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Hereditary Witches?

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  • #16
    Originally posted by lunita
    so are hereditary witches generally more powerful because it has been passed down through generations?
    No more powerful than the next person. Being an hereditary witch, whose parents were both hereditary witches I personally don't feel more powerful than say Mr.Grimassi, or Mr.Buckland. Power IMO comes from experience, and I am *MUCH* younger than both of these men!! In my family it isn't a strict mother-daughter link, it's who ever wanted to learn. My mother is the oldest of three girls and neither of her younger sisters wanted to learn. My father is the only boy in his family (fourth child of nine, and third boy) to take up The Craft, but that is b/c of a life experience involving the death of his mother and closed minded locals. His living sisters still practise and not all of my cousins practise. When my Aunt Alison(mothers youngest sister) was killed in a car accident at 20, my Gran did a "Blood Bond" and adopted my cousin into our family b/c she wanted to practise and her mother,my Gran's niece didn't practise, and we were running out of family members, this was a logical choice.She's family but not of my Gran's"true bloodline", but that doesn't matter, she's family.

    As I ramble on more:hehehehe: :abored: My parents were each others second marriages,and it was arranged through a matchmaker like their first marriages had been,to pair up hereditary with hereditary.And my own husband now was a match for me, but only his grandmother practises folk magic, while his dad is a RABID Baptist.
    That is the short and the tall....

    Cheers,

    ***Tal***
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    • #17
      This topic catches my interest quite a bit, since I know that Witchcraft goes back many generations on my mother's side. Of course, that does not mean all individuals in my family have taken to magic (my sister, for instance, is not a witch). To me, being a 'hereditary witch' is just about knowing that I share a link of magic with my predecessors. It was still my choice whether or not to become a witch, but I'm happy to know that I'm continuing a long and proud tradition!

      Blessed be!
      ~Lily
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      "God is like a mirror. The mirror never changes, but everybody who looks at it sees something different."
      -Rabbi Harold Kushner

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      • #18
        Hereditary

        I was taught that if magical awareness was "In the blood" it is easier to access and connect with, though experience, study and will are what really make a witch person. The danger with ideas like "Hereditary witch" is that it can be used as a reason for people to think they are better and more gifted than the average practitioner who may not be born to it.

        I think the hereditary witch inherits the family traditions if they choose and the biological predisposition for easier trancing, visions, spiritual connections. All of these things can be learned, however. Also, I believe American witches (And Canadian) are more relaxed about the hereditary thing. I have corresponded with several Gardnerian/Alexandrian witches who seemed to think it was a very important distinction. Sigh. I don't. We are all on our paths and trying to know more and achieve more for ouselves and our world. The direction is the important thing; not the starting point.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Liguana
          Also, I believe American witches (And Canadian) are more relaxed about the hereditary thing. I have corresponded with several Gardnerian/Alexandrian witches who seemed to think it was a very important distinction. Sigh. I don't. We are all on our paths and trying to know more and achieve more for ouselves and our world. The direction is the important thing; not the starting point.
          I'd agree with you on that since THOSE Traditions have only been around since the 1950's. Before that they weren't named Gardnerian OR Alexandrian! Most true hereditary witches can't give a specific name to their tradition other than their last name or the family name that it is passed through. Then there are those modern hereditary witches who have passed down the aforementioned trads, and like I said, they are MODERN traditions. No less valid than any other, and no more important either.
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          • #20
            Originally posted by Xentor View Post
            "Hereditary witch" is based upon beliefs, not upon biology.
            I disagree with that statement. heiredity(sp?) is generally passed through genetics, male and female, not beliefs. To chose to follow your family tradition, along with your families genetics, would make you a heiretitary(sp?) witch.
            I am.
            - a boat floating gently through the misty fog, blowing horns of pasts boldly over a silent sea.

