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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