Witch blood, hereditary witch, natural witch, witch DNA. Regardless of what you call it, the topic can raise the hackles of newcomers and oldsters alike. More often than not, profession of a belief that some people are born into witchcraft inclination is seen as the mark of fluff. As a person who, ideally, has a reputation for being pretty fluff-free, I'd like to come out and make a rather bold statement.

I believe in "Witch DNA".

Because that statement is likely to cause some raised eyebrows, I think it needs some explanation.

First, I do not believe that there is a single "witch gene" that if one has, one is automatically a witch and if one lacks it, one can never be a witch. First and foremost, witchcraft is a developed skill. It needs work. If one does not have the "witch gene", he or she still can have a fulfilling life as a witch through dedicated study and practice. Likewise, if one does have the "witch gene", but chooses to avoid the "witchy arts", that person will not be a witch by merit of DNA alone.

Second, having the "witch gene" does not mean that it will express itself within witchcraft exclusively. I have met people who I believe possess the "witch gene" who are devout Christians, serving Jesus through mediated words of knowledge and healing touch. I have met atheists who, through their psychic ability, have a firm pulse on the future. The "witch gene" in no way determines one's chosen spiritual path.

Third, "witch gene" is a bit of a misnomer--it is a set of traits that are likely encoded on different genes. But just as certain genetic traits crop up together many times within an individual, the "witch gene" would refer to a case when many of these "witchy" traits crop up within an individual.

Fourth, the "witch gene", in my view, is likely both a recessive set of traits and traits that must be triggered through environmental stimuli to become active (akin to certain diseases, although I would not instantly classify witch-ness as a disease). The recessivity explains why it may seem to skip around within families. The triggering event can be anything from a traumatic experience that brings about some sort of awakening of spirit to the energetic passing of power that occurs at initiations.

With these disclaimers firmly in place, what does the whole "witch DNA" thing mean?

For people who possess the "witch gene", it has been my experience that these people are more likely to be drawn to certain forms of spiritual work in line with their genetic predisposition, just like a person with an "artistic gene" is more likely to have the urge to perform works of art. Like any other genetic compulsion, if one wants to avoid expression of that compulsion, it takes a lot of work. It is no shock then that those people who have that genetic compulsion of witchcraft often feel that they "have no choice" but to pursue some form of expression of that "witch gene".

Like a predisposition for skills (for instance, athletic ability), a person with the witch gene may find it easier to tap certain traits than a person without it, just as a person with athletic ability may find it easier to to become an athlete than those without it. On the other hand, a person may be challenged in finding balance because of the overwhelming nature of that drive.

And like any other aspect of genetics, without accurate testing, there's no way to tell who carries the gene and who doesn't. Currently, the human genome project hasn't located a "witch gene", but it does seem to be something that can be "tested" for, at least in traditional witchcraft paths. Many times, someone seems to have the "it"--a certain something that seems to signal a person who is really called to a Craft path. This doesn't mean that all initiates of traditional Craft has this "it". Some people develop it over time (a latent gene being triggered). Some people never have it. All are equal within the circle, whether they start out with "it" or not. (From my perspective, initiation can also be a "mutation-like" event...perhaps the divine changes a person's DNA on some level to give them this "it"? Who knows, and ultimately it doesn't matter in my view.)

My daughter was the ritual product of a working of two witches. Does this mean she carries "witch DNA"? Who knows.... it usually doesn't show up in any recognizable form until after puberty. It is possible that she got the dominant non-witch genes instead of both recessives. On the other hand, "witch traits" are pretty common on both sides of our families, even though (to the best of our knowledge) we're the first witches in our respective family trees.

So now my questions to the larger group...what are your thoughts on this? If we're products of our DNA code, combined with attributes that come about through nurture, why would it be out of the question that "witch-ness" is a DNA-coded trait? Also, what sort of skills, talents, and abilities are coded through this "witch gene", if you believe in it? I've got a list...but I want to see what other people come up with.

