Introduction to Hedge-witchery
Hi, as the title of this article states, it will merely be an introduction to hedge-witchery. Hedge-witchery will not be discussed as a whole here.
History of hedge-witchery
The word hedge witch is a direct translation from the Saxon word 'haegtessa' which means hedge-rider. Now many people seem to think that the "hedge" in hedge witch means a 'fence' of plants and forrests. This is not what is meant. In those days wise women or healers lived inside a forrest or just before a forrest. Forrests were considered the "unknown" because they contained all the spirirts and creatures in them. Thus it was meant that the witch or hedge witch is on the border of both worlds(Physical realm and the realm of the Fae, the mythical creatures, etc.). Hedge witches were said to be able to communicate and interact with both worlds.
Hedge witches would enter a trance by either hallucinogens, meditation, dancing, chanting. When they enter this trance they are able to communicate with the spirirts and other beings, where they would obtain information from. When they go about entering this trance, it was called "hedge riding" simply meaning travelling in the other world.
They would then use this information to heal others or become closer to nature and make brews or potions. Hedge witches generally practiced shamanism and herbalism. They knew about nature, the cycles of nature, the moon phases, etc.
What is Hedge-witchery?
Hedge witchery can't really be defined to merely one definition or explanation. This is because every hedge witch has about 10 or so different definitions of what a hedge witch is. No 2 hedge witches are ever the same. So we can't say this is what a hedge witch is, we can merely look at general characteristics of hedge witches an call all their practices hedge witchery. Below I have taken a brief look into some of their characteristics, that might help clarify what a hedge witch is.
Some characteristics of Hedge witches
Hedge witches generally practice forms of natural magick. Their spells are ususally very simple and focus on intent and the elements. This is a serious contrast to our set ceremonies, where we have to cast the circle, invoke the elemtns, the appropriate deities, etc.
Hedge witches are usually solitary. In the olden days there was just 1 hedge witch per town. And that hedge witch either gave the information to a daughter or someone within the town to take over her place and her wisdom.
Hedge witches Don't conform to the Wiccan Rede. This being said they don't just do anything they want either. Each hedge witch has a certain set of morals and values and they don't break or go against their values even if their lives depended on them.
Hedge withcery isn't a practice that is quick to learn. It takes years, it takes a great amount of practice in a particular way. Even on particuar nights or times.
Hedge witches may or may not worship/work with deities. Most generally only work with nature and the elements, but there are a few hedge witches who do worship/work with deities.
Hedge witches are free spirirts, and generally practice shamanic arts
Hedge witches have a great amount of knowledge about nature and herbs. Most are healers or herb workers as well.
Hedge craft or hedge witchery is very eclectic. Each hedge witch does as he/she feels. They all have different methods, different opinions, etc
Hedge witches are practical. They don't generally have giant beautifully arranged altars, and they don't necessarily use athames, wands etc. They work with nature and their hands. Now and then a tool is used, but not very often, and only if it is useful to them. They are practical and simple.
Hedge Witch - Silver Ravenwolf
A witch Alone - Marion Green
Wild witchcraft - Marion Green
Natural witchcraft - Marion green
Hedge witch - Rea Beth
Hedge Witch's Way - Rea Beth
Natural magick - Doreen Valiente
A Floral Grimoire - Patricia Telesco
Green Witchcraft I,II,III - Ann Moure
The Rebirth of Witchcraft - Doreen Valiente and John Evan
Hedgecraft - Draig Tiernan
This will be all for this article, I hope you liked it and Blessed Be!