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Hedge Witchcraft?

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#1 Moondark

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 04:25 PM

Hello everyone.

 

I've been reading about hedgecraft for a good three or so months, now, or at least attempting to read. My only available source is the internet, and websites on witchcraft can be...dubious to say the least, let alone when informing on specific paths. I did dig into this forum on the subject, but the threads here on it are limited.

 

The only things I've been able to distinguish on hedgecraft so far are(and correct me if I'm wrong!) that it is a semi-Shamanic form of witchcraft and focuses mainly on 'hedge-crossing', evidently a form of astral projection, into the Otherworld/Underworld/Weird/et cetera. Potent ingredients are used in flying ointments(which I've experimented with...) to induce trances, as are other techniques such as meditation.

 

Hedgecraft seems to be often mistaken for a synonym to Green Witchcraft and Kitchen Witchcraft.

 

From what I've read, crossing the hedge is downright terrifying and not for the faint of heart.

 

I've drawn a few connections between hedge witchery and the diabolic witchcraft of the Inquisition(ex. flying ointments, casting out the spirit, consorting with demons, etc.)

 

I'm unclear on who the original practitioners of Hedgecraft were; I'm guessing Anglo-Saxon, seeing as that's where the term originated("haegtessa".) However, I suspect the practice evolved over time with the invasion of the Romans into Britain and the later Christianization of Europe.

 

Is anyone willing to share some information about this path? Things I'm especially curious about are the roles of divinity in hedgecraft(if any), if there are roles, what deities are most common, potential ethical codes(I've read "know thyself" is popular), the cultural context it was practiced in and how it survives today.

 

Any information would be helpful! Thanks in advance :)

 

I tried to post this thread once a few days ago, but either my internet failed me or an admin took it down for whatever reason. Please forgive any mistakes! I'm still trying to get the hang of this forum.

 


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#2 Jevne

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 09:10 PM

I bumped a related thread for you.

 

Edited to add:  Most of the discussions about Hedge Craft are private, so I am interested in hearing what people are willing to say publicly.  We have a couple of very experienced Hedge Witches, who frequent the Forum.

 

:D


Edited by Jevne, 07 October 2013 - 10:47 PM.

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#3 Moondark

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Posted 07 October 2013 - 11:19 PM

I bumped a related thread for you.

 

Edited to add:  Most of the discussions about Hedge Craft are private, so I am interested in hearing what people are willing to say publicly.  We have a couple of very experienced Hedge Witches, who frequent the Forum.

 

:biggrin:

 

Thank you! That clarifies the distinction from Shamanism a good bit. 


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#4 Willau

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 01:47 AM

I can't imagin why being of Hedge craft would be so private. Anyone of us has the ability to travel amongst the dimensional realities. It's about awareness of understanding that this "here & now" reality, is just a particle of our whole existance.

 

Terrifying....no. ;)


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#5 Jevne

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 01:53 AM

I can't imagin why being of Hedge craft would be so private. Anyone of us has the ability to travel amongst the dimensional realities. It's about awareness of understanding that this "here & now" reality, is just a particle of our whole existance.

 

Terrifying....no. :wink:

 

Many real Hedge Witches and/or Shamans use dangerous psychotropic substances, both natural and otherwise, to actually travel.  Terrifying . . . can be. ;)


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#6 Stacey

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 02:46 AM

I practice Hedgecraft but it is not a complete separate entity from my green path either as I do practice a path that melds both hedge and green witchraft. It can be confused with Green Witchcraft because on some level there are similarities, as there is with it being somewhat shamanic in nature. There does seem to be confusion on what hedgecraft actually is and far too much emphasis on just the 'crossing' part. There are some hedgewitches on here who will probably disagree with my interpretation  or how I practice but I find it an individual path. I have to say right up, that the books by Rae Beth and Silver Ravenwolf don't represent hedgecraft as I understand it, their take, to my mind, is completely Wiccan.
 
I work with entheogenic herbs, mostly mandrake and wormwood but I am now beginning to work with henbane, belladonna and datura (have my first datura seedling come up - so excited) - and so part of my green path comes into it because I try to grow my own herbs, especially entheogenic herbs because, unless I personally know the person they come from, I trust my own self in the garden more. Hedgecraft is a Green Path, most hedge witches I know (but not all) tend to prefer to grow their own herbs and have a strong connection with the Earth, are animistic and tend to embrace spirit work as this is a larger part of it. Some work with bone, some with bane, some with both. Some are excellent at divination and use various methods to do so. I journey, so far only using myself or the added assistance of flying ointment, I am considering drumming as a method also but I've yet to try it.
 
