Does any one have any recomendations as to good souces of info on hedgecraft, on and off the web? Especially for beginners?
I know that there were some books by Rae Beth, I can't remember if I liked them or not. I think for the most part they were fine. I have not read Silver Ravenwolf's book on Hedgecraft, but I know that a lot of people don't like her, especially due to her advice to teens in regards to dealing with parents.
Are you new to paganism in general, or just the idea of hedgecraft?
For anything shamanistic... Mircea Elaide's Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy is a good study on shamanism in general. There are many books on Shamanism, even an Idiot's Guide (I love those types of books).
For Herbalism, there are definitely a lot of books on this subject, you can get books on magical herbalism and more homeopathic uses. Simple searches with come up with those.
I really loved a book called "Sacred Land" by Clea Danaan.
There are books specifically for crafts to do also. One of those books is just called "Magickal Crafts" I believe. Something that is family oriented: Celebrating the Great Mother by Cait Johnson and Maura D Shaw.
Cunningham had a book The Magical Household.
And just to throw it out there, I have not yet read Craft of the Wild Witch by Poppy Palin, but I plan to.
OOoooo Marian Green.. Natural Witchcraft (also author of A Witch Alone). Great books.
Ellen Dugan I am on the fence about... but she does have some books out on Cottage Witchery, Natural Witchery and Garden Witchery, etc.
I know.. I was kind of all over the place there. Sorry. It's just hard to cover every aspect in a single book or subject. Was there a specific area you were thinking? Shamanism (or even books on energy work and mediumship or rituals) would be something to look into for communicating between the worlds.
Good luck! And I don't know if I was of any real help, but I am happy to try again if I missed the mark!
I'm what am sometimes termed a shadow witch, which means I work with the hidden, natural laws of nature. They're hidden only in that most people are unaware of them through choice or ignorance.
There are many kinds of witchcraft. I'm not a Wiccan, though I do consider myself a witch.
A witch is someone, male or female, who explores and exploits these natural laws or nature - or of science - by deliberate acts of will power. We are constantly surrounded by things which we're not usually aware of, even mundane things such as radio waves or x-rays. Science exploits these energies mechanically, with machines. But the human body is the greatest machine, and some of us have an innate potential to learn how to use other similarly subtle energies. Therefore, I consider the body to be sacred; it's the machine through which I explore my world.
"Shadow Witches" Rede by Persephone
For those who walk a shadowed path,
For whatever reason, because it is a path in your soul that calls too you,
A particular goddess of dark paganism that calls too you or who you are,
Trust your heart and follow what it speaks, as it will never be wrong.
We are Witches, We Are Ancients,
Those that stand out among shadows.
Judge, Jury and this is our Creed.
Do not Offend, But Defend
Give your kin a house if they have no home
Remember in all forms are we the goddesses children in one way or another
She is the weaver, the threader and the cutter of Life
No matter what name she is called, she is the great mother, The All,
Know the Great dance and the Spiral is never ending and your day's
Walk long, and most often someone will try and break your paths
But when the wolves tear at your heels, remember only the hardest
Paths are the paths worth Walking.
Life will not be without troubles, fights, hardships
and we are not witches too get nor gain
For that is but an empty path that leads too greed and the ruin of your soul.
We are the witches, singers, shamans, dreamers, weavers, healers and
Warriors of the wild winds, in the storms and in the fury of the storm
And of Life. Our knowledge is all knowing, yet we continue to learn
Things every day, as is our right.
Treat your kin with as much respect as you wish to be treated and you
cannot be lead astray.
Treasure everyday as it were you’re last, cherishing the beauty of all
Life and all things.
Protect this rugged earth mother as best you can. Honor her.
Even if it is but a Rock, know that it too has its own spirit.
Life is everywhere, and magick can be breathed in as its purest essence.
Known as the Goddesses child, no matter what you call her she is always
there beside you, inside you and with you. Believe this always and you
Will never be forsaken, even when there is a lesson to be learnt that
She must teach you, even if that lesson whips you across the face, it
Has purpose and reason.
Keep your eyes and your ears open, and listen not only with the
Physical eye, but the astral ones, for there are signs in all things.
Within the wind, the rain, the sky and the deep earth.
Never look back on your past until you feel you are ready, and remember
we have a long way to go.
There is Strength in the Darkness, In Shadows and also in The Light,
And shadows cannot exist without Perfect balance of Light and Dark.
We are the Children of Grey Magick, and its Power is Thine too Wield!
A shadow witch in my estimation is not a Wiccan
Now how a Shadow Witch practices is much different than the way a Wiccan practices which is why Shadow Witches don't like to be called Wiccan's and some find it rather offensive. Shadow Witches live and practice by a much older way then what Wiccan's do. Shadow Witches do not call on the quarters or different Gods and Goddesses they stick to one God and or Goddess that is close to them.
I myself use mother earth and father sky when I need to call on anything.
Shadow Witches also do not call on a Deity every time when working magick or during ritual, only when we would like their help or aid with something or just to honor them on their special days.
Shadow Witches also do not believe in worshiping Deities although when we do work with them or call on them we will leave an offering in thanks for their help.
Shadow Witches do not always cast circles when doing rituals or working magic it is just not necessary.
I do not cast circles but rather I use a sacred space because magic is all about controlling your mind and focusing your energies and the energies around you, there for that is all I need.
Others may feel the need to do all that to help them focus or what have you and that is fine for them I just don't feel it is necessary and I can work just fine without all that. I make my own rituals and spells I do not like using other people’s work I feel it isn't close enough to my heart for the outcome to be exactly what I want it to be. All though I have used something a friend has given me and changed it to fit my needs. When working magic and during rituals I don’t use much of anything usually.
