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Genetic Witchcraft Pt. 4- An In Depth Look at Hereditary Witchcraft


TRIGGER WARNING: PLEASE NOTE THAT THE VIEWS EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE ARE MY OWN PERSONAL THOUGHTS, OPINIONS, AND THEORIES BASED ON MY OWN EXPERIENCES, RESEARCH, AND UPBRINGING. I UNDERSTAND THAT SOME MAY DISAGREE WITH SOME OF THE VIEWS EXPRESSED, AND THATS OKAY! I RESPECT ALL BELIEFS AND OPINIONS ON MAGICK & THE CRAFT EVEN IF THEY’RE NOT MY OWN, PLEASE GIVE ME THE SAME COURTESY.


In this article, I would like to go more in-depth about the the concepts of Hereditary Witchcraft as it is defined in my family tradition.


Hereditary witchcraft is the transfer from an elder or ancestor, of practices, magick, spellcraft, belief systems, and culture from one family member to another. Also known as Family

Traditionalism witchcraft or "FamTrad", hereditary witchcraft is the passing down of specific witchcraft traditions through family members only. This does not necessarily mean that all practitioners of a FamTrad come from an unbroken line of witches because it really only takes two family members to start a hereditary tradition. My family’s multigenerational witch lines are seemingly rare, but not as rare as one might think.


Practices, medicinal remedies, and spells specific to each family tradition are closely guarded secrets within a family, much like the Native tribes of North America had specific medicinal recipes, that if shared with or used by another tribe, would result in war. Such witching families actually existed, mainly as remnants of cultural folk traditions and magick which was such an integral part of their daily lives, it was never completely wiped out upon Christianity's presence over the centuries. The magick and practices found within hereditary witchcraft are more akin to folk magick and ancient shamanism and witchcraft, rather than to today's Neopaganism and religious practices of the church of Wicca. The transfer of power and lore to a family member is an old practice of cultures worldwide, where living or even deceased family members can teach the newer generations the old lore and pass on their familiar spirits to the 'student' family member as well.


Hereditary witchcraft is mainly associated with specific traditional witchcraft and cultural traditions, ranging from the cunning folk and fairy doctors of Celtic countries to the benedicaria and stegoneria of Italy — all of which are among many other family-based folk traditions found throughout the world. There are also some traditional witchcraft covens (or family covens) who will not accept members from outside of their cultural heritage. This can be seen as another definition of hereditary witchcraft, where a person only practices a cultural witchcraft tradition from their heritage. However, in this day and age where people come from many different cultural backgrounds, it is very difficult to practice a single heritage-specific tradition, as over the centuries, practices have been intertwined, such as in the practice of Hoodoo.


The passing on of traditions through the family is a global concept, and is not restricted to a single culture or continent. There are many family traditions existing in the United States, of which some good examples would be the Hexerei and pow wow doctors of the Pennsylvania Dutch and the conjurers and witch doctors of the Appalachians and Ozarks — who all bear a striking resemblance to the cunning folk of Northern Europe — many of whom were hereditary themselves. The traditions of the hexerei were strict and binding — like within my family — those who inherited the power must honor their heritage and therefore they MUST learn how to be witches.


In general, hereditary witches are not found within the Church of Wicca, although now that Wicca is over 60 years old there are enough subsequent generations for some to be able to claim they are hereditary due to their parents' passing on of their Wiccan or Pagan faith, however this does not make them so. Hereditary witches are mostly found within culture and multi-cultural traditional witchcraft practices and culture-based folk magick traditions. However, as I mentioned, one can be considered “hereditary” in a sense if they had inherited their power through spiritual reincarnation.

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