopedia, the goddess is older than the Olympian deities and was honored by Zeus himself. She is associated with magic, crossroads, darkness, and the power of the moon, and the majority of her followers were women.
Hekate is typically symbolized with three faces: maiden, mother, and crone. The symbols were usually depicted as statues or other pieces of art. Back in the day, rituals performed for Hekate were used to ask for protection and aid in sorcery/spells.
In the show, this is connected to Sabrina as a baby, the aunts as mothers, and Zelda as the old crone on her deathbed.
With the coven loosening the shackles of male authority and from the dark lord, asking Hekate for help is essentially switching to more female-centric practices. Will it stick?
Technically, the dark lord isn’t in charge anymore, but his grudge against the coven snatched away their magic. It remains to be seen if the coven will align itself with what’s going on in Hell and go back to worshipping Satan, or if it will deepen its ties to the old pagan goddess Hekate heading into part four. The feminine force could take over magically and at the academy.