            My knees tremble
            violent waves quake through my inner space,
            cascading waters flow from the deep green pond above,
            flightless birds are resting,

            my soul dances in the mist


            Skye
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            Morality is doing what is right no matter what you are told
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            • #21
              Originally posted by Skye View Post
              I disagree with that statement. heiredity(sp?) is generally passed through genetics, male and female, not beliefs. To chose to follow your family tradition, along with your families genetics, would make you a heiretitary(sp?) witch.
              People don't "follow" their genetics, for one thing - their genome is an imposition, something they have no choice in. As well, as has been stated several times in this thread, most people seem to define "hereditary witch" as instruction passed from mother to daughter and so on. Instruction ain't genetic, and heredity isn't strictly a feminine thing.

              The definition most people use for the idea of a hereditary witch is cultural, not biological.
              Patrick Stewart
              {Historian|Writer|Memeticist|Artist|Transhumanist|Blogger} {in}errant
              Homo sum: humani nil alienum a me puto
              "Every generation has the obligation to free men's minds for a look at new worlds... to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation." - Ellison S. Onizuka
              "The scorn of Nazis is a benediction." - Little Billy
              "Squick is not a valid moral compass." - Chamelaeon

              Did I really just attack you?

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              • #22
                I'll agree that heredity *obviously* isn't limited to the feminine - after all, the term 'heredity' is used in many, many different contexts. The one spoken of in this thread is one I don't personally relate to as I do not come from a Craft family (unless you're counting Shriners as Craft - but that's a different Craft to be sure!).

                However, in a *sense* the issue of heredity - when applied in context with spirituality, magic, religious tradition, ethnic practices, and other things that differ according to various cultures - femininity **can** be a major issue. In the Irish tradition, the passage from mother to daughter and down the female line is significant. Of course, males also carry lineage and inherit in various situations - but not always. And even if we're just talking about ancestry and building family trees, often the maternal line is the one to focus on because that's the one that is "official" so to speak.

                Maybe none of that applies here, but I wanted to mention it.
                Stephanie ءine llllllllllll
                Forum Guide/Celtic Christianity
                Paths: Druids, Celts, & Celtic Christians


                2 Cor. 5:17-19 / Matt 22:37-40 / Luke 11:33-36

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                • #23
                  From the Merriam Webster's dictionary

                  Main Entry: he·red·i·tary
                  Pronunciation: h&-'re-d&-"ter-E
                  Function: adjective
                  Etymology: Middle English hereditarie, from Latin hereditarius, from hereditas
                  1 a : genetically transmitted or transmittable from parent to offspring b : characteristic of or fostered by one's predecessors
                  2 a : received or passing by inheritance or required to pass by inheritance or by reason of birth b : having title or possession through inheritance or by reason of birth
                  3 : of a kind established by tradition <hereditary enemies>
                  4 : of or relating to inheritance or heredity
                  synonym see INNATE


                  The term hereditary witch is not meant to be used to describe gifts and abilities passed down from one person to another via the bloodline. One can be adopted into a family and still be a hereditary witch so long as the family you were adopted into has a family history of practicing witchcraft and passing that witchcraft knowledge down through the generations.

                  Personally I am sick and tired of hearing some witches throw around this term hereditary witch as though they are better than other witches... as though there is something oh so special about them. There's nothing better than the rest of us. They just had someone to teach them whereas the rest of us learned all on our own.

                  Now as for special gifts such as psychic abilities, a healing touch, etc. I know all too well that such abilities do not know religious boundaries. Pentecostal, Holy Rollin, tongue talking christians can have such gifts as well as a Pan and Giaia loving Pagan can. Such gifts are just that... gifts... not everyone will have them. But they can be seen in people regardless of what religion they are affiliated with.

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                  • #24
                    As I see it, Witchcraft is a Craft, an Art, something to be taught and learned. It's not a gene. If people learn a unique tradition passed on through their families, then they belong to a family tradition.

