This has to be one of the top 101 questions asked by budding Witches in those early days of seeking. Usually this is because people coming to the Craft are originally from a monotheistic or organised religious background and wish to make a clean break with their past, which is no bad thing for some, but it is by no means a universal necessity. The question can also come through a confusion about what a Witch is and the idea of Witchblood.
The concept of Witchblood is an interesting one as it has three main interpretations. Firstly it can be considered as a spiritual calling, secondly as a hereditary family lineage and thirdly being identifiable as a descendant of the Nephilim.
In the first instance the question of how to become a Witch is answered by simply deciding to follow that spiritual calling. The word “blood” becomes misleading in this context as it isn’t necessarily the liquid life that flows your veins. It is a calling felt by both body and soul, the kind of thing that cannot be ignored or rejected. The word ‘blood’ becomes a metaphor for that calling.
Just as some are called to become doctors and nurses or even to join the church, the desire to become a Witch is a spiritual calling. In order to become a Witch one must simply answer the call. The abilities ascribed to the Witch are inherent to all of mankind which, once acknowledged and developed, are there for us all to use.
The second instance of lineage itself has two possible interpretations. Sometimes this lineage is perceived as a spiritual lineage, passed on from initiator to initiate down the line and once again the word ‘blood’ takes on the role of metaphor. You can see this in lineaged traditions, such as in Gardinarian and Alexandrian Wicca, and this “blood”lines are carefully mapped and accounted for.
More often than not it is prrsented as a possible or supposed genetic link to Witchcraft. Evidencing an hereditary link to the Craft can often be very difficult to achieve, especially in paticularly religious families which seek to deny any talents and abilities. Equally you are not going to log into an family research website and find a ‘W’ next to yours ancestors name. It can take an awful lot of additional research to pin down any connection to witch hunts of the past and even then you are not necessarily dealing with a Witch but someone accused of it.
The main problem with this concept is all too often abused by less scrupulous individuals. Whether it as an attempt to bolster their own ego or increase an appearance of credibility there are more and morr people out there making disingenuous claims of lineaged or heredity Witchcraft than there are with proof of the same making it very hard to sort the wheat from the chaff.
The third understanding has strong Judao-Christian origins and finds its origins in the Bible. In this those angels who fell from heaven, also known as the Watchers, mated with mortal women and from them descended the race of Giants, the Nelphilim. In some Great Flood Myths the Nelphilim are drowned and the race destroyed however some myths suggest that the Nelphilim survived and are the precursor to the various fae and elven races that appear in mythology.
Historical people, particularly women, who displayed uncanny witch-like abilities were described as being fae and the belief is held by some that these people were descended from fae races. Physical markers, such as hair or eye colour, or unexpected aberrations which we would today recognise as genetic conditions (such as Albinism for example) would be historically be identified as a fae mark and the individual linked to Witchcraft. Combined with the belief in the Fallen and Nelphilim some people see these markers as linked to the concept of Witchblood and take them as a sign of being ultimately descendant from the Watchers. I’ll let you decide on the relative worth of the idea that only redheads can be Witches and move on.
If my explination is a bit shakey on this last concept that is because I struggle with it on so many levels. I can almost grasp this on a metaphysical/spiritual metaphor however actual belief in this is up there with Ancient Aliens for me. Indeed some people believe that the Fallen were in fact Aliens come to Earth.
In any event I am of the opinion that, as a member of the human race, we all have the ability to become a Witch but not all are called and fewer still choose to answer that call. For me it is a spiritual calling which sings in your veins. If you hear it there will be no denying it, only the drawing out of it. the very fact you have sat down to your computer and typed the question ‘How can I become a Witch’ is enough to indicate you have heard its first echoes and are seeking more.
But what more should/must one do in order to progress beyond this? Well that’s the interesting question.
As far as I am concerned there are no special rituals or declarations to be made. Some people like to perform rites of personal dedication either to a path or particular deity, we will come to why the two are not mutually exclusive another time, and that will be entirely appropriate for them to do. That being said some believe that it is necessary to strip yourself of and actively reject and previous religion, particularly in the case of Abrahamic faiths. there will be no “ritual of undoing baptism” in this post. In my opinion this is not the case.
Whilst I can understand why some people with specific experiences of mainstream religion may wish to do something clear and visible to break with their religious past I do not see it as a universal necessity. I was baptised and went through confirmation and I have never felt the need to ‘reverse’ either process. In truth it was that study process that began my journey away from the Church of my childhood and I am familiar enough with folk history and the Cunning Craft to realise that Witchcraft and Christianity have spent time deep in the arms of one another. The naming of saints and use of psalms was at one time the essence witchcraft, and something that I have used myself a time or two, so I find it difficult to deny not only my own personal history but the history of my Craft also.
Should you choose to perform some rite or dedication I would recommend researching such things or better yet even writing your own. As a fledgling it is all too tempting to take the rites of others and perform them verbatim without really connecting with the rite and finding it lacks in some way. It is a standard peice of advice that if you want a powerful spell or ritual you are better off writing your own. Take advice, research examples and correspondence but take what you find and make it your own. I have previously posted my own ‘guide’ to writing rituals which you can read here.
For me the processes of becoming and being a Witch is one of study and practice. Read widely and deeply and find for yourself how what you find fits, or doesn’t, with you. Does what you’ve read match with what you already believe and have experienced? Does it challenge you and bring you to new knowledge? Remember that, as an individual upon a personal path, what resonates with you will not always resonate with everyone around you and visa versa. Finding like minded people is a must but do not become complacent and reject challenge or new information.
Witchcraft is a skill as well as a calling and it is something to keep honed however I am not in that camp that will tell you that in order to be a Witch you must cast spells. Witchcraft is far more subtle than that, historically through necessity. It can be as subtle as giving someone the stink eye or stirring the tea of your office nemesis counterclockwise whilst muttering barbarous words as you make it, a sweet smile on your face. It may even be that added visualisation and blessing as you tuck your child in at night to keep the nightmares at bay. Sometimes the formalities such aa laying a circle or drawing and charging a sigil are necessary however becoming a Witch isn’t just about the bells and whistles. It is about living your Craft in the little ways everyday.
Research and study everything that comes your way and find what works for you and then put it in to practice; that is how one becomes a Witch.
So hopefully that provides some insight into my thoughts on what you need to do, and be, in order to become a Witch. You can find out more about my reflection on my Craft by checking out the Defining My Craft page.
As you might expect I have been concentrating on Witchcraft and Craft Mysteries in the last few weeks and I have been plumbing the depths of the BBC and YouTube for Mysteries and opinions. This interview with Peter Grey of Scarlet Imprint resonated well with me and I definitely recommend listening to the other Runesoup podcasts and checking out Scarlet Imprint’s own YouTube channel. Have fun checking them out.
The Witch, No. 1 – lithograph by Joseph E. Baker circa 1892
The Fall of the Rebel Angels – Hieronymus Bosch is based on Genesis 6:1–4
The Cunning Man – James Murrell Imposter Karen Bowman