This is probably a very dumb question but do traditional witches have some special kind of powers/gifts other witches don't have? All the things you talk about give an impression traditional path is a lot more genuine than modern one and makes a lot of things possible that modern does not. It's like when you're trad witch some real door opens for you. Is this impression right?
This isn’t a dumb question at all. In fact, it’s a very good one in starting a discussion on a few different topics.
Do we have powers or gifts that others don’t? I can’t say that. I can’t speak for all traditional witches, and I can’t speak for witches on a non-traditional path.
Our beliefs on power differ majorly, though. The way that we approach is the same way that it was approached throughout history, up until the New Age movement.
The way that I was taught, all people have the ability to perform magic to some extant. They can make folk charms, use divination, and call up spirits. However, to do the things that witches were known for, the big or supernatural things in folklore, power had to be attained.
Many traditional witches see their spirits as being a source of both tradition and power. Power flows from the spirits into the witches who hold the tradition. They build relationships with spirits to gain more.
Some traditions hold that witches may sacrifice their own power by giving it to another. Some traditions hold that spirits will seek out those with innate power and help them develop it.
That is not to say that once power is acquired, it’s one and done. It must be fostered, developed, and grown. Now that they have it, they have to learn how to use it.
The rite of Initiation, which is supernatural and spirit driven, changes the person into a witch, bestowing onto them power.
This rite is not a selling of the soul, as many believe.
As modern witchcraft traditions developed, they broke farther away from early definitions and ideas, including this one. It even changed the idea of what witchcraft was. Some saw it as a way to worship certain gods, to meditate, to find connection, to control their own emotions, etc. This all came from the marriage of witchcraft beliefs and the New Age movement. It’s no great surprise that the idea of powers left, because so many no longer saw it, or see it for that matter, as the force it was once thought to be.
Your ask also involves the point of finding one’s own path. You said that it seemed more genuine than other modern kinds. I saw the same thing. It was what I was doing, what I wanted to do, all along. Others, however, look at it and do not see it as genuine. It isn’t their path to tread. That’s perfectly normal.
I think that a lot of traditional witches shoot for goals that most modern witches would think ridiculous, fake, or ‘hollywood’. Whether it’s us alone who have the ability to achieve those things, I can’t say. We have kept secret ways and know-hows to those things for a while.
When I finally found what I was looking for, a real door did open. But that was for me. It won’t be for everyone. The ideas of powers, witchcraft, etc. are all a difference in perspective.