I just saw a question here asking if you had to be born into a witch family to be a witch.

why do you think this legend of hereditary witchcraft continues. No one is born a witch. Why do so many use this term?


  • I believe we all have a certain amount of personal power, and that we can learn to use it and make it grow, be stronger. No one is born a witch, but if you are born into a family that has had and honored witches for generations, and if you are groomed to use your own power someday, and follow witchcraft as your religion, you will be a witch when you grow up. No one is born a Christian, either. You have to be taught. But witchcraft isn’t inherently evil, they believe and ye harm no one, do as ye will, they just don’t have the same concept of sin as Christians do. My mother was anything but a witch, but she had visions of things that would happen, and they did. So do I on occasion, and I read tarot and do I-Ching. I adopted Witchcraft as my religion many years ago.

  • A hereditary witch, is someone who has the natural ability of doing magic, that said one must be born into a family of witches
    who for generations have been into witchcraft,and in rare cases have actual psychic ability genes, in them who does magic
    with no effort at all, just like a person who sings with no effort at all, as for the magical gifts, everyone is stated to have psychic
    gifts in them , but a hereditary witch will be able to access this gifts effortlessly, while others might train for a number of years.

  • My family are hereditary witches, but I honest.y don’t see the big deal. It’s a two-part thing–being born with certain gifts (which, IMO, are the same as being born with brown eyes, for example; just because science can’t prove it yet doesn’t mean it’s not real) and making a decision to use those abilities. My mother is a better witch than I am without any ceremonies or dedication to a specific thing; she just uses what she has to make life easier, mainly in healing and with animals.

    I’ve been a ‘pre-witch’ for most of my life ( a lot of people figured out I was a witch before I did) but did make a conscious decision, partially when I made a Pagan friend who is also a very good witch and a very good teacher.

    So, someone can be a ‘hereditary witch’ or can be a skilled, wonderful witch and be the only person in their family with that mindset. Both, providing the intent is to harm none, are good.

    The internet seems to think hereditary witches are better than any other witches, but I don’t see how that’s the case. A witch is a witch and he or she will use their powers to the best of their ability. Hereditary does not equal good or superior; my grandmother was a horrible woman and used her talents to harm. She’s dead now, thankfully, but she nearly split our family up with her meddling several times.

    So, yes, we exist, but no, we’re not superior. We might have a few advantages (understanding relatives) or disadvantages (relatives who use their gifts for bad and make us all miserable) but I really don’t see how we’re better or worse than other witches.

    • I wish someone can clarify this matter to me, because I am at lost. I have lots of questions, many things are vague to me. I have experienced things that are not rationally explainable, that is why I believe even though I don’t really understand…

    • My late wife is a heriditary witch, she died last year due to illness. We were beset by bad luck when we were together, they said its because she and I are not the same. They are supposed to marry someone from within their family so as not to be cursed. We have a daughter, and I want to understand more about this. Because I know that one day she will exhibit here legacy as a witch, and I want to help her understand what here mother and she is… I am really at loss.

  • Hello all, I am a young girl, and my family, on my mother’s side has inherited certain abilitites that not everyone has. Unfortunately not everyone inherits the gifts. It seems to skip a generation. It seems to carry by the females… Hope this helps.

    • Been called a witch all my life just because my aunt was. I didn’t understand I never studied or practiced it. So asked a friend . Can you be a witch and not know it. I was told yes. I thought it was a practice or realign not genetics. But I do paranormal investigations all my life for understanding on what I can see and hear around me. But now I wonder on my studies was this me being drawn in on what was always wanting for me to except.

    • I have exactly the same situation. My grandmother is a very gifted witch and it does skip a generation. We don’t discuss it much, but the basics have been mentioned.

  • I was born a witch, that is my experience and who are you to deny me that?

    Practicing witchcraft and being a witch are very different things in my mind. Identifying with a neo-pagan movement or a reconstructed tradition (like Wicca) does not make you a witch in my opinion either.

    To me being a witch is to have a particular and innate magical power and ability. It is not a religion or theology necessarily. Witches feel a pull to live in harmony with nature and see the divine in all things, like many pagans but that is not what makes you a witch. I know many people who identify as witches, have set rituals and practices but when i have performed rituals with them exude no power at all. Some can’t enter trance states, sense energies, spirits or having any psychic abilities at all and i’m sorry but in my opinion, witches do. Certainly the witches of old were described so. They certainly weren’t a bunch of exclusively club members who meet in the front room naked and act out gender polarity! (not that is anything wrong with that but it isn’t anything to do with the historical evidence or descriptions of witchcraft!)

