Probably the Number 1 thing we get asked here at High Priestess is "how do I know if I am / become a REAL witch?". I think a lot of this uncertainty comes from conflicting information over social media - so let me break it down for you.
For starters - I want to tell you a little bit about my own heridtary practice, because I think that's important. I grew up with a mother who was a professional psychic, and who, when I was a teenager, would have friends over on Friday night to do past-life regressions on the loungeroom floor.
For various birthday's, between the ages of 10 and 15, my Grandmother gave me a Ouija board, a pack of Alistair Crowley Tarot Cards, and a crystal ball.
So I come from a tradition that was handed down, mother to daughter, over generations.
Which is why I want you to know:
There's no such thing as a hereditary witch.
Where Does This Idea Come From?
The idea of magic being something that is bestowed upon special people, mostly comes from movies and books. Which makes sense. If Harry's "powers" are just something everyone has, then how would he be special enough to be the protaganist of the book?
The reality is that Magic - and psychic gifts - aren't special powers bestowed only on some people and not on others.
They are an innate human gift.
Every human on the planet has the ability to access them.
BUT: like a lot of things, they're a skillset. So, to be "powerful", you've got to practice.
And this is where the rest of the idea comes from - you see, yes, I'm a powerful psychic and witch. It's not because I was born that way - but I DID have the advantage of growing up with a mother, grandmother and Godmother who trained me in reading auras, healing work, manifestation and magic from the time I was born.
My "power" is just 40 years of practice.
Anyone who has practiced as long as me likely has similar power.
So What Makes A "Real" Witch?
Here's the thing:
Witchcraft - magic, manifestation, psychic powers - is a Practice.
Whether someone in your family is a Witch or not is completely irrelevant.
I have a sister who grew up in the same environment as me, who is a hardcore scientist. Anytime the rest of us talk about this stuff she rolls her eyes and tells us that Astrology has been proven false (she's such a Sagitarius).
Her heritage doesn't matter, because she doesn't believe and she doesn't practice. She's not a Witch and she'd throw something at you if you called her one.
I, on the other hand, have been practicing my entire life. I've learned from my family, sure. But I've also read, practiced, worked with all kinds of people.
What makes me "real" is not my family background - it's that I choose to engage with this practice over and over again.
So, You Have To Study to Be Real?
No, not at all.
In fact, my point in this article is:
You're a real Witch if you say you're a real Witch.
Your practice can consist of rituals and diety worship - or of throwing oil in a burner and lighting some candles occasionally.
No one gets to tell you that you are - or aren't - real.
One of the awesome things about Witchcraft and Paganism is that because of the ways in which they were suppressed over the last 2,000 years - there is no head of the Pagan Church. There is no Queen of the Witches (except maybe Hecate).
Our practices were never insitutionalised - so if there ever was a "right" and "wrong" way to Witch, it's lost to the millenia.
Personally, I think that's great.
What I enjoy about our practices is that they are a living philosophy.
They're not dictated by what someone thousands of years ago, may or may not have said and done.
They're about observing the world around us as it is now, and interacting with it with a sense of awe and wonder.
Here at High Priestess, we're not about creating hierarchy or excluding people from the community because they don't fit arbitrary definitions - we're about helping you discover, create and craft your own practice.
Which is why you'll see that yes, we sell some truly beautiful candles and herbs (because we know our community love that!) - but our real focus is on information.
From our Online Grimoire, to the books and cards that go into our boxes - we're pulling together not only the best content from our own practices, but information from Witches and Pagans all over the world.
Our writers hail from Serbia, Macedonia, Egypt - places where traditional practice has long existed under-ground.
We want you to have access to the best in traditional wisdom - and to a community that totally understands and supports your quest for something more.
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Great article. I come and go in my practice. Life gets in the way. Currently I now have time for me and am getting back into my practice.
My mother , who was not a watch as such, always encouraged my interests. They lean heavily towards herbs and I often find my knowledge of them to be instinctual. From a past life, guidance from an ancestor 🤷♀️ I don’t know.
Great article Leela! I totally agree with this take… My grandmother was a witch and taught me many things about the craft (though never told me what she was doing til way later… "We’re not allowed to do “the devils work”"….she had to, in that time and place appear as a good christan woman. My mother was not taught, and ended up being trained as a scientist (she is catching on now though). I did however grow up in a free thinking home where exploration of ideas was accepted, and after I lost my grandmother, I did feel remarkably drawn to all things oggie-boogie…. Now, like you I have close to 40 years of just practise and research and I can see what that has done. Sometimes it amazes even me how much information I’ve absorbed. But the point… yeah totally not hereditory. Constant practise is all it is…. and working hard on your ability to focus your mind clearly and with no doubt in what you can achieve
Hi Thanks for writing that it resonates with me even though I have studied a bit I still take things slow and easy I need to Sue
To me it’s more like an attitude. I don’t have time/$$ to buy items or even make spells. I use my duality of awareness to connect to the universe while living my everyday life. Intent is the only ingredient I use.