The thing with hedgecraft is there is no dogma, no tenents, it is much like traditional witchcraft in the sense of that each witch will build her own path taking from traditional lore and ideas, it's quite solitary and individual, there are no Deities per se, but again, that doesn't mean that a hedge witch will necessarily exclude Deity from her practice. Personally Deity is not part of my path. I think that hedgecraft is also quite a wild path, you learn from nature, She teaches you both the wonderful and the hard lessons. Workings by hedge witches are very organic, very natural, very simple. 
 
My personal ethos is personal responsibility. By that I simply mean that if I take a particular path, I accept there could be consequences but I don't believe in karma or threefold nonsense, know thyself is important, you can't begin to traverse other realms and know them without knowing your own self first. I won't discuss my use and recipes of enthenogenic herbs publicly outside of saying I use them, because they're dangerous herbs and it would be irresponsible of me to do so, this you will find the other hedge witches on the forum will likely agree with. It survives today by the people who learn from lore and incorporate that into their path, as I mentioned, it is not dissimilar from traditional witchcraft in the context it was practiced then and now, it is a revisiting of old traditions and bringing them into a modern context although to a degree some of us still practice the Craft without modern context and tend to practice some of our path as it was then.
 
The Hedge witch path is not one that can be defined by one explanation, but if I was to attempt to sum it up I would say the hedgewitch is almost the Cunningwoman or Wise Woman of old, well versed in herblore and the spirit realms with a vast knowledge of both. She is good at divination, growing herbs and gardening, knowing the natural world around her and understanding that world for all its polarity. She can cross the veil to divine answers to questions, visit other realms, work with ancestors and perform healings. She'll curse, hex, heal is mostly solitary and prefers to work alone for the majority of her Craft.
 
This is my take and a brief outline of my own path as it relates to hedge craft, anyone is quite free to disagree with me and add their own description of how they practice.

Edited by Stacey, 08 October 2013 - 02:50 AM.

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"The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by an invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing." Severus Snape - HP and the Order of the Phoenix

#7 Stacey

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 02:52 AM

I actually realised I wrote a short bit on what I think hedgecraft is on my blog some time ago. What I wrote was:

 

Hedge Witchcraft
 
Hedge Witchcraft is, for lack of a better term, a kind of shamanic path. Hedge Witches are able to ‘cross the hedge’, basically this means they are able to travel in spirit form to Otherworld and commune with spirits, work with spirits and can also talk with/work with ancestors. Hedge witches can also be very powerful healers; this often comes from being able to put themselves into trance. 
 
Hedge Witches would be on good terms with folk from the Otherworld. Like the sister tradition of Green Witchcraft, Hedge Witchery is also very much based in the natural world, hedge witches will be well versed in the use and application of herbs – the herbs may even be of a ‘baneful’ nature and are used in flying ointments and other spirit work. (Although not recommended if you have no clue in hell on what you’re doing – you’ll probably end up killing yourself or the very least poisoning yourself). Those who practice this particular tradition are often solitary, preferring the company of nature and the natural being and spirits within our world and the next. Hedge Witchcraft is not the path for everyone because it can be demanding and requires work, but it is very much what I consider the Path of Old, the idea of what witches would have been like or would have practiced many moons ago.
 
So much shorter but not dissimilar from what I wrote above.

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"The mind is not a book, to be opened at will and examined at leisure. Thoughts are not etched on the inside of skulls, to be perused by an invader. The mind is a complex and many-layered thing." Severus Snape - HP and the Order of the Phoenix

#8 Willau

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 01:04 PM

Many real Hedge Witches and/or Shamans use dangerous psychotropic substances, both natural and otherwise, to actually travel.  Terrifying . . . can be. :wink:

 

 

Ahhh, so true! It can be very scary when using psychotropics. Experimented with that, myself years ago. I kind of forgotten about some of the experiences I've had. It's been a very long time now, that I've learned to fly "safely".

 

I do still use "pillow" potions" & my favorite is the scent of my dearly departed, potted Datura plant, outside of my bedroom window at night. The fragrance was intoxicating. Me thinks I need to grow another. :D


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#9 Whiterose

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 03:19 PM

This is not a path I follow as I am one that is very sensitive to plant substances. Also, I had a bad experience one time when my ex had liquid acid on his lips and I kissed him goodnight.  I saw everything that was unseen in the room as I was trying to sleep. I don't want to see those things again *full body shudder.  I don't mess with psychotropic substances.  I don't think that in order to be a "witch" that you have to use flying ointments and such. Its a personal choice and one that doesn't work for everyone. Its not more authentic or anything, its just another type of path.  I'm of the opinion that there are several ways to reach the other side or see across to the other side. 