  • just because I’m a witch doesent mean I was born this way yes my family all belive but you also have to want this and belive it I’m a moonchild and I could care less who belives me or not and they may not like it but for some of us this is who we are and who we are ment to be. I Love Moon light and I love what and who I am>

  • Probably the nonsense of Margaret Murray and the slightly less nonsensical but still dumb assertions of Gardner, which have both been shown to be inaccurate. People can have Wiccan/witch families of course, but the idea that one family has had it passed down through thousands of generations for hundreds of years is absurd. The idea that you have to be born into such a family to be a witch is downright superiority complex stupidity.

    I think people a). want to feel superior to others, and b). want to call themselves witches without any effort put into it. If they claim their family has been witches for hundreds of years, dollars to donuts they are full of it.

    Anyone who tells you that’s necessary is a poser witch.

    • Emily H, Neither Gardner nor Murray ever stated that witchcraft was inherited through generations of families, This is an error. They both posited that knowledge of witchcraft was preserved through the centuries and taught, not inherited. Aside from that I agree with your post, but your knowledge of both Gardner and Murray’s theories is extremely inaccurate.
      Ashe Isadora, Gardnerian, British Traditional Wicca

  • Maybe because it’s NOT a myth. 😛

    The idea of ‘hereditary witchcraft’ is indeed a fact… even though it has been exaggerated, Hollywood-ized and distorted in various ways over time. While people aren’t born with omg!awesome powers just because their relatives and ancestors practiced witchcraft, some people are born into a family that practices it or have knowledge passed down to them through family, which DOES make them Hereditary Witches.

    And as someone else said… perhaps psychic ability CAN be passed along, like any other talent. I started reading the tarot at age ten, my mother is quite intuitive and apparently her mother had some level of precognition, so there might be something to that idea.

    Maybe no one is “born a witch” in the sense that one is born with the knowledge and power it takes to really call one’s self a witch, but people ARE “born a witch” in the sense that their family will teach it to them as they grow up. And of course, there are witches that come from non-witch families and all that, too. It’s not like being a Hereditary Witch is the only valid “type” of witch in the universe; anyone can be a witch, regardless of their birth and families.


    • Being psychic does not make one a witch. Many psychics would be horrified at being cg called a witch! Witchcraft is a learned skill. No one is born a witch, some people simply have talents that make the training easier for them. But those same talents could lead a person to the Catholic priesthood, charismatic Christianity, Sufiism or a number of paths that employ magic ..

  • Heredity witchcraft does not have to mean you are born a Witch. You are right, no one is born a witch, as it’s a conscious decision made. However, Heredity can mean that you are a part of a line of Witchcraft. Your mother, Your grandmother, etc… all could have practiced Witchcraft by choice, as could you. THIS could be referred to as Heredity witchcraft, and this type of Witchcraft does exist.

    EDIT: mX2007 – No one is born a Witch, just like no one is born a carpenter or Christian.

  • What is your problem? You seem absolutely determined to get in on anything concerning family tradition. I haven’t seen the question you refer to, although it’s blindingly obvious that you don’t have to be born into a witch family to be a witch. But the fact that THAT is nonsense doesn’t mean that fam. trad. is nonsense. What is so unlikely or strange about knowledge and practice being passed down through a family?

    As for the answerer who started talking about twin studies – what on earth are you banging on about? It doesn’t take genetic predispositions to receive ideas and choose to practise.

  • answer: because it denotes someone that was raised in that religion by parents or grandparents of that religion.

    Most people are raised some religion or another and never formerly “convert”, they just are.

    Wicca and witchcraft have been around long enough for people to have been raised in both Wicca and witchcraft. Are traits passed along? Maybe, maybe not.

    Just because you don’t believe doesn’t dismiss the facts – there are those, especially those in their early 30s and younger that were raised Wicca and/or as witches.

    Give it a rest.

  • here in missouri, it is commonly accepted that that there are families that have passed down occult lore for many generations, often going back to the old country. the same phenomenon exists in the appalachians where isolated rural families have maintained folk traditions dating back farther than anyone can remember. while they often outwardly practice christianity, their folk traditions are the very same thing modern witchcraft is based on. a lot of people who claim to be ‘hereditary witches’ are posers, but real family traditions do exist.

  • Do you believe musical or mathematical ability could be inherited? If so, then couldn’t psychic ability be inherited too?

    This is one sense in which “witchcraft” can be considered hereditary, because the seers of a village were often the same people who were called “witches”. If a person in a family who practiced traditional witchcraft showed signs of having psychic ability, they were often trained to be a “witch”, just as people who showed talent for being a shaman were trained to be a shaman. Traditionally, a village witch was not very different from a tribal shaman. They usually had some innate ability, but there was also a large amount of training that made someone into a practicing witch.

