I tend to wax a bit philosophical at times over topics in Ars Magica. Of late I have been trying to untangle the concept of The Gift.
To be a Hermetic magus one must have The Gift. The Gift, we are told in the section on apprentices, tends to manifest itself fairly young and shows through unusual sparks of intelligence and curiosity (thus presumably there are few, if any, magi with negative Intelligence). On top of this, The Gift makes one's social life ... limited.
Then again, several Supernatural Abilities are tied to The Gift. Still, many people who manifest these abilities do not necessarily have either the social restrictions or the intelligence.
There are hints at the notion of hedge practitioners, possibly with a stunted or limited version of The Gift, or simply an underdeveloped version.
So, what is The Gift to your mind? Is it restricted to Hermetic magic, or are there other avenues for its use. Would one need to have The Gift, for example, to practice some of the new Abilities found in RoP: D? Is The Gift only Magical in manifestation, rather than belonging to other Realms? Does everyone who possesses The Gift also have the social stigma, or is that a version of The Gift that only applies to Hermetic Magic?
Enquiring minds want to know!