                    But IMO, the term "hereditary witch" is as inaccurate as the term "natural witch." Both define the Craft in terms of pseudoscience (or pseudogenetics), rather than the Art for which it is. I know that psychic gifts and abilities can be passed down through families, quite independent of learned practices, but that does not a witch make. I think the whole concept of a hereditary witch is as silly as being a hereditary shoemaker or a hereditary blacksmith. Some people may possess gifts that help them in their craft, but that craft must still be learned, not inherited. So, as I see it, "hereditary witch" is a misnomer.
                    Last edited by NightSpirit; August 29th, 2006, 10:43 AM.

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                    • #25
                      I disagree with the idea that the tradition is passed only from Mother to daughter. I learned just as much about Magick from my Dad as I did my Mom. I also have two sons whom both practice the craft as does my Daughter. So though 'hereditary' is still a debatable term both my sons would be considered by many as 'hereditary' witches.
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                      • #26
                        Originally posted by LadyeFalcon View Post
                        I disagree with the idea that the tradition is passed only from Mother to daughter. I learned just as much about Magick from my Dad as I did my Mom. I also have two sons whom both practice the craft as does my Daughter. So though 'hereditary' is still a debatable term both my sons would be considered by many as 'hereditary' witches.
                        I agree. I am a male and was taught by my mother and aunts. It is just that the literature on Italian Witchcraft most frequently refers to the Ways being passed from mother to daughter, which has left the impression that this is the only way. But people have free will to do as they will. Also no Old Ways family is going to allow the tradition to die simply because no daughter exists or isn't willing to be taught.
                        There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy...(from Hamlet).

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                        • #27
                          Also no Old Ways family is going to allow the tradition to die simply because no daughter exists or isn't willing to be taught.
                          That is how I came to be brought into a Stregian Tradition. An elderly lady had no children that cared and she saw things in me and started to teach me her traditions. Sadly I was just a youth and when my family moved a few years latter I lost contact and often wonder about her though in my heart I know she has passed on.

                          One item I find very interesting is the lack of notion that traditional or hereditary also had two lines that ran at all times. A line of mother to daughter but also a line of father to son with subset teachings from mother to son and father to daughter.

                          Magics cover a wide range of skill sets and usage and purpose. From the women in my family I learnt things such as healer skills and divination and things to do with blood rites and such. From the males it was warrior skills, hunter rites and land skills and magics. My female family taught me how to feel the life and touch the growth of things, my male family how to read the land and touch the cycle of the land. Just a few examples. Yes, the growth of things and cycle of things is actually very different.

                          As much as women may claim otherwise there are magics that are male only. Inversely, the same applies to female magics that we may hear about but are never taught or can fully experience. Sometimes it is not the outcomes that drive or define the difference but the means of utilization and application.

                          For instance I use blood in one manner as defined under male perspectives, my sisters use blood as defined under female definitions and perspectives. We may aim for the same results but even our definition of result is defined against both male and female conclusions.
                          Myself I think a major error in assumption is that many seem to equate the notion of witchcraft to the boiling cauldron and the TV world view of witchcraft along with a great deal of assumption of what is a hereditary or traditional witch.

                          Or as that old lady said, I can not teach you to be a woman any more than I can teach a woman to be a man. I can not teach you to use female magics anymore than I can teach a woman to use male magics. All that can be done is to teach them so they are used together.

                          Unfortunately, I think many of the male magic’s and rituals are lost and the one's that the females use are becoming more like the movie of the week.

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                          • #28
                            I don't have a problem with Hereditary witches. I think they have a lot to offer people. One of the things that I've learned about my new path (I know I change too much) is that this is much different than what I usually practice, which was witchcraft. I would call myself a Hereditary Pow-wower but the practice was denied to women. Now that most Penn Dutch don't live in PA they can learn from books that are written by other Pow-Wowers and set up their own practices.

                            I've always been taught that the impossible is possible and these wonderful people have a lot to offer us.

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