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Comment by Ms. Witch(Sara) on May 21, 2015 at 3:21
Just now seeing this post but I agree with it completely. A lit like Hagatha, I was influenced by my grandmother, also paternal, she never claimed to practice the craft but I just knew she did. My dad practiced but never mentioned the word pagan until I reached puberty. By this time my grandmother had passed but once I found my own way a lot of things I learned led me back to her and the basic things she had taught me. I do not think that because I'm a witch that my son will be one(I secretly hope he follows in my footsteps lol but if he doesn't that is okay) my mom isn't pagan at all. My husband and his family are mostly atheist with a few catholics in there.so I don't see my son being exposed to much but my kitchen Witchery and paganism roots. I went to church with a few friends a few times growing up to see what it was about. My dad left me to make my own decisions about what my beliefs were nothing was ever forced on me. With my son, I imagine he will be exposed to friends that go to church and such and I am fine with him exploring and learning the history of any religions he finds interest in. I feel the "gene" is more of a I relate to this and now that I'm old enough to understand it all as a whole it makes sense" type of thing even if sometimes it isn't the path they chose to follow. Time will tell with my son. Thanks for this post. Blessings!
Comment by Nikolai Christovic on May 21, 2015 at 2:37
I know this post is old but it's what brought me to this site and insightful enough to get me to join. I am what I call an ethnic witch, I don't feel right about claiming hereditary because I have learned that what my grandmother taught me was influenced by Gardener, Cybil. Leek, and Southern Voodoo: it seems to me that my family forgot the gods of our ancestors. While I don't practice witchcraft in the way it's percieved in modern society I have advanced in it through Martial Arts and the study of Native Science. There is definitely a difference in people who have what my family calls "the sight." Most actual "hereditary /ethnic "witches that I have come across seem to have at least a noble lineage on often royalty. Contrary to pop culture most converts to Christianity did not convert with the intention of turning their back on there traditions. The pagan symbols on the churches were placed there not to just draw the crowds but to appease the supposed Christianized rulers who "converted strictly for political purposes. If you didn't convert the Holy Roman Empire came down on your whole nation. Gods who couldn't be demonized were made Saints, they were invented to replace the Aesir and Vanir of the tribes of Europe (Western Eurasia) . I theorize that most tribes of the mainland had both Aesir and Vanir and were as diverse as American Indian (Far Western) civilization. The Trinity was also an invention, social engineering, to replace the chief gods who are known to have been commonly depicted in triads. With such compromises in the face of genocide, many rulers felt they had no other choice. The priests of old slipped away into monasteries and passed on our heritage in secret : we inherited a false hope. Eventually the Christians (sic) seized hold of the education of our royalty and nobles which gave them supereme power over our future leaders. It is easy to condemn mty ancestors for their part in this who one forgets to remember we were all hostage to these so called Christians. I ask everyone reading this to realize that what happened to us is happining to the natives in your region now and I call you to warn them that they Will become as western society people if they don't keep their heritage strong. Once we were like them but it was taken away from us encourage their children to learn their traditions. As for us we need to revisit our history and realize what's really going on. We have remuch to learn from each othersecrets of our traditions are still hidden and the new lands we are on call us to listen, to. Look smell, taste and understand let us remember to respect our elder races of the lands we are on . Blessed be and all my relations
Comment by Kim Klink on January 26, 2015 at 4:48
not sure what happened there....
Comment by Kim Klink on January 26, 2015 at 4:47
I totally understand what you're saying from a practical and very basic view. And yes, I agree that as the gifts that I was born with, I was accepted as such in my Christian life....until my journey and gifts grew beyond the theology of my religion. I also know there is more to it than any organized belief system could hild
Comment by Leisha on December 23, 2011 at 12:45

No, that was a bit of tongue-in-cheek bit on my part. The human genome project isn't looking for a "witch gene", nor for any of the traits that one would generally classify under "witchiness". On the other hand, I've run into many people of different religious paths who seem to be able to detect the "it" that I feel is probably genetically coded somewhere. Within some forms of Christianity, the person may be described as being "anointed", within some tribal systems, there may be a person who is identified early on for training to serve a tribe in a spiritual way....perhaps even identifying a kumari would be looking for some sort of trait that would have to be coded somewhere. Within my experience in traditional witchcraft, some people just have this...something...about them that makes them more likely to be successful in a specific type of Craft path than other people. I believe that whatever it is that different spiritual paths pick up on in certain individuals is probably coded somewhere in someone's genetic makeup (since we're mostly nature with a smattering of nurture to determine who we are).

Comment by Melissa on December 23, 2011 at 12:04

MrsB-

I don't think it's literally a specific gene. Just certain genetic traits that would make a person more likely to have higher aptitude or interest in witchcraft. I don't think the genome project is looking for a witch gene,haha. There's actually a mail in service (that is quite expensive) where you send in your mouth swab and they tell you certain genetic markers you have. I'm not sure how legit/accurate it is. I'm also not entirely sure if they test outside physical markers.

Comment by Hagatha on December 22, 2011 at 10:52

I'm not sure of a Witch-gene or not. All I can comment on is my own personal experience. When I was young I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandmother. Now this lady never once claimed any special talents or that she was practicing the Craft. I now know she was. It was just traditional ways she did everyday things.

