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Heritage & Magic

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Heritage & Magic

Postby Stitchwitch » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:54 am

For those of you who look to a certain culture from your ancestry or family heritage for inspiration in your practice of witchcraft, how did you choose which culture's traditions to incorporate? I'm also curious if you grew up with that culture or of you built that connection later in life.
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby L.J.Hex » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:47 am

Anyone surprised to see me barge on this one? :mrgreen:

I keep mentioning it so often, I wonder when people will get fed up with it. I'm mixing Finnish tradition and spells to my craft and I'm on the constant lookout to do it more. I would say that I did grow up with some of it as fractions of our age old traditions are still alive and the attitude towards it is mainly very positive.... Later interest in heavy metal developed into an interest on folk metal using our own tradition as a basis for our expression and lyrics. Also the fact that witchcraft (Although people generally didn't think it as that) has been a very important part of everyday life in here much longer than most of europe, so quite a lot of it is still out there and the information isn't that hard to find. Although a lot has been lost too as our tradition has been oral rather than written for a very long time.

Then there's this, a lot of Finnish witchcraft can be incorporated as it is into modern day paganism and/or Wicca as the way of thinking and doing things are so close to each other. And naturally the tradition of my own people is close to heart so its not a stretch to do it alongside all the other things. And perhaps my blood draws me in it, both of my families are from Karelia, an area where the old spell singing tradition has been alive for longest, so I guess I just have it in me.
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby firebirdflys » Fri Mar 01, 2019 12:40 pm

Growing up I didn't really have any traditional culture to draw from. My mom that raised me is 100 % Norwegian but it seemed as though her mother didn't teach her much of her own culture. This is also the case with my husband too who is 100% Japanese. Both of these families were recent immigrants whose grandparents were born in the "old" country, but were so worried about becoming American that they didn't share these old traditions with their "new" lives. The language also perished with that generation which make me real sad.
I had always been drawn to the magic of the Celts and practices of the Native Americans. When I did the DNA test it was nice to find out much of my roots do come from those heritages so it's interesting to see that this may be in my blood. Also In doing some researching on the family lines I found a 10th great grand parent who was a religious rebel and started his own flavor of religion after being excommunicated from his church for having different beliefs. This was all back starting in the 1630's. So I guess I have religious non conformity in my blood too! LoL :lol:
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby SpiritTalker » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:43 pm

My parents were estranged from both of their families for their "mixed" marriage - Catholic & Protestant. So no family heritage was passed down. I only learned from a 2nd cousin of dad's that their roots branched from Penn Dutch. So I dutifully read Hohman's "Long Lost Friend."
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby Stitchwitch » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:39 am

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I guess I'm asking because I have ancestry from a lot of regions, but very little connection to any of them. I've done some research and a couple of the cultures in which my family believed we had roots are either nonexistent in our heritage or less prominent than we believed. I know a witch's practice doesn't have to be culturally rooted, but a portion of my belief stems from the concept of collective memory as supported by recent epigenetic research, so for me the symbolic language of my ancestors would be more powerful than that of other regions. I'm working on tracking their exact paths so I can be as specific as possible in the folk traditions and lore I study. I have been considering focusing more on my matrilineal ancestry because of the role my mother and grandmother have played in the development of my witchcraft. My craft is very home-based and my mom is the ultimate hostess/domestic goddess. My grandmother carried a few folk superstitions but I never saw any such belief in other family members. I'm just curious how other melting pot witches chose their path.
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby EveningWithAstaroth » Wed Mar 13, 2019 10:03 pm

If you trace my heritage back you get Romani and english, also Scottish.

I am not into Celtic magic.