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#10 Moondark

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 04:44 PM

 

I practice Hedgecraft but it is not a complete separate entity from my green path either as I do practice a path that melds both hedge and green witchraft. It can be confused with Green Witchcraft because on some level there are similarities, as there is with it being somewhat shamanic in nature. There does seem to be confusion on what hedgecraft actually is and far too much emphasis on just the 'crossing' part. There are some hedgewitches on here who will probably disagree with my interpretation  or how I practice but I find it an individual path. I have to say right up, that the books by Rae Beth and Silver Ravenwolf don't represent hedgecraft as I understand it, their take, to my mind, is completely Wiccan.
 
I work with entheogenic herbs, mostly mandrake and wormwood but I am now beginning to work with henbane, belladonna and datura (have my first datura seedling come up - so excited) - and so part of my green path comes into it because I try to grow my own herbs, especially entheogenic herbs because, unless I personally know the person they come from, I trust my own self in the garden more. Hedgecraft is a Green Path, most hedge witches I know (but not all) tend to prefer to grow their own herbs and have a strong connection with the Earth, are animistic and tend to embrace spirit work as this is a larger part of it. Some work with bone, some with bane, some with both. Some are excellent at divination and use various methods to do so. I journey, so far only using myself or the added assistance of flying ointment, I am considering drumming as a method also but I've yet to try it.
 
The thing with hedgecraft is there is no dogma, no tenents, it is much like traditional witchcraft in the sense of that each witch will build her own path taking from traditional lore and ideas, it's quite solitary and individual, there are no Deities per se, but again, that doesn't mean that a hedge witch will necessarily exclude Deity from her practice. Personally Deity is not part of my path. I think that hedgecraft is also quite a wild path, you learn from nature, She teaches you both the wonderful and the hard lessons. Workings by hedge witches are very organic, very natural, very simple. 
 
My personal ethos is personal responsibility. By that I simply mean that if I take a particular path, I accept there could be consequences but I don't believe in karma or threefold nonsense, know thyself is important, you can't begin to traverse other realms and know them without knowing your own self first. I won't discuss my use and recipes of enthenogenic herbs publicly outside of saying I use them, because they're dangerous herbs and it would be irresponsible of me to do so, this you will find the other hedge witches on the forum will likely agree with. It survives today by the people who learn from lore and incorporate that into their path, as I mentioned, it is not dissimilar from traditional witchcraft in the context it was practiced then and now, it is a revisiting of old traditions and bringing them into a modern context although to a degree some of us still practice the Craft without modern context and tend to practice some of our path as it was then.
 
The Hedge witch path is not one that can be defined by one explanation, but if I was to attempt to sum it up I would say the hedgewitch is almost the Cunningwoman or Wise Woman of old, well versed in herblore and the spirit realms with a vast knowledge of both. She is good at divination, growing herbs and gardening, knowing the natural world around her and understanding that world for all its polarity. She can cross the veil to divine answers to questions, visit other realms, work with ancestors and perform healings. She'll curse, hex, heal is mostly solitary and prefers to work alone for the majority of her Craft.
 
This is my take and a brief outline of my own path as it relates to hedge craft, anyone is quite free to disagree with me and add their own description of how they practice.

 

 

Greatly helpful! Thank you so much!


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#11 Moondark

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 04:47 PM

This is not a path I follow as I am one that is very sensitive to plant substances. Also, I had a bad experience one time when my ex had liquid acid on his lips and I kissed him goodnight.  I saw everything that was unseen in the room as I was trying to sleep. I don't want to see those things again *full body shudder.  I don't mess with psychotropic substances.  I don't think that in order to be a "witch" that you have to use flying ointments and such. Its a personal choice and one that doesn't work for everyone. Its not more authentic or anything, its just another type of path.  I'm of the opinion that there are several ways to reach the other side or see across to the other side. 

 

I've been a bit afraid of sudden the clairvoyance, myself :sweat: I do have a number of known spirits lurking about, including my familiar and an incubus. I'm very close with my spirits and they generally keep out unwanted intruders...my biggest problem is I'm afraid to see what they look like.

 

Of course, when they appear to me in dreams or my mind's eye, they're generally relatively tame(the incubus is quite beautiful, actually), but I'm not sure that they'll manifest the same way on the other side...


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#12 Whiterose

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 05:14 PM

I don't wish to derail the thread.

Long story short, at the time, which was in my late teens, the place was not protected because I took a hiatus from outwardly practicing due to the strain and drain of the relationship I was in . What I saw I will not describe in detail but what I saw was not my allies or ancestors and had no concept of things we take for granted; that everyone/everything should be aware of and respect such things as privacy or personal space. I do not have a name for them, but these things were reflective of the nature of the person I was living with and I believe, drawn to such a person for a reason.

