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In some Wiccan traditions, you may hear use of the word “lineage.” This is a term that became popular thanks to the Gardnerian tradition, and its meaning is fairly simple in Pagan groups that require initiation. Much like out biological ancestry, lineage refers to our initiatory ancestry.

Lineage is the term used to describe who initiated you, and who initiated that person, and who initiated the person before them.

If you’re part of a tradition in which lineage is important, then you might keep records as to your lineage. It might be something as basic as a certificate reading, “Willow was initiated by HPs Raven, who was initiated by HP Lord Apollonius, who was initiated by HPs and Founder Lady Whitewing.”

While lineage is not of importance to some traditions, in those that count it, it is extremely valuable. It allows verification of training and acknowledgement of studies. For example, if someone says, “I am a 3rd Degree High Priest of Such-and-Such Tradition,” it’s considered perfectly acceptable for someone else of Such-and-Such Tradition to say, “Really? What’s your lineage?” This basically prevents people from claiming a magical heritage that they are not entitled to claim. The general understanding is that those who have a lineage to claim must always provide it to another member of their tradition who requests it.

Typically, those with lineage are under no obligation to reveal their information to people outside of their tradition.

In general, while the matter of lineage is often found in traditional Wiccan groups, it’s not as commonly used in NeoWicca or other Pagan paths.


Pronunciation: LIN-ee-edge

Examples: Willow traces her magical lineage back to the founder of her tradition, who initiated her High Priestess.