I want to make it very clear that my thoughts here are just that, my thoughts. I wanted to talk about his here since I get asked this question a handful of times a week, and I thought it was time to share my opinion once and for all in a place where I can easily refer people to. These are based on my three decades of study and practice and nothing else. You are entirely entitled to your own opinion and beliefs, that’s the beauty of this path.
I get asked this question multiple times a week through social media and email. “I feel like I have special powers. Was I born a witch?”
No, you weren’t.
Being a witch is a choice. It’s a choice to call yourself a witch. It’s a choice to practice witchcraft. It’s a choice to follow a religion, like Wicca, that embraces witchcraft as part of its belief system. Nobody is born a witch.
On the flip side, one could say that EVERYONE is born with a little witch inside them.
Everyone is born with intuitive abilities and the ability to manifest their desires and intentions. Everyone can work with energy, connect with the powers of the Universe, the Divine, and the natural world. However, it’s a choice to do these things.
When we’re little, we have a more natural inclination to use these things. Many of us grow up in families with spiritual or religious traditions that might shun or discourage beliefs or practices associated with witchcraft, so we don’t develop them young when our capacity to grow them is most flexible.
Then we grow up. Many of us that become witches have an experience that leads us to either finding out about modern-day witchcraft, or we start to find that we have witchy skills as a result of things that happen in our lives. We begin noticing our intuition is very strong and accurate when we follow it. We see that when we put our focus on our clear intentions and visualize our desired outcomes, they come to pass. Soon we start to think, “Was I born a witch? I didn’t mean to make these things happen; I must have been born with special powers!”
No, you weren’t.
What has happened to you is you’ve rediscovered your natural abilities that were closed off when you were young, and you’ve now made a choice to explore them and be open to what they have to offer.
But that still doesn’t make you a witch.
Witchcraft has become very trendy in recent years for several reasons that are closely tied to issues that concern many people, especially younger generations. Issues of racial and gender equality, environmental concerns, spiritual freedom, creativity, and personal sovereignty. Overall, witchcraft encourages practitioners to improve themselves and do what they can to help humankind. In our modern times of divisiveness and environmental crisis, it’s appealing to be part of a path and community that embraces these things, and that often encourages progressive ways forward.
Witchcraft practitioners have always been concerned with social justice because of the helping humankind bit of what witchcraft is about. But the sometimes “edgy” aesthetic look and language of witchcraft have become somewhat appropriated by groups and individuals looking to get attention to their cause or to stir things up, not because they are actually practicing witches.
While modern witchcraft has become very connected to social issues in the last decade, it’s not a political stance despite being pulled into politics for centuries. The Salem Witch Trials were a political issue at its core; not a single person who died in Salem was an actual witch. They were people, mainly women, who were feared because they had more money, land, or power, than was believed to be acceptable at the time because of their gender and/or social standing.
But being an actual witch is not about your politics. There are right-wing, left-wing, progressive and moderate witches, and witches who take no political stance at all.
Being a witch, and calling yourself a witch, is something particular.
Being a witch is NOT about your aesthetic. It’s not about wearing certain clothes or jewelry or decorating your home a certain way. Just because you wear a pentacle necklace and wear black clothes and post pictures of crystals and tarot cards on your Instagram does not make you a witch, despite what some online media outlets might lead you to believe with their “Top 10 Witches to Follow” lists.
A Witch practices witchcraft. They cast spells, work rituals, deal in divination, work with the natural world and the cosmos. They don’t follow any one specific religion. No, you don’t have to be Wiccan or even specifically Pagan to be a witch.
To actually BE a witch is to live and breathe magick. To follow your path with your whole heart and being. To work magick every day in all you do and say. Knowing that your words and thoughts have power and that every action is part of the magick spell that is your life. Yes, you also are going to cast spells, do rituals, and cook up a potion or two, but it’s more than that.
And it’s a choice.
It’s a choice because you need to learn and study the art of magick. You need to develop your skills and actively work to improve your abilities. Witchcraft isn’t like in the movies. You can’t just whip out a special wand, wave it around, and get what you want. The magick comes for YOU, and it takes time, effort, and energy…literally blood, sweat, and tears…to truly work your magick and be a witch.
One last thing I want to mention is the idea of “hereditary witches” since this is where a lot of people will push back on the idea of nobody being born a witch.
Yes, some people are born into families of practicing witches. Some people may be born into a family with a lineage of magickal or metaphysical practitioners. These people may even be raised as witches as children. But that doesn’t negate the issue of choice. They CHOOSE to either remain practicing witches later in life, or they can choose not to.
It’s the same as if you were born into a family of Christians. You may be born to Christian parents and raised Christian as a child, but in your adulthood, you have a choice to either remain a Christian or to change your path. Many of you reading this may be able to relate to this because you were born into and raised in a religion that you probably don’t connect with or follow today. That was a choice you made, and it would be a choice to now call yourself a witch and follow the path of witchcraft.
Anyone who wants to be a witch and is willing to put in the work can become a witch. Only time will tell what happens to that person on their journey and if they really do connect with and awaken their inner witch.