 

 Also, they understood that I could see them and it excited and confused them.  The expressions I saw are forever burned in to my mind. 

 

Anyway, my point is, some things are not for everyone. 


Edited by Whiterose, 08 October 2013 - 05:17 PM.

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#13 Aurelia

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 07:59 PM

Thank you, Stacey, for your posts here.  I don't know much about Hedgecraft as my path doesn't include the use/ingestion of entheogenic herbs, so it as yet hasn't been an area that I've studied or researched very much. So this was really interesting to me to read what you had to share here :)  I've +1d it.


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#14 Moondark

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Posted 08 October 2013 - 09:40 PM

I don't wish to derail the thread.

Long story short, at the time, which was in my late teens, the place was not protected because I took a hiatus from outwardly practicing due to the strain and drain of the relationship I was in . What I saw I will not describe in detail but what I saw was not my allies or ancestors and had no concept of things we take for granted; that everyone/everything should be aware of and respect such things as privacy or personal space. I do not have a name for them, but these things were reflective of the nature of the person I was living with and I believe, drawn to such a person for a reason.

 

 Also, they understood that I could see them and it excited and confused them.  The expressions I saw are forever burned in to my mind. 

 

Anyway, my point is, some things are not for everyone. 

 

 

Spirits are a relevant topic, so don't worry about derailing anything.

 

I'm very sorry that happened to you; I've yet to have a bad experience like that, but I'm sure it will happen in time. You're very strong for bringing it up :hugs: Thank you for the wisdom. 


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#15 Michele

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 12:59 AM

I think it may be good to remember that hedgecraft is not defined by the use of drugs,  but by crossing the hedge and the reasons (which should not IMHO be arbitrary) for doing so.

 

 

M


Edited by Michele, 09 October 2013 - 02:55 AM.

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#16 Willau

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 01:57 AM

This topic really sparks my soul in soo many ways. It brings me back to where I flew beyond the hedge, before I knew what that even meant. This was back in the mid seventies... I find my self now in the 21st century in my 50's. How I got here, with the foolish things I have done, is truely a mystery to me. I would feverently not wish my path on anyone. I am stronger for surviving it, but going that path is not necessary,

 

Now that I know my way along the path, learning to accept & venture beyond this body, it comes naturally & wisely. It somehow keeps me sane, through the insanity of this lifetime. :D

 

 

 

 

 

 


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#17 Aurelia

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 04:21 AM

I think it may be good to remember that hedgecraft is not defined by the use of drugs,  but by crossing the hedge and the reasons (which should not IMHO be arbitrary) for doing so.
 
 
M

Good point. I didn't mean to imply that was my thought in my post, but I realise I did just that. My bad! Sorry.

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#18 Moondark

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Posted 09 October 2013 - 11:42 PM

This topic really sparks my soul in soo many ways. It brings me back to where I flew beyond the hedge, before I knew what that even meant. This was back in the mid seventies... I find my self now in the 21st century in my 50's. How I got here, with the foolish things I have done, is truely a mystery to me. I would feverently not wish my path on anyone. I am stronger for surviving it, but going that path is not necessary,

 

Now that I know my way along the path, learning to accept & venture beyond this body, it comes naturally & wisely. It somehow keeps me sane, through the insanity of this lifetime. :biggrin:

 

 

Is it really that scary, on the other side?  :ermm:


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#19 Michele

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 01:09 AM

I would say it has to be a matter of common sense... It is not this world. It is not necessarily inhabited by humans. Or by things that give a shit about humans. Or that answer to humans.  Humans are not the biggest and the baddest things in any world. We just think we are. Humans can be squished in days by the most miniscule virus that isn't even visible to the naked eye. You could get by fine, or you might not. You might pop back with no problem, or you might wander off. You might meet something you can trust, or you might not.

 

It isn't  a place I would try to go for the above reasons. If I did go, I would want guides. I would want something that could guide me back to this world, something that could kick-start my memory if I started to forget who I am. And if my soul were separated from my body, something that could navigate that world and take me to the place of my own so I wouldn't be lost wandering forever. For those reasons, it is not something I would look to do. But that's just me.

 

Why do you need to go? What is the purpose of going? What can you only accomplish there that you can't accomplish here? If you want to talk to allies - or even cultivate allies - can you not just talk to them in the hedge without actually crossing over into the world of the dead? Meet them halfway, so that neither of you has to fully enter the other's world? That would be my personal preference.  

 

M


Edited by Michele, 10 October 2013 - 01:12 AM.

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#20 Willau

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Posted 10 October 2013 - 02:03 AM

 

Is it really that scary, on the other side?  :ermm:

I suppose that is something that would have to be experienced by you, the indidual.

Why do you ask? Have you ever been beyond your own present, physical experience?


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