What is a Hedge Witch?
This is a question I get asked a lot it’s also one with a lot of different answers, this is mine.
Hedge Witch has become a term that is often used for any solitary practitioner, or those between covens. A Hedge Witch is what used to be the old village wise woman, apart from, they aren’t all old, they don’t have to live out in the countryside – (though most prefer this atmosphere)- and they aren’t all women… but hopefully you get the picture I’m trying to paint here.
Hedge Witches practice very organic forms of magic, spells are usually very simple and focus of the elements of the spell that is being cast (i.e. the stones, herbs, plants etc) and personal words and meditation, as opposed to the ceremony of the spell (i.e. doing set things in a set order and following pre-set out patterns).
The reason they practice magic in this way is due to their ability to “cross the hedge”. A lot of people think the “Hedge” in Hedge Witch refers to the fact they are often out collecting spell components from the local hedge row, although this is true it is actually referencing the “Hedge” that symbolises to boundary between this world and the usually unseen world. A lot of magical paths talk about “Hedge Riding” as it’s also known, as a “thinning of the veil” or “journeying”, this can be experienced in different ways. Hedge Witches do go journeying into the other world when spell casting, to seek answers or for simply for a sense of solace, but they are said to walk with a foot in either world a lot of the time. Due to this they are able to see the magic in everything, they notice patterns and symbols in nature that would normally go unnoticed and work with them. This isn’t a practise that is quick to learn, it involves lots of practice and lots of time spent in the right atmosphere casting spells and practising witchcraft in a particular way.
Hedge Witches may or may not work with deities and if they do it is more a personal relationship built over a long period, rather than working with lots of different deities depending on the work they are doing, festival they are observing or time of year. Hedge Witches do not follow the Wiccan Rede “An Ye Harm None, Do What Ye Will”, but do live by their own personal code of conduct that they feel comfortable with and will adhere to strictly.