The best way I can answer is that I base my practice of my craft off my current area of land. I use natural herbs and wildflowers close by for a lot of my work. One would call it Maine Witchcraft.
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby SnowCat » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:16 am

My ancestry is British Isles, but my current pantheon is primarily Egyptian. I was raised Catholic, and investigated Mormonism, as my dad was Mormon, but monotheism isn't a good fit for me. I asked the Element of Water to keep me safe as I was trekking across the icy parking lot to my car after work. I slipped once, but didn't fall. I felt like that was a positive response.
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby Shekinah » Thu Mar 14, 2019 1:11 pm

It is my opinion that race, ethnic, cultural trappings stand in the way of a unified global society and conjures conflict between humans. We are residents of earth trying to play well together, survive ourselves and reach for the stars. Our ethnic, racial, cultural past has little relevance as we all evolved from a common origin and are headed towards a common destination.
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby Stitchwitch » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:13 pm

EveningWithAstaroth wrote:I use natural herbs and wildflowers close by for a lot of my work. One would call it Maine Witchcraft.


May I ask what the environment is like in your area? I'm trying to do this to some degree, but my area is very urban/suburban so I'm struggling to find things that haven't been imported and cultivated. There are parks, but I'm not certain what's native not am I certain of the legality/etiquette of foraging there. I'm also not great with plant ID, so right now it's mostly clovers and dandelions.

SnowCat wrote: I asked the Element of Water to keep me safe as I was trekking across the icy parking lot to my car after work. I slipped once, but didn't fall. I felt like that was a positive response.


How cool! I'm still getting comfortable working with the elements. I mostly do things people would classify as kitchen/green witchery, but when I ground myself I try to focus on each element as it relates to my body and connects me to the rest of the universe. It's been pretty effective so far.


Shekinah wrote:It is my opinion that race, ethnic, cultural trappings stand in the way of a unified global society and conjures conflict between humans.


I agree with a lot of that sentiment, and I certainly feel we have more in common as human beings than not. I could see why culture may not matter to some people, especially in their practice of witchcraft. For me, though, tradition and family have always made me feel more a part of the world or something greater than myself, so they play an important role in my practice. Even when I identified as Christian I felt much more connected in a "traditional" church than the contemporary churches more common to my region.
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby EveningWithAstaroth » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:45 pm

Stitchwitch wrote:
EveningWithAstaroth wrote:I use natural herbs and wildflowers close by for a lot of my work. One would call it Maine Witchcraft.


May I ask what the environment is like in your area? I'm trying to do this to some degree, but my area is very urban/suburban so I'm struggling to find things that haven't been imported and cultivated. There are parks, but I'm not certain what's native not am I certain of the legality/etiquette of foraging there. I'm also not great with plant ID, so right now it's mostly clovers and dandelions.



My area is actually very urban. I tend to pick roadside flowers and yes areas from parks, railroad tracks etc. Where I was previously living I had a small outdoor garden with marigolds and roses. I used these two flowers a lot in my work. A lot of my work doesn't depend on spells in and of themselves. My craft is also my way of worshipping so crabapples and purple roadside flowers are wonderful for a offering or puja.

I am adept enough at local plant identification. My advice for urban crafting is not to be afraid to adapt creatively to working with one's immediate environment. I once used tar I found in the river downtown to use in a breaking bad habits spell. Not the most pleasant thing to find but I utilized it in a positive way.

Good luck to you in all your workings and in your craft!
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby RosieMoonflower » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:09 pm

SnowCat wrote:My ancestry is British Isles, but my current pantheon is primarily Egyptian. I was raised Catholic, and investigated Mormonism, as my dad was Mormon, but monotheism isn't a good fit for me. I asked the Element of Water to keep me safe as I was trekking across the icy parking lot to my car after work. I slipped once, but didn't fall. I felt like that was a positive response.


Interesting @snow. I have similar ancestry through my mother’s side (British isles) and I read that many people from England and Scotland share DNA with Egyptian King Tut. There is a story of a pharaoh’s daughter fled Egypt after the political overthrow and fear for her life. The story says she made her way up to Spain, then France, England and settled in Scotland.

I do not know anything about Celtic religion either but I did recently purchase a new tarot deck called “fantastical creatures” which draws on Celtic traditions but I do look forward to learning about it while I learn the deck.

