Posted by Cormac O'Dwyer on 5/31/2015 to Occult Weekly
We have previously discussed that it is by no means necessary to have witchcraft ancestry to become a witch. To put this in terms of pop culture, the fact that Hermione Granger, a Muggle, was first in her class at Hogwarts, is certainly a possibility in real life, meaning that any individual can move their way through the Coven. But the notion of lineage cannot be readily discarded.
It is very important in various senses. First, an individual born to Practitioners is exposed to Occultist ideas and Rituals at a very early age, rather than coming across these ideas in a theoretical book during their teenage or adult years. Second, an individual with Practitioner relatives is more likely to have a strong sense of pride in their beliefs. It is a sort of coat of arms, and this individual descended from a line of those who have studied and followed the Craft is unlikely to compromise their beliefs easily.
To exemplify this idea, many of the famous Practitioners that we have previously discussed stem from a Magickal ancestry, or at least was raised by somebody who studied the Craft. This does not mean that they were the greatest Practitioners of all, nor the most knowledgeable, nor had the most comprehensive understanding of the Universal Law, energy flow, and other Occultist ideas. However, these individuals were often the most adamant about promoting the Craft’s ideology and gaining political status amongst other organized religions.
To cite handful examples of individuals that we have previously mentioned, Carl “Llewellyn” Weschcke, the most prolific publisher of Occultist literature learned the foundations of Theosophy from his grandfather at an early age and became fixated on the idea of making this knowledge known to the general public. The great Alex Sanders belonged to a line of hereditary Practitioners, was initiated into his family’s Coven at the age of seven, and represented a public voice neopaganism. Old Dorothy Clutterbuck, a descendant of a long line of underground Practitioners, used her wealth to support neopagan causes, such as education and the formation of Covens. Even Gerald Gardner, the founder of modern Wicca, was raised by his broad-minded and Occultist-believing nurse who related her experiences of Earth’s mysteries and alternative Paths to Spirituality at a very young age.
On the other hand, well-known Practitioners who do not descend from a line of Practitioners, have tended to dedicate their time to the pursuit of knowledge and the rejection of the Faith in which they were raised rather than the perseverance of this Path to Spirituality. I have included a few examples of these individuals whom you may recognize. Dion Fortune was raised in a strict Christian household and spent her time studying mysticism and dream interpretation. Scott Cunningham was not exposed to the Craft until his teenage years, but spent the rest of his days observing the Magickal properties of plants and rocks. Similarly, Raymond Buckland was raised in a Christian household and did not learn of the Occult until around age twelve, but after this dedicated his life to the Craft’s history and expanded upon current Occultist ideas.
So, what does it really mean to be descended from a line of Practitioners? For one, genetic abilities in Casting and performing Rituals are in your bloodstream, and an individual might very well be more prone to adapting to and adopting the skills necessary to become a Master. However, an individual who does not belong to any particular line may also acquire the requisite skills, sometimes naturally, and more often through extreme interest, dedication, and focus.
Beyond this, as mentioned above, the primary aim of the
Practitioner might be different depending upon their lineage. An individual descended from a long line might be more prone to join a particular Coven, dedicate their resources to preserving the Craft and making its benefits known. An individual who learns about the Craft at a later age might be absorbed with the substance, meaning that they are on a quest for Occultist knowledge and learning the ways of the Practitioner more than anything else.
However, each individual is unique, and these are merely some observations about how an individual may act based upon their ancestry.