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Author Topic: What's a hedgewitch?  (Read 14861 times)
Waldfrau
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« Topic Start: June 01, 2008, 04:47:58 am »

I've seen this term in several user profiles, but are not sure what it means exactly.

1) What are the characteristics of hedgewitchery/hedgewitchcraft?

2) What makes a witch a hedgewitch? Does it involve some sort of dedication to become a hedgewitch or is a witch who works in a specific way automatically a hedgewitch?

3) Would you define hedgewitchery as a specific from of 'low magic' or do you also see it as spiritual or religious? In what way?
  • If so can it be a path of its own or is it just a facultative addition to certain other paths?
  • Then which paths have hedgewitch-leanings or are hedgewitch-friendly and which would exclude it?
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corycatstar
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« Reply #1: June 01, 2008, 10:13:53 am »

I've seen this term in several user profiles, but are not sure what it means exactly.

1) What are the characteristics of hedgewitchery/hedgewitchcraft?

2) What makes a witch a hedgewitch? Does it involve some sort of dedication to become a hedgewitch or is a witch who works in a specific way automatically a hedgewitch?

3) Would you define hedgewitchery as a specific from of 'low magic' or do you also see it as spiritual or religious? In what way?
  • If so can it be a path of its own or is it just a facultative addition to certain other paths?
  • Then which paths have hedgewitch-leanings or are hedgewitch-friendly and which would exclude it?
What is a hedgewitch? my understanding and observation and ones I have know, is most are solitary, kind of a kitchen witch, uses and knows herbs,they are sort of like if not like the eclectics or what I believe myself,the ones I have met do not follow any particular path like wicca, and do not believe in high or low magic. They are more connected with nature and spirtuality and solitary
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Corycatstar
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« Reply #2: June 01, 2008, 11:29:49 am »

I've seen this term in several user profiles, but are not sure what it means exactly.

1) What are the characteristics of hedgewitchery/hedgewitchcraft?

2) What makes a witch a hedgewitch? Does it involve some sort of dedication to become a hedgewitch or is a witch who works in a specific way automatically a hedgewitch?

3) Would you define hedgewitchery as a specific from of 'low magic' or do you also see it as spiritual or religious? In what way?
  • If so can it be a path of its own or is it just a facultative addition to certain other paths?
  • Then which paths have hedgewitch-leanings or are hedgewitch-friendly and which would exclude it?

My impressions, as someone who's developing some hedgewitchy leanings, are fairly similar to that of corycatstar.  I've never heard "hedgewitchery" referred to as a formal path, but more as a collection of practices and attitudes.  (That's not to say someone couldn't create a formal path and call it "Hedgewitchery" -- maybe somebody's already done so -- but the general, lowercase-h connotation is, IME, much more casual.)

My general sense of hedgewitchery is that it's more specifically about magic than any particular religious practice; the self-identified hedgewitches I've met have tended to be Wiccish/religious witchcraft-y in religion,  but since the key word in "hedgewitchery" is "witch," than theoretically anyone of any religious leaning could practice it.

As for the actual practices and attitudes, the term strongly implies a connection to Western European folk magic traditions, specifically English -- "hedge" for "hedgerows."  Like Corycatstar said, solitary, kitchen witch-y, good with herbs.  There's also, to my mind, a sense of community service -- hedgerows are cultivated land, not lonely mountain wastes, so some connection with the surrounding community seems to be implied.  There's also  sense of "making do" with what's on hand, rather than hunting up rare ingredients -- what you can find in the hedges, rather than from exotic shops, etc.   
       
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Prickle
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« Reply #3: June 01, 2008, 01:39:42 pm »

I've seen this term in several user profiles, but are not sure what it means exactly.

1) What are the characteristics of hedgewitchery/hedgewitchcraft?

2) What makes a witch a hedgewitch? Does it involve some sort of dedication to become a hedgewitch or is a witch who works in a specific way automatically a hedgewitch?

3) Would you define hedgewitchery as a specific from of 'low magic' or do you also see it as spiritual or religious? In what way?
  • If so can it be a path of its own or is it just a facultative addition to certain other paths?
  • Then which paths have hedgewitch-leanings or are hedgewitch-friendly and which would exclude it?

There is a path called Hedgewitchery detailed in a couple books by a woman named Rae Beth. I haven't read them so I'm not sure what's in them.

I consider myself to be a hedgewitch. These are my own conclusions and may not be shared with others.

Someone who gains many of their working materials from things foraged or scavenged, works with liminal spaces and uses some shamanic like trance work is probably a hedgewitch.