For instance, certain times of the month were best for canning, sewing, baking, gathering, planting, whatever. Also certain days of the year, week so on. She also taught me to "Thank the Earth" whenever gathering, or picking. She also had a way of "knowing" when to clean or put on the coffee because guests were showing up.

Now having been raised like this and finding the path when I was in my early twenties, was it because my grandmother had this gene and passed it on to me, or, did I find the path because it felt right and familiar?

I don't know.

My grandmother and I had always shared a special bond that she just didn't have with any of my other cousins. I've wondered if it was because we reconized that special something in each other.

So I wonder did I come to this naturally? Or was it just the influence being raised in the atmosphere?

Comment by Melissa on December 21, 2011 at 14:23

Back when I used to do my brother-in-laws psychology homework (lazy bugger) I did come across a study that felt approximately  70% of your traits were inherited. They used twins living separate from each other. I agree that those also factor in with environmental influence.

So I do think saying that someone with the "witch gene"  would be naturally more inclined to things of this nature would be very reasonable. Aptitudes included.

This is a great post for helping me see things in different lights. When one hears "witch gene" they may come to a fast conclusion due to some of the absurd things we pagans have heard in our community. When you put it they you have, it does have a lot more merit.

I would love a little back and forth discussion on nature vs nurture in general on here,too!

Comment by Alorer (The Gecko) on December 21, 2011 at 13:57

It ate my last sentence.... Here it goes: "I apologize if it's all over the place, I'm not really focused right now but I wanted to reply while the ideas where fresh."

Comment by Alorer (The Gecko) on December 21, 2011 at 13:54

I like the concept and pretty much agree with most of it but the wording continues to bug me. I prefer to call it "talent" rather than gene. In my case, Witchcraft seems to be the only thing I am truly good at: I am good enough at drawing but not really good; I am good enough at writing but not really good; I am good enough at languages but not really good - you get the point. Witchcraft on the other hand, is the only thing I am *really* good at and from my observations, it appears to be the only "muscle" I have no problem using with considerable success and ease even after long periods of not exercising at all.

I don't think that "witch-ness" is out of the question as far as genetics go. I simply don't feel very comfortable marrying those two fields without solid evidence, since Witchcraft, for me at least, doesn't require talent nearly as much as other "gene" or talent oriented fields (i.e. arts or sports).

I haven't really thought about this much so my list will be quite the rough draft. I'd say that some skills/traits/abilities I place in the list would be these:

1. Energy. Manipulation and/or sensing of energy, in whatever form or method a system or Tradition may recognize it, is, I think, a very basic skill that seems to appear more on those inclined towards Witchcraft. People who have the "witch-ness" tend to be the sensitive ones: those more open to the energies of the world(s), other entities etc. I'll use myself as an example (as I will do throughout the rest of the list): family and friends always used to say how sensitive I was regarding metaphysical and paranormal instances. In terms of quantity, I have had the most encounters and experiences AND the most intense out of my family and the majority of our friends. I was also always drawn to the occult, whether I knew what it was I was doing or not. And this is a point I disagree on: you mention your belief that the "witch gene" manifests after puberty; from my observations, this is often not the case.

2. Creativity. Yes, I think this one is a major one. I could also add "imagination" and "inspiration" to it. I think that those drawn to Witchcraft have a more active imagination (since we deal with the unseen a lot and imagination is the No 1 medium to link us with the unseen), more expanded creativity (stagnation is the arch-nemesis of the Witch - we need something to fight that so natural evolution perhaps?) and draw inspiration from more sources or more often than most people (since it ties with imagination and creativity).

3. Craftsmanship. I am using this more in the metaphorical sense rather than the literal. Those drawn to Witchcraft seem to have a greater need to make things (literally or not) than most people and I guess that forces us to develop the necessarily skill to cope.

4. Action. Witches are active people. We are a rare type: we use our Will directly, instead of following and leaving ourselves at the hands of others entirely, like the majority of people nowadays (and this raises the question of whether those who are "sheep" and too passive are really Witches or not but that's for another time ;) ). Those with the predisposition of "witch-ness" appear to be more active, more immersed in what they do and take part in, more direct in their approach. This doesn't mean everyone is necessarily abrasive, bold and powerful; you can be active and direct in subtle ways too. I simply think being a couch potato, spiritually or otherwise, is a sure sign that the "gene" is very much dormant. :P

5. Connection. Those leaning towards Witchcraft are usually prone to make connections: teachers, partners, Gods, spirits, you name it. I cannot think of another "talent" that makes people want to meet others while at the same time create powerful, positive individualism (again connection though this time, with the self).

I hope this answers your questions. :

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