What is ITW?

Irish Traditional Witchcraft:

Many wiccans – especially Irish wiccans – will tell you point blank that there is no such thing as “Traditional” Irish witchcraft. Or they will tell you that Wicca is traditional. Or they might say that they are not wiccan, but will proceed to talk about Covens and invoking the goddess Mainly though they will be at pains to dismiss any notion of an indigenous Irish Tradition of Witchcraft – in particular a living tradition.

This is simply because most of them have gleaned their “witchcraft” – and I use the term very loosely – from the pages of wiccan self help books. If they realise that they have replaced their own heritage with this dross they might have to do something about it. It threatens the general belief that “anyone can be a witch” but it really becomes an untenable proposition for these people when they realise that it also threatens their “Unsubstantiated Personal Gnosis” ie the fact that they attribute all kinds of imported and eclectic rubbish to Irish Pagan Gods under the Banner “It’s my interpretation” (Personal Gnosis is a posh way of saying I made it up)

But greatly as they dislike it and deride it and decry it Irish traditional Witcchraft does exist. It always has.

Points to remember about ITW

Irish Witchcraft traditions are not religious. Witchcraft is an occult art not a religion. People who think witchcraft is a religion are called “wiccans” or in some cases “satanists”. Witches can be any religion they want. It’s an art.

Sorry to labour the point but…well, it really can’t be stated enough. Witchcraft predates Wicca by just about the entire history of man’s existance. Every culture, society and tribe has had its magicians, witches, and sorcerors. Gardeners mixture of Medieval ceremonial magic, freemasonry and bad folklore/history is not witchcraft, is merely a footnote in the history of magic and witchcraft. No, witches weren’t really pagans, nor is it a mystery religion or an ancient cult of womanhood. Get a grip.

Ability Counts

Irish witchcraft Traditions have their roots in the Filí and Druidic heritage, but also in generations of actual folk practice. Understanding and exploring the more esoteric and intellectual heritage is a must, if you want to practice a culturally rooted tradition. But it’s not the be-all-and-end-all by any means. It’s merely an interesting intellectual interest if you don’t have the ability to actually practice witchcraft.

Witches are indeed born – unless you have that latent spark within you, you are not a witch.

Don’t get het up about it! I am never going to be a concert pianist and I can’t act for toffee. Some, many in fact, will never be witches. That doesn’t mean you can’t have magic in your life, or that you can’t be pagan because you aren’t a witch *bangs head off deask* or that you can’t appreciate magic and witchcraft. It just means you will never be a witch. You either have the ability or you don’t.

If you do, you have to practice, train and hone your skill. Otherwise you’ll be a mediocre, hit and miss kind of practitioner.

Being Irish…

You don’t have to be Irish by birth to be interested in Irish Traditions. What you must do however is respect Irish heritage, history, and culture. ITW is a culturally rooted tradition. It does not mix well with other traditions or eclectic practices. Divorce it from its roots and it becomes meaningless. It is not up for personal interpretation. It has a history and a context that is real. It is not a form of paganism. It is an occult art, rooted in ancient traditions.

But many people in recent years have come to Irish traditions from abroad, some becuase of family links and others out of nothing more than a feeling of interest in the subject. They have done as much as anyone to reinvigorate and preserve the tradition. Anyone who says that ITW is only for Irish people, or those with irish family links, is an idiot.

p.s.

There are just some things that need explaining. Being “Irish” means being born in Ireland, being brought up for a substantial amount of time, during the formative period of your youth, in Ireland, or at the very least living for a long period of time in Ireland. Having a great grandaddy from Co Clare does not make you Irish. When you say to an Irish person that you are Irish, we will inevitably ask you what part of Ireland you hail from. When you say “New Jersey” or “Sydney” we think it’s very very strange. HONESTLY.

ITW is a small group of traditionaly minded people. Some from a family background: some interested parties; some just reluctant to see irish Traditions sink under the weight of wicca and new age misconceptions. ITW is a closed group, membership is strictly limited.

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38 Comments

  1. Sìle said,

    Any more articles planned (in the near future) for this blog?

