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What is a Hedge Witch?

This definition no longer works for me, i do not work in this manner any longer. however it has helped many people so here it remains.

In the past three years or so there has been a huge surge of interest in in Hedge Witchery. A lot of this I accredit to Ann Moure's Green Witchcraft series. I will say her books are good,however they do not reflect the path of a hedge witch, in my opinion.

However, it can be said that if you ask five different hedge witches what a hedge witch is, you may get a dozen different answers (maybe even a dozen per witch!)So what fallows is this little witches humble opinion of a hedge witch.

What fallows is a "working" definition, meaning it is not static. Each turn of the Wheel I learn and change and as I do so my definition changes. So what follows is the definition I am currently working with.

A hedge witch is very much a free spirit. Hedge witches are also related to the village witches of old. The term, hedge witch, comes from the fact that your average European village, in time gone by, was surrounded by a hedge or woods. Beyond that hedge was unknown land, beyond their known perception... i.e. the Other World. The village witches of this era usually lived just beyond or just before this hedge. The hedge was a metaphor for some one who practiced shamanic arts, a walker between the worlds.

This term didn't mean just that though. It also denoted that said witch was an herb worker, a healer,because they spent much time in the hedge looking for the herbs necessary to heal or enchant. So now you know where the term came from, but what dose a hedge witch do?

A hedge witch would have learned their trade or craft by word of mouth. More than likely they would have learned it from a family member or the former village witch. Once the person left, they would be on their own. So they would have been taught ways to learn from nature such as listening to the winds or watching cloud formations. They would have celebrated the sabbats by the change of the seasons and not by a date on a calender. More than likely they would have other Holy days besides the sabbats.

They may or may not have worshiped gods.But I digress, this is a definition not a history lesson. Hedge witches all view the divine differently. Personally I worship a God and a Goddess. I feel they are the parents of all life.

Hedge witches are shamans, charmers, healers, and, priest/esses, Rea Beth coined a great term Hedge Mystic. A person who studies and practices the Great Mysteries of Naure.

Hedge craft is a very eclectic path. Mostly because it depends on each witch how it is practiced. Most hedge witches, my self included, are very ethical people. Most do not follow any one Rede as wiccans do. They usually have basic lines they, individually, will not cross. For most, such things are very privet, I am no exception.

Hedge witchery also has another common thread; that magic isn't just about spells and potions, it is in your morning coffee, a gentle touch from your lover, the complex beauty of a leaf, and in hundreds of thousands of other seemingly "mundane" things.

Ti represented this concept i use they phrase "Life is magic, and magic is life"

Another commonly accepted theme is practicality and simplicity. Hedge witches are a very practical group of people, and from that practicality comes simplicity. I think in that simplicity, away from the athames, the penticals, and silver plated chalices; we are able to connect more fully to the natural forces. All to often people get lost in the symbols and forget their meanings.

I know a lot of pagans, when investigating a new path, want to know what toys..errr.. tools a tradition uses. In keeping with the hedge witch way, hedge witches use a variety of tools, most of them bases in practicality and usefulness.

My personal tool set consists of: a humble clay chalice,a sharp knife,a walking stick, and a stone. These tools i consecrated by earth(I buried each tool for a day), air(I left them out above ground, hung in a tree),fire (I held each in a flame....for as long as the materials aloud), water(I submerged each in a creek) and for spirit i asked the blessings of the Gods and Faeries upon them.

Some of you may not know what a Stang is. A stang is a staff with a fork at the top. It usually is planted in the ground and is used as a vertical alter. It is commonly used in traditional witchcraft, it represents the Horned God and is used at the northern gate.

Personally I didn't like the vertical format of the stang (yes,I did try it before making this decision) so I don't use one.

So now you know my definition of a hedge witch. Fo further reading pick up the fallowing books or go to the other hedge witch sites I used for research:

A witch Alone by Marion Green
Wild witchcraft by Marion Green
Natural witchcraft by marion green
Hedge witch by Rea Beth
Hedge Witch's Way by Rea Beth
Natural magick by Doreen Valiente
A Floral Grimoire by Patricia Telesco
Green Witchcraft I,II,II by Ann Moure
The Rebirth of Witchcraft by Doreen Valiente and John Evan

also visit the fallowing sites: Rea Beth's website
Realm of the Hedgewitch

if you live in the UK here are some hedge witch courses
House Shadowdrakes definition

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