Friday, November 30, 2012

Hedgewitch

 

What is a Hedgewitch?


A “Hedge witch” (or more often “Hedgewitch”) is someone who does solitary magic focused on nature and its aspects. Hedgecraft is possibly based on traditional European witchcraft, though it is more likely to be a more modern tradition. There is some dispute about the history of Hedgecraft, as with nearly all magical traditions. In general, however, Hedgecraft is believed to be based loosely on the ancient practices of folk healers, herbalists, and wise women/men, as well as the traditions of herbalism and shamanic practices. A Hedgewitch, as well as working with herbs and plants, frequently travels into the spiritual world, functioning as seer, guide to spirits, and healer.

There are no specific gods or goddesses that Hedgewitches worship, though some books, such as Rae Beth’s “Hedge Witch – a guide to Solitary Witchcraft” says that Hedgewitches worship the Triple Goddess and Horned God, as Wiccans do. There are many similarities between Hedgecraft and Wicca, including the emphasis on nature and healing, but Hedgecraft is more solitary and less rigidly structured than Wicca. Hedgewitches do not have covens or initiations, as Wiccans do. Hedgewitches do not use the same tools as Wiccans, nor do they have ceremonies. And it is important to note that while some Wiccans may be Hedgewitchs, not all Hedgewitchs are Wiccans.

Likewise, some Hedgewitches do not even consider themselves to be witches in the traditional sense, preferring to be called something else, like wisewoman or herbalist. Hegdewitchs are also known as Hedge-Riders, Night Travelers, Myrk-Riders, Gandreidh and Walkers on the Wind. A possible history behind the name “Hedgewitch” is that a hedge was a physical barrier between a village and the wild forest; it represented the boundary between worlds. A Hedgewitch, then, is someone who passes between one world and the next, riding the line between them. Some related traditions are Green witchcraft and Hearth witchcraft, which also focus on nature and using herbs and plants for magical doings.
 

Hedgecraft & Herbalism

These two Ancient healing arts compliment each other, both in methodology and orgin. They both rely on nature, specifically plants and sound vibrations for healing. In ancient times individuals that practiced Hedgecraft and Herbalism were revered, and often sought after for medical, and spiritual relief. Names given to such a practicioner would be Shaman, Medicine Man, Mystic Healer, Witch, Wizard, and/or Wise Man/Woman. One who practices Hedgecraft today is known as a Hedgewitch, and one who practices Herbalism is called an Herbalist.
 
Hedge is often thought of as the ‘edge’ or border of something, which is proper for the practice, due to the fact that the “Hedger” will be using eclectic means to heal, which are beyond the normal boundaries of western medicine. For instance one of the methods of the Hedgewitch would be a constant drumming that induces altered states that are required for the healing, which can sometimes open the door as to speak to other realms or possibilities beyond the Hedge or borderline of reality, which is known as “crossing the Hedge.” This type of magical healing also has an earth based center through Herbalism, Which is another reason why they both compliment each other. The shaman based Hedgecraft can take you to new heights spiritually and renew life force energy.
 
Herbalism can help cleanse your bodies system and help ground you in preparation, during, and after a Hedgewitch has worked on you. Guided by the spirits of nature most Hedgewitches choose to use Herbalism in their practice, but not all will choose that path. Others choose to use mostly energy and symbols such as used in Reiki. The adept Hedgewitch would probably agree that Herbalism is essential to energy practice, and the Hedger choosing against it, is definitely missing out. Plants in their own rite have been of use to mankind in the healing arts. A good Hedger will know plants so well they can spot a species in the wild. Sadly today there is a stigma on the word “witch” so there are not many men involved in the movement. Some things die hard, yet we have come a long way from burning witches at the stake!

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