  2. Olive said,

    I’m really sick of Irish people claiming that Irish-Americans are not Irish. Try researching the Irish Diaspora. You can try all you like, but you will never erase our Irish DNA,

  3. tealte said,

    Olive you can have as much DNA as you like that’s “irish” but in the ed cultural nuances are lost on people not raised within that culture. Irish society did not stop evolving when a particular family left our shores. To think you can fully understand Ireland without living and growing up here is hubris. I have Indian Irish friends who are far more Irish than Irish Americans can hope to be because they grew up here
    In the context of Irish Tradtional Witchcraft we have many members who are wonderful examples of our craft, and who are Americans but they do ot seek to claim to be “Irish” – they are Irish- Americans or Americans. That respect for a culture, and the right of those who live that culture, is part of what makes them ITW practitioners.
    If you are sick of people claiming that Irish Americans are not Irish perhaps listen to the criticism rather than getting defensive. And we are fully aware of the Irish Diaspora, in all it’s myriad forms, from China to Russia to Serbia to Italy to America and all points in between. Irish Americans are not the only part of the Diaspora to reclaim their heritage, but they are the ones least likely to understand the difference between a culture experienced at third or fourth hand and one to which one was born and in which one lives. I wish you luck on your journey but please, do think about why you are encountering opposition and what perhaps you are missing in it’s import.

  4. Daniel O'COnnell said,

    Do not lit the hearth fire die. The old turf lights the new.

  5. karen said,

    i work in a place where they call me cursed because i foretell things before they actually happen. is this second sight. my mother is irish born and bred

  6. Cindy Guptill Turner King said,

    Iam still learning. MY roots Ireland to America. Mother side. Father s England / Scotland to Canada / Nova Scotia .
    Thank you. I learned a lot in the above.
    Sparkling Bright Blessing to find. Was hunting for a white witch blessings for love health &life. past knowledge in present to protect mother earth’s & humanity in future. Blessings for the new to elderly. Animal s. IRISHTWOFEATHER. Aloner.
    Blessed Be

  7. Windy Fayre said,

    Tealte, in my opinion you’re spot on. However, for me the crux of this issue does not hang on correct versus incorrect knowledge, or dispersal of same! It rests on what the vast majority are capable and willing to believe ~ its a basic principle of democracy, and its greatest weakness because all it is, is rule by the majority! I am also inclined to concur with you, on the idea that you’ve either got it or you don’t! Sadly, that’s not all nice and pink and fluffy or egalitarian! Neither does it have people running for their cheque books in the hope of a magical escape from the mundane majority! I loved your articles on the other site, beautifully crafted!

  8. Nicoletta said,

    Excellent post. I agree with every bit of it. Every word.

  9. Sheila Carter said,

    Ye have much to learn…!My ancestors left Belfast in 1815..yet I retain the abilities of a witch born in The Emerald Isle…I am The Lady In Whites Descendant…..

  10. noel mcclorey said,

    Well i gotta say that the article above doesnt mess around. Id be very interested in learning more as i have a good understanding of what u mean by its in you or its not. I live in meigh, south armagh and dnt knw anyone else whos interested in the craft. Id like to get educated in the ITWs ways

  11. noel mcclorey said,

    If anyone cud help me with getting in touch with people in my area my email is mcclooks138@gmail.com

  12. CB said,

    Is the ITW forum still in operation?

  13. CB said,

    Is anyone here a member of Gaol Naofa?

  14. TW said,

    CB: The fora went down about two years ago now. The community has moved elsewhere.

    As to Gaol Naofa: page 68 of their FAQ seems incompatible with the above. That said: I am not au fait with everyone in the community and their affiliations.

  15. crb2315 said,

    Thank you. Would it be possible to be reconnected with the community? I was a member of ITW, but many years ago I left all forums and on-line activity. I’ve resumed my ITW studies.

  16. TW said,

    Please click on the link attached to my initials to send a message via email. I shall pass your details on. If you could also reference any user name you had previously in the community, that would be helpful.

  17. crb2315 said,

    I clicked on your link and got a Google page. I couldn’t find an email link. Sorry to be a pain in the neck!

  18. Traditional Witch said,

    CRB: Are you able to send a message via the “hangout” function at Google+? Your email address is required, and posting it here, where is can be seen publicly is not ideal.

  19. crb2315 said,

    Thanks. I just gave it a whirl, so you ought to see a message now.

  20. Thea Bell said,

    I have also left you a message. Love the page. Thank you.

  21. imlosthere said,

    This post is very interesting, I have always had an interest in magic, folklore and Irelands traditions. I’m Irish and live here. I don’t know what I believe but I have always felt different… I have “deja vu” all the time but I don’t think its actually deja vu because I know thing days, weeks or sometimes months in advance, I just don’t know that I know them (if that makes sense). I have had a few occasions were I remember telling someone about the deja vu I have had, then I tell them a second and third time but the forth time I tell them is the only time I have actually told them the other 3 times never happened… I need help I don’t understand why tho is happening…

    P.S I also refer to myself as a “jinx” because when I say something I get a “feeling” and I know that its going to happen, i.e. A few days ago i said to someone that no one has broken anything in our house in a long while, then this feeling came over me and someone broke a sentimental glass today…

    Sorry for the long post i “vent” through writing and have looked everywhere for answers. I just hope you can help.