    A person can learn to be a witch whether they’re born with natural psychic ability or not, but having some natural ability makes it a little easier to do magic and divination.

    Aside from some possible inherited ability, being a hereditary witch just means witchcraft has been practiced and taught within the family for at least one gereration.

    And for people who still haven’t figured it out yet, witchcraft didn’t start with Wicca! Wicca is *one* religion that practices witchcraft, but a person doesn’t have to be Wiccan to be a witch. Stregheria is traditional Italian witchcraft with roots that have been documented to be older than Wicca. Central American witchcraft has native roots that have nothing to do with Wiccan. People have been practicing various forms of witchcraft for as long as they’ve been practicing herbal medicine, which is much longer than Wicca has been around.

    – P.

  • if you are born to christian parents, you will probably be brought up as Christain until such time as you decide to cease practising. = Hereditray Christian.

    If you are born to Wiccan/Witch parents, you will probably be brought up as Wiccan etc, until such time as you decide to cease practising….= Hereditary Witch.

    Simple enough ?

  • I steeer clear of absolutes. Just as saying one must be born a witch, and it’s in the blood (much as some Asatru believe you have to be of Norse descent for Odin to talk to you), I would have to say “no one is born a witch” is also a false statement. Have you not heard of the Cunning Man tradition in England? No, it’s not Pagan, but many witches are not. In many Shamanistic tribes, the “Shaman” is of a shaman family, his or her father or mother being a Shaman before them. I think there’s something that rings true to the hereditary nature of witchcraft and magical natures, but at the same time think most who claim it are just charlatans, trying to be something more special than everyone else.
    Every man and every woman is a star. (Book of the Law)

  • A lot of people learned everything they know about witchcraft from “Bewitched” and “Charmed”, on both shows it was hereditary. Why you would you expect anyone today to question something they see on television?

  • Who knows. I think it’s ridiculous. Some people even think witchcraft can be inherited like eye color or something. You don’t have to be born in a witch family to be a witch. Another thing I can’t stand is the “my grandma was a witch” stories. Unless they’re true, of course. But since 99.9999% of them are false, it’s hard to believe the real ones, sadly.

    Some people just don’t understand that witchcraft is something that you have to learn, just like any other religion or religious practice.

  • Oh, for goodness sake, your harping on this topic is baffling.

    Let it put it to you like this–some family traditions believe in reincarnation along family line, that the soul born into the family again and again, so you are born with the soul of a witch.

    Why are Hindus born into a caste considered Hindu?

    Why are children born to a Jewish woman considered Jewish?

    it is the same concept. Whether they choose to practise or not, believe or not, they are born into the family, and they cannot change that, or rewrite that part of their essence. That is my family’s belief. I hardly ever call it “hereditary” instead using fam. trad, but there is an inheritance element to it. You inherit the teachings, the practise of those that came before you.

    Just to be fair, I’ll star this for my contacts.

    EDIT: Just to be clear, let me add: this is not to say that there are no “real” witches who are not hereditary, nor is witchcraft only hereditary, anyone can practise witchcraft, irregardless of religion.

  • i guess it’s similar to being brought up in any religion. if we’re raised in a catholic or jewish family, that’s what we follow unless we choose differently when we’re older. the same could be said for wicca i suppose.

  • Two things:
    First, there are a lot of people who are emotionally invested in the concept….facts be damned, they FEEL right, so they think they are right.

    Second, you’ve got it in fiction, and these folk don’t know fiction from fact.

    Edit: If it’s hereditary, show me the twin studies….

  • Technically, if you a born to a parent or parents who are witches, and you grow up to follow their tradition, you ARE a hereditary witch. It doesn’t matter how many generations back it goes.

    Since modern witchcraft started to form in the late 1800’s, there has been plenty of time for hereditary traditions to be formed.

    To timelady: choosing not to believe in something doesn’t negate its existence. In any case, witchcraft is not a matter of what you “believe,” any more than a tree is. It’s real, it’s there, that’s all.

    • You realize your argument “choosing not to believe in something doesn’t negate its existence” is the very same argument that Christians can use to argue the validity of the devil?

      Furthermore, sweetheart… the Pagan movement as a whole began in the 1800s. The first bits of Paganism to come forth were Druidry and Asatru… or at least beginning notions of those particular beliefs. Any concept of Wicca didn’t start taking shape until in the UK (or so Gardner claimed) and came to the US in the 1950s. So the concept of being a “hereditary witch” is not exactly accurate, especially since one of the BIGGEST misgivings of this title is that you somehow inherit your ancestor’s powers. I’m sure anyone who hasn’t been sitting in the shock therapy chair knows this idea is completely Hollywood.

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