A Hereditary Witch's Roots


Bearing the Mark of the Devil

Within blood that seethes with fire, there is a thickening of root beneath my flesh. It contorts itself, calling out to the witches that bled before—my mothers who burned, swallowed the dark whole and resurrected themselves from their own ashes. These women have sewn their witchcraft and ravenous thirst into the heart of my ribcage and it has been purging wildly since birth. 

It is said that the witches within my bloodline carry the mark of the Devil and since the Dark Ages we have laid down willingly for him upon hallowed ground as red salvia and flesh-eating plants rose from black soil to clasp our bodies, calling our spirits to the hot swallow below. As mistresses of the Devil, my foremothers have walked in the shadows for centuries, feeding human mouths and the dirt of the earth with fervor and passion. They were lusted after because of their feral and provocative nature and were called upon in secret for their ability to harness immense power through their spellwork.

It was a common practice of my predecessors to nurture their bond with the Devil through the art of ritual in which they would put one hand on the crown of the head and the other to the sole of the foot while they offered all of the body existing in-between to him. According to the historic written accounts of my ancestors, during an initiation ceremony, a witch would sign her name in Satan’s black book and would then be marked with a cut on the shoulder. The blood would be sucked from the wound by the Devil himself and spat back out into his hand and he would follow this by dripping it upon the witch’s head, baptizing her in his own name. Throughout these sacred ceremonies and practice of the craft, my witch relatives would embrace the Devil as a spirit lover, consummating with him as a form of worship. 

Though the witches within my bloodline were born to harness the intensity that is the dark, it is through this sacred source that we are able to transform and manipulate everything we touch. We are natural born healers, particularly skilled in exorcising illness, relying on our bond with the Devil to do so as he leads us through our spellwork. We are known for forming relationships with spirits to manifest our desires and are also gifted in performing the art of blood and sex magic. Necromancy has been our primary form of divination for centuries.

It is a common misconception that the witches within my family strive to summon evil. It has only been our nature to create a crucial balance within the cosmos through the use of our craft and at times this may mean getting our hands dirty, but our talent for conducting dark ritual and seeking justice and liberation must not be misconstrued to mean that we partake in performing heinous acts such as murder. It is in our blood to long to venture into the blackest corridors, as this is our way of harnessing divine power and the treasure of hidden knowledge. We are bold, unafraid and will come for those that have harmed us through the art of hexing, but we are also capable of crafting strong spells to help others achieve their own ambitions. In the past, my ancestors were deeply respected in secret for their magical abilities and were often sought out by women and men alike who had a yearning for something more. 

My bloodline’s intimate bond with the Devil is congenital, as if he had claimed us long before we were born into our flesh cages, but our intrinsic desire to work with him comes from our craving for sexual liberation and longing to awaken the power within ourselves. The Devil encourages us to embrace our sexuality and renounce any sense of shame. He has offered us immense pleasure and dominance during times of the oppression and degradation of women. While working with him, we have crafted ourselves into forces that do not bend to authority and we assert our right to exercise free will, especially when it comes to our magic. I am proud to be a descendant of a lineage that represents liberation and exploration of the divine self.

As a modern-day hereditary blood witch, carrying on the practices of my relatives is essential for my survival. Though I am often persecuted for my bloodline’s traditions and our unique practice of the craft, I find strength and release in using my poetic voice to unveil this part of myself without shame.

Poetry is an art form that not only allows us to express our true selves, but it can also be used in witchcraft as incantations to speak during ritual. I have found poetry to be a very powerful tool when it comes to the act of summoning, as it is birthed from the deepest part of my soul and nothing is more intimate than this. The art of crafting poetry is tremendously personal and the catharsis that is bred from writing can be offered as a sacrifice to the gods. When we access this divine fragment of ourselves while performing spellwork, we reap great reward. Sometimes, our words spill gems from within our souls that we did not know existed.

Since I have found my voice, I am beginning to understand the importance of using it to speak out about my practice of the craft and my heritage. I feel an obligation to help those who are called to dark witchcraft to let go of their fears and embrace themselves for who they are whilst doing so fearlessly but carefully and with proper guidance. The dark offers many gifts to those who are daring enough to lurk through its dwelling.

All witches are sacred and essential for the thriving of the universe. Each practitioner offers a unique skill to help promote the cycle of life, death, nature and spirit. For some of us, it is our calling to form a bond with the shadows. It is in our nature to explore fiery, uncharted territories and dance with the Devil—for this is how we heal; this is how we are resurrected and allow ourselves to flourish.

Effy Winter is a hereditary blood witch and descendant of the Queen of Scottish Witches. She carries on the traditions and spellwork of her witch mothers, primarily working with the Devil throughout her practice of the craft. In her spare time, Effy works as a writer for various literary publications. She is the author of Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019), a collection of poetry stirred by romance and dark witchcraft.