  22. Angela (Whelan) Harader said,

    I was not born in Ireland. My heritage is Irish…it touches my soul. I have questions…

  23. Kimberly Ashur said,

    I also was not born in Ireland, but I am full blooded. Since I was16 I have been drawn to Wicca and the Celtic from my heritage. Can’t seem to find any information on this that will help me to the truth about why I’m so obsessed with this without asking for $. You don’t have to be born there to know that you something are drawn to a unexplained need to know who and what you are.

  24. Traditional Witch said,

  25. William Woodell said,

    Thank you for telling the truth. Your site is the only one that has put the real truth out and I want to say keep up the good work. I’m a practicing celtic witch with magic from my ancestors that have shown me some of the basics of the craft. I will continue to work on my craft with reverence and respect for without those two things you should not even try.

  26. Amanda Winters said,

    hey great article.. I am of the belief that to be a witch is IN THE BLOOD… I come from a part of the world where a practitioner can be a buddhist for instance and be involved in a stew of occult activities.. That whole wiccan thing never sat right with me.

  27. Noel said,

    I am interested in learning more about Irish witchcraft as I have always been interested in the occult

  28. sherry said,

    I am, I want to learn, please talk with me

  29. Edward Colgan said,

    Greetings to you all, I am of Irish decent my father’s family came from County Derry in the city of London Derry and my mother’s family came from County Cork in the town of Cork City… I am going on 49 this year and I am just starting out on the traditional witchcraft path when I found your website. I would like to join you if you have room or if it’s something that I can learn from… Thank you for your time.. Blessings, Edward

  30. O. said,

    tealte, you can’t just tell people that they’re not their pride in their heritage is false or undeserved. Yes, exposure to culture definitely makes a difference, but you can’t take their pride from them. They feel that way for a reason. Would you tell a someone who was born in the U.S. but whose parents are from Korea that they’re not TRULY Korean? Honestly, I think the main reason so many people have so much disdain for Americans who are trying to explore their heritage comes from the idea that Americans, as a rule, are boorish, unsophisticated, and stupid, and therefore don’t deserve much respect.

  31. traditionalwitchinma said,

    I really enjoyed this blog. I’ve about had it with all the do it yourself nonsense out there that has done more harm than good, especially actual traditions. Glad that Traditional Irish witches very safely guard their craft. Too many people out there are prime examples of what is wrong with witchcraft today, and why it shouldn’t be for everyone.

  32. Ban Sìthe said,

    As mentioned in an earlier comment, If anyone is interested in finding out more, then consider joining the Irish Magic and Spirituality group on Facebook as a first step. As some of the members of the original Traditional Irish Witchcraft group can be found posting there, it may be you can make contact. At the very least, you can ask questions there as well.

  33. beirn said,

    Actually if someone is born in America to parents of Korean descent no they’re not korean they’re of korean descent. Just as the irish American. Bring part of the nationality “irish” or korean or french or chinese or whatever reauires more than just having parents who were born there. And there are many irish people who weren’t born here but live here and are irish – far more so than soneone who learns second hand about our nation.
    This doesn’t mean you can’t have pride in your heritage. It means you should be aware of a factual and practical difference between having irish parenrs or parents of irish descent and actually being Irish.
    We’re very tired of handholding on this issue. Itw has many valued members from outside ireland and they have enough respect to understand.

  34. beirn said,

    Excellent advice.

  35. Jeanne Reardon said,

    You sound snobby and condescending with the whole Irish born, Irish descent thing anyway, get over yourselves. Blood is blood no matter how watered down.

  36. seana said,

    I am interested in this but feel rather embarrassed to say I am. don’t know much bur I am kean to learn.

  37. NUADA said,

    Looking for information?

  38. Nádia Cianelli said,

    Good nigth. I’m brazillian and my english is worst, so Sorry for this. I’m writing about Irish Tradicionals Witchcraft.
    Recently, I have contact with someone who said that had study Witchcraft in Ireland, with Margareth O’Neill, in a Chritian-celtic Tradicionen.
    This Tradicionen really exist?
    Thank you for all.
    Nadia Cianelli

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