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What is a Hereditary Witch?

August 2023 | Steve Travels

Throughout history, the term "witch" has been used to describe a variety of individuals, practices, and beliefs. From the cunning folk of Europe to the healers of ancient civilizations, witchcraft has been an integral part of human spirituality. Among the myriad types of witches, the "Hereditary Witch" holds a distinct place. This article aims to shed light on the unique nature of hereditary witchcraft, its origins, practices, and its significance in the modern world.

Origins and Definition

A Hereditary Witch is an individual who inherits their knowledge and abilities related to witchcraft from previous generations. Unlike many who come to the craft through self-discovery or external teachings, hereditary witches are born into families where magical practices, rituals, and traditions have been passed down for generations.

This lineage of magical practice can stem from various cultural, geographical, or historical origins. Some hereditary witches can trace their ancestry back to ancient pagan traditions, while others might attribute their lineage to more localized or familial practices.

Distinct Practices and Beliefs

The practices of hereditary witches are deeply rooted in their family traditions. As such, they might differ significantly from commonly known or contemporary Wiccan or pagan practices. Some of the characteristics and beliefs inherent to hereditary witchcraft include:

  1. Family Grimoire: A grimoire is a book of magical knowledge, spells, and rituals. In the case of hereditary witches, this might be a family heirloom, passed down through generations. It's not just a tool but a repository of the family's magical history.

  2. Ancestral Veneration: Given their lineage-based practice, hereditary witches often hold a deep reverence for their ancestors. Rituals, offerings, and ceremonies honoring the departed are common.

  3. Secretive Nature: Due to historical persecutions and societal judgments, many hereditary witchcraft practices have remained secretive. Traditions are often shared only within the family or very close-knit circles.

Becoming a Hereditary Witch

One doesn't simply "become" a hereditary witch; it's a birthright. However, that doesn't mean every person born into such a lineage will choose to embrace or practice the craft. While the innate potential might exist, the path of witchcraft remains a deeply personal journey. Some might feel the calling early on, while others may rediscover their roots later in life.

How to Know If You're a Hereditary Witch

Determining if you're a hereditary witch often requires a mix of genealogical research and introspection. Delve into your family history, seeking out tales, traditions, or relics that hint at magical practices. Often, older family members have stories or memories that can provide clues. Beyond ancestry, pay attention to your instincts and dreams. Many hereditary witches experience vivid dreams or feel an innate connection to certain rituals or elements even before discovering their lineage.

Hereditary Witchcraft in Modern Times

In today's world, where eclectic and solitary practices are widespread, hereditary witchcraft provides a link to ancient traditions and practices. While it offers a rich tapestry of historical and familial knowledge, it's essential to understand that its validity isn't greater than other forms of witchcraft. All paths are valid; they simply offer different experiences and insights.

Contemporary hereditary witches often find themselves at a crossroads - preserving ancient traditions while adapting to the modern world's needs. Some may choose to share their knowledge more openly, while others continue to guard their family's secrets closely.


Hereditary witchcraft is a fascinating realm within the broader spectrum of magical practices. It offers a glimpse into ancient traditions, familial bonds, and the enduring nature of magic. While the lineage is crucial for hereditary witches, it's the commitment to the craft, the respect for its roots, and the passion for its future that truly defines them.