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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby Stitchwitch » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:49 am

EveningWithAstaroth wrote:My area is actually very urban. I tend to pick roadside flowers and yes areas from parks, railroad tracks etc. Where I was previously living I had a small outdoor garden with marigolds and roses. I used these two flowers a lot in my work. A lot of my work doesn't depend on spells in and of themselves. My craft is also my way of worshipping so crabapples and purple roadside flowers are wonderful for a offering or puja.

I am adept enough at local plant identification. My advice for urban crafting is not to be afraid to adapt creatively to working with one's immediate environment. I once used tar I found in the river downtown to use in a breaking bad habits spell. Not the most pleasant thing to find but I utilized it in a positive way.

Good luck to you in all your workings and in your craft!


Thank you for the advice! It's very encouraging.
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby LC » Mon Mar 18, 2019 11:18 am

I have always been drawn to all aspects of the Celtic. I was so excited that I found out that I have Irish in my blood. My mom had done one of those ancestory dna tests. My dad just sent his in.
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby Alfazon » Tue Apr 02, 2019 7:29 am

This is something that has crossed my mind a lot myself, My roots come from Jamaica, South Africa and USA so most of the spiritual roots would lead me back to African spiritual practises.

However Africa is a big place and I wouldn't even know where to start it did have me in a bit of a rut but My work around this was to see myself and my system as an abortion mechanism, so if it serves my goals and purpose then I would incorporate it into my system, I would have to accept that at some point the practises I take on may only sustain me so far thus it would be time for me to empty my cup so to speak but always retain the knowledge and importance of any information and practises i come across, so I can always come back to them when I feel called towards those ways this walk of life constantly evolves and changes so will our systems to some extent(Well for me anyways XD) This has helped me not be too concerned about what my heritage means in regards to my craft as I've come to the understanding that regardless of geographical location all of us are trying to connect to the unilateral source that binds all things together, the paths we take and our heritage are the many faces and reflections of said source.

So if you are able to research your heritage by all means look into the spiritual practises they do, however be open to all practises and ways as they can all serve you to some extent.

For example I take on traditional Wicca rituals and alter set ups, but my spells would be in written in Medu Neter script and pronounced as such yet in my spiritual journal I use the runic alphabet to write my experiences. Also my mantra's that I have made stem from a practise in the eastern orthodox church called the "Jesus prayer" which is about trying maintain a constant introspective awareness of ones self when interacting with the world around you. To help you navigate through the physical planes and that of the spiritual and see how they merge together during daily life.

These choices I made were mainly due to my intuition, divination and experiences, so don't be caught up thinking that your heritage dictates the sects of magic you must study, it can give you a great foundation, but foundations are to be built upon and made into something spectacular.

“Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.” - Bruce Lee

Hope this helps!!
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Re: Heritage & Magic

Postby Stitchwitch » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:51 am

I've come to the understanding that regardless of geographical location all of us are trying to connect to the unilateral source that binds all things together, the paths we take and our heritage are the many faces and reflections of said source.


Well said, Alfazon!

An update, for anyone who may be interested:

So my journey has progressed quite a bit, as has my ancestry research. I found some surprises and was even able to trace my grandma's mother to a specific village in Slovakia. It's made me feel more connected to my family, the world, and its history, but I have chosen not to focus on a cultural magic system. I'll be sticking to my more intuitive/symbolic approach while incorporating some folk traditions and lore.

While I took some inspiration from my findings, my practice has gone in an unexpected direction. I've adopted (or they've adopted me) two complementary patron goddesses from different regions and pantheons. It's unexpected because I don't believe in deities in a literal sense. I view these ladies as archetypes and role models. They are personified aspects of myself and, more often, whom I aspire to be. I have found inspiration and introspection in connecting with these parts of myself through these goddesses.

I am incorporating their values and activities into my life and using their symbols and domains to increase the strength of my craft. They do come from cultures where I also have ancestors (Celtic & Germanic), which may have drawn me to them, but I have no specific ancestral connection to them that I am aware of.

Last night I dedicated my kitchen altar to both of them. It was a wonderful experience of ritual, mindfulness, and symbolism. I'm very excited to see where all this goes!
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