The Halliwell sisters in the original Charmed had to deal with a lot of magical concepts and threats, sometimes even their own past lives. The Halliwell sisters, otherwise known as Prue (Shannen Doherty), Piper (Holly Marie Combs), Phoebe (Alyssa Milano), and later Paige Matthews (Rose McGowan), were often forced to come to terms with the complexities of time travel, including their future selves. Sometimes, however, it became even more complicated than that, as each of the Halliwell sisters’ souls had experienced a past life – lives the Charmed sisters needed to contend with to save their families, safeguard the greater good, and learn more about who they were as witches.
As established in the Charmed universe lore, most people have no recollection of their past lives, but the Halliwell sisters’ powerful magic meant that they were more aware of them than anyone else. They could experience vague recollections, as happened to Paige, or their past lives might manifest themselves to warn against repeating past mistakes, which is what happened to Phoebe. Charmed described one past life for each Halliwell sister during the show’s original run.
Prue Halliwell: P. Bowen A Warren Witch
Prue Halliwell lived a past life as P. Bowen, a good witch descended from the Warren line of witches. It’s important to note that the Halliwell sisters were also descendants of the Warren line. P. Bowen was born in January 1895 and lived with her two cousins, P. Baxter and P. Russell in the same manor the Halliwell sisters lived in. Bowen worked as a professional photographer, just as Prue once did, and her active power was cryokinesis, or the ability to generate and manipulate ice and cold. Bowen was instrumental in defeating Anton, an immortal warlock who had swayed Bowen’s cousin Russell to join him in his villainy.
Piper Halliwell: P. Baxter A Warren Witch & Mother
Piper Halliwell’s past life on Charmed introduced her as P. Baxter, another good Warren witch, and mother to Penny Halliwell, the Charmed Ones’ grandmother. P. Baxter was Prue, Piper, Phoebe, and Paige’s great-grandmother. Baxter ran a speakeasy at the manor house in protest of alcohol prohibition, a job which mirrored Piper’s career as manager of the P3 nightclub decades later. Baxter’s active power was called molecular deceleration, which slows down the molecules of a person or object drastically. This power is seen as a stepping stone to molecular immobilization, or the power to freeze things in time, which was Piper’s main active power.
Phoebe Halliwell: P. Russell Another Warren Witch, Went Down A Dark Path
In her past life, Phoebe was known as P. Russell, a good witch, also of the Warren line. She went down a dark path when the immortal warlock Anton seduced her. Anton convinced Russell that they needed to kill her cousins to take their powers in Charmed, and the ensuing battle resulted in Russell’s death in 1924. Russell’s active power was pyrokinesis, manipulating fire, a far cry from Phoebe’s first active power of premonition. In Charmed, a witch’s active powers are dependent on how they were used in a previous life. Since Russell became evil, her powers regressed, turning Phoebe’s active powers into something more defensive than offensive
Paige Matthews: The Evil Enchantress
Paige’s past life was presented in the Charmed episode “A Knight To Remember” in season 4. The Evil Enchantress was introduced as the most powerful witch of her time. Paige had assumed her vague recollections of the Evil Enchantress were because she had heard them in a story sometime, but they were flashes of that past life. Though the Enchantress and Paige both used telekinetic-like powers, it was their personalities that were alike the most. Paige always identified with the Enchantress’ personality traits of being “defiant, resourceful, and independent“, characteristics which fit Paige. Thankfully, however, Paige used her strong-willed personality in Charmed for good, not evil.