A hedgewitch is someone who uses the things found in "the hedge" which is a term that can be used literally or figurally.

The hedge is a boundary between one type of place and another which makes it a liminal space. Liminal spaces/times are places that are neither here nor there but both at the same time. They're betwixt and between.

Like a front doorway - it's neither fully inside or fully outside, it's both at the same time.

The literal hedge is the boundary marker between civilised spaces like a town and wild spaces like the forest.

Hedegrows have an abundance of wildlife and wild fruits/herbs, etc. that are, or were in the past, common spaces where anyone could forage. The hedgewitch was someone who made use of these free scavanged items.

The figural hedge is the boundary between this world and the otherworld. The hedgewitch has one foot in each and travels to the other side through journeying, a trancelike out of body experience.

There is no religion involved in the practice itself. The individual hedgewitch may have religeous convictions . . . or not (I suppose depending on what they find on the other side Smiley )

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Waldfrau
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« Reply #4: June 01, 2008, 02:29:50 pm »

Your descriptions sounds a lot of what I've heard about the old German word 'hagazussa' meaning 'hedge sitter/rider' which evolved into the German word for witch 'Hexe'.

Maybe Tana can elaborate more on the hagazussa-stuff. I also don't know if it's often used in Neopaganism.
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« Reply #5: June 01, 2008, 03:08:21 pm »

Your descriptions sounds a lot of what I've heard about the old German word 'hagazussa' meaning 'hedge sitter/rider' which evolved into the German word for witch 'Hexe'.

Maybe Tana can elaborate more on the hagazussa-stuff. I also don't know if it's often used in Neopaganism.

I think you're right and that the terms may be related. It also seems to be  related to OE haegtesse, hedge woman, that came to mean witch.

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Waldfrau
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« Reply #6: June 01, 2008, 03:17:47 pm »

I think you're right and that the terms may be related. It also seems to be  related to OE haegtesse, hedge woman, that came to mean witch.
There's also 'hag'.  Cheesy
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« Reply #7: June 01, 2008, 03:22:39 pm »

There's also 'hag'.  Cheesy

Yeppers!
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« Reply #8: June 01, 2008, 05:01:23 pm »

I've seen this term in several user profiles, but are not sure what it means exactly.

1) What are the characteristics of hedgewitchery/hedgewitchcraft?

2) What makes a witch a hedgewitch? Does it involve some sort of dedication to become a hedgewitch or is a witch who works in a specific way automatically a hedgewitch?

3) Would you define hedgewitchery as a specific from of 'low magic' or do you also see it as spiritual or religious? In what way?
  • If so can it be a path of its own or is it just a facultative addition to certain other paths?
  • Then which paths have hedgewitch-leanings or are hedgewitch-friendly and which would exclude it?

I self-identify as a hedgewitch. I suppose, to put it extremely simply, it is just a form of solitary witchcraft. I know somebody has already mentioned this book, but Rae Beth's 'Hedgewitch' is an absolutely great book about it IMO.

A hedgewitch is similar to that of a cottage witch- meaning that the  magic practiced does not have to be formal and/or doesn't take place during ritual. I myself as a hedgewitch have always found that the ritual circle isn't necessarily needed in order to connect spiritually or astrally to the energies of the planet, and also the Gods. Hedgewitches make use of natural things in their practice of magic, such as herbs, spices and flowers. Modern hedgewitches tend to compare themselves to the ancient concept of the village 'wisewoman' or 'wiseman'.

To be honest, a Hedgewitch is very much like a cottage witch or a kitchen witch, but to me the term hedgewitch includes the spiritual practices involved in this path, as well as just the natural magic undertaken by a cottage or kitchen witch. I don't know why I have always thought this way. Perhaps it is in fact because of Rae Beth's book. Her book actually wasn't meant to be a book- it was a collection of letters she wrote to a friend in order to teach them about hedgewitchery. They were later published. In these letters Rae Beth talks not only of natural magic, but the importance of the seasons (thus, it is a path heavily influenced by nature) and easy and simple rituals in order to honour the Gods (predominantly the Wiccan-ish type Gods of the Goddess and the Horned God).

On my bookself I have not only this book, but a book by Kate West called 'The Real Witch's Kitchen' and a book by Ellen Dugan called 'Cottage Witchery'. I find all three of these books extremely useful for my path.

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« Reply #9: June 01, 2008, 05:03:14 pm »

There's also, to my mind, a sense of community service -- hedgerows are cultivated land, not lonely mountain wastes, so some connection with the surrounding community seems to be implied.  There's also  sense of "making do" with what's on hand, rather than hunting up rare ingredients -- what you can find in the hedges, rather than from exotic shops, etc.     

