Hereditary Witchcraft

Hereditary Witchcraft

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

It used to be that families would practice Witchcraft for hundreds of years, passing on the Old Religion from parents to children over many generations. These people were known as the Hereditary Witches.

Today the vast majority of Witches become such by being initiated into an existing coven. Solitary Witches perform a Self Initiation, or Dedication. Usually they have found the Craft after having been raised in another religion. There are very few Witches today who are descended from a family that has practiced Witchcraft for many generations.

For whatever reason, there are more people who claim to be Hereditary Witches than can ever be proven. In reality, most of their Books of Shadows can be traced to no earlier than Gerald Gardner's works. However, as the Craft moves into the twenty-first century, there are (and there will be) those who again may be termed Hereditary—even though their roots go back no further than early Gardner—just because they are second or third generation Wiccans.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.
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