Yes! I love the way you have analysed this  Smiley
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'How she longed for winter then!-
Scrupulously austere in its order
Of white and black
Ice and rock; each sentiment within border,
And heart's frosty discipline
Exact as a snowflake'
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« Reply #10: June 02, 2008, 02:40:07 am »

Rae Beth's 'Hedgewitch' is an absolutely great book about it IMO.
I just ordered it. Smiley (It's spelled 'Hedge Witch' if anyone else is going to look for it.) As Prickle mentioned she has also written 3 follow-up books and when I entered 'Hedge Witch' into amazon I even got a title by SRW (which I didn't order.  Cheesy )
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« Reply #11: June 02, 2008, 03:18:56 am »

I just ordered it. Smiley (It's spelled 'Hedge Witch' if anyone else is going to look for it.) As Prickle mentioned she has also written 3 follow-up books and when I entered 'Hedge Witch' into amazon I even got a title by SRW (which I didn't order.  Cheesy )

Tsk Tsk, passing up on Mama Silver...
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« Reply #12: June 02, 2008, 08:21:57 am »

I've seen this term in several user profiles, but are not sure what it means exactly.

1) What are the characteristics of hedgewitchery/hedgewitchcraft?

2) What makes a witch a hedgewitch? Does it involve some sort of dedication to become a hedgewitch or is a witch who works in a specific way automatically a hedgewitch?

3) Would you define hedgewitchery as a specific from of 'low magic' or do you also see it as spiritual or religious? In what way?
  • If so can it be a path of its own or is it just a facultative addition to certain other paths?
  • Then which paths have hedgewitch-leanings or are hedgewitch-friendly and which would exclude it?

Hedgewitchcraft is difficult to define because of its fluid nature and everyone who practices it could give you a different definition personal to themselves. I would be weary of Rae Beth, her Hedgecraft is her own and it's heavily "Wiccanized". It is not representational of Traditional Hedgewitchcraft, which is in line with Traditional Witchcraft practices -- it's also a branch of Traditional Witchcraft.

Hedgewitches tend to utilize shamanic techniques, like working with spirit guides and communicating with the spirits of the land or gods. They are usually hard polytheists working with gods worshiped in Britain at some point, they would often be chthonic deities, (characteristically these would be Roman, Celtic and Germanic -- of course this is not prescriptive as no one can control whom they are tapped on the shoulder by!).

In terms of practice, learning from the land and it's spirits (and ones guides) is the primary basis of this path, and as others have said, working with what is to hand rather than ceremonial tools. Hedgies only perform low or folk magic but may or may not cast a compass (the Traditional Witchcraft version of the 'Wiccan circle'). Hedgewitches also use 'flying ointments' (hallucinogenic herbs) to take flight to the witches Sabbat of folklore, there's a great deal of Hedgewitchery is learning to live with one foot in middle earth and one in the Otherworlds. Not all Hedgewitches do this via poisonous herbs but by entering altered states via drumming etc.

A lot of them are solitary by nature rather than necessity, but some do work in groups! Hedgewitchery does not equal solitary (which is what some people think it exclusively means).

Hedgewitches also tend to be pantheists as well as animists and hard polytheists.
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« Reply #13: June 02, 2008, 08:23:52 am »

Hedgewitchcraft is difficult to define because of its fluid nature and everyone who practices it could give you a different definition personal to themselves. I would be weary of Rae Beth, her Hedgecraft is her own and it's heavily "Wiccanized". It is not representational of Traditional Hedgewitchcraft, which is in line with Traditional Witchcraft practices -- it's also a branch of Traditional Witchcraft.

I forgot to add that Hedgewitchery refers to 'crossing the hedge', as in crossing to the Otherworlds.
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Waldfrau
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« Reply #14: June 02, 2008, 10:32:14 am »

I would be weary of Rae Beth, her Hedgecraft is her own and it's heavily "Wiccanized". It is not representational of Traditional Hedgewitchcraft, which is in line with Traditional Witchcraft practices -- it's also a branch of Traditional Witchcraft.
Could someone shortly explain the difference between 'Traditional Witchcraft' and 'Wicca' or point me to any sources where I can look it up?

Is 'Traditional Witchcraft' a tradition like Wicca, being founded by someone (or a group of people) with specific practices or does it go back to any specific sources? So is 'Traditional Witchcraft' orthoprax or is it just a label for different magic practices which share some characteristics like working with spirits (but not prescribing how you work with spirits)?
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