Sometimes I’ll use candles or gems as I am not good with herbs. I believe communication can be just as powerful as magic and spells so I always talk about things and try to work things out that way first and if I have done my best and worked my hardest and all attempts fail then I will work some magic if I feel it is necessary.
Sometimes in life we must just accept things and learn from them and other times we need to make things happen for survival. Before I ever work any magic I always meditate on the issue for a while first sometimes I will meditate on it for a full Moon before I do what needs to be done.
As stated before I do not work with Sabbat’s but rather with the seasons. If you are Wiccan than of course you may want to use these techniques for yourself and that is fine, but a Witch is not a Wiccan.
Circles aren’t needed, Sabbat’s and Esbat’s aren’t always used and "Harm none" doesn’t apply.
“Hedge witch” is someone who does solitary magic focused on nature and its aspects. Hedge craft 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 Hedge craft, as with nearly all magical traditions. In general, however, Hedge craft 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 Hedge witch, 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 Hedge witches worship. There are many similarities between Hedge craft and Wicca, including the emphasis on nature and healing, but Hedge craft is more solitary and less rigidly structured than Wicca. Hedge witches do not have covens or initiations, as Wiccans do. Hedge witches 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 Hedge witches, Hedge witches are not Wiccans.
Likewise, some Hedge witches do not even consider themselves to be witches in the traditional sense, preferring to be called something else, like wise woman or herbalist. Hedge witches are also known as Hedge-Riders, Night Travelers, Shadow Walkers, Myrk-Riders, Gandreidh and Walkers on the Wind. A possible history behind the name “Hedge witch” is that a hedge was a physical barrier between a village and the wild forest; it represented the boundary between worlds. A Hedge witch, then, is someone who passes between one world and the next, riding the line between them.
The second group known as 'hedge witch' can be difficult to pin down, as they are generally highly individualistic. Ask a hedge witch to define her (or, rarely, his) beliefs and practices, and you'll probably get about six different answers - and that's on a good day.
Hedge witches are, as the name implies, frequently found in hedgerows, often because they are collecting or studying herbs, though occasionally because they've been to a Heathen moot the night before! They are often keen to learn all they can about plants, including their use for medicine, food and drink, crafts and dyeing. They will often have a good knowledge of where these grow locally. They may learn to observe the behavior of animals in order to predict changes in the weather, and they may also be able to detect a coming rainstorm by scent - handy if you don't want to get wet! Some, though not all, will try to learn other skills historically possessed by the village Wisewoman, such as midwifery or basic medical and healing skills. A good sense of humor is also useful.
They are probably, in modern times, the closest you'll get to the 'stereotypical' village witch, though this is unlikely to have been handed down directly - most have to learn it from scratch, but often start at a relatively early age. Their first words as young children tend to include 'what's that?', 'what's it for?' and 'how does that work?', and they may be very persistent. Though they may learn from others (and not always just other hedge witches), they often have to glean their knowledge from books of old lore, herbcraft, cooking and gardening, and also through the application of common sense and instinct. Though groups of Hedgewitches will sometimes form, these tend to be short-lived due to their very independent nature and need to do things their own way.
The words hedge and hag have the same root, and it is possible that the original use of the word hag denoted 'one who sits on the hedge' - one who is on the boundary between the known and unknown worlds and acts as a conduit between the two (stemming from times when the hedge separated the village from the 'great unknown').
Hedge witches will frequently spend a lot of time in altered states of consciousness, whether performing kitchen magic, healing, or giving one of the Gods a good talking to. While they have a lot of respect for the Gods, they won't put up with nonsense, and if the Gods stick their noses in where they're not wanted, they'll tell them so! They tend to have a very personal relationship with their Gods, usually developed over a very long time.
But which Gods? Again, this is very individual, but because they tend to be very rooted in their locality, it tends to be those most closely associated with where they live, and those closely associated with their 'specialty'.
To give an example, as a midwife, I work very closely with Bride, who is also very much a local Goddess in my area - I can see the steeple of her modern-day shrine from my window. Because I'm working on the boundary between life and death, I also work closely with Cailleach on occasion. Hedge witches sometimes show a strong tendency towards animism (being aware of the sacredness in all things) and polytheism (belief in or a working relationship with multiple deities), but again, this varies between individuals.
The essential tools for a hedge witch are very basic. The minimum requirement is one mind and a good memory (or a decent notebook), but if you wanted a few extras I would recommend a very sharp knife and a pan or kettle - also useful for a midwife as the men can then go and make the tea. Anything else you can usually find lying around, though you might prefer a pestle and mortar over a couple of smooth stones. Learning to make a cook-fire is also very useful, especially if you like to look for plants or go 'on retreat' some distance from civilization, or if you live in a village that's all electric and the power goes off regularly!
Magical work can be done with or without tools, though it's often easier to learn the techniques using basic tools to begin with. These can be bought or hand-made, or just something you found lying around that happens to suit your needs. Because she usually works alone, learning magic from scratch can sometimes be a hazardous business for the hedge witch - magical accidents are common, especially in the early days. You can be fairly sure that if a hedge witch tells you a particular work of magic is a bad idea, it's not because she's jealous of your abilities or trying to stop you learning. She's probably had something similar rebound on her.
At root, anyone can learn hedge witchcraft, and it can be incorporated into any of the other paths. You never know when some of those skills might come in handy!
• GREEN, Marian A Witch Alone: Thirteen Moons to master Natural magic 2002;
• GREEN, Marian Elements of Natural Magic 1997; HarperCollins.
• ABURROW, Yvonne The Enchanted Forest: The Magical Lore of Trees 1993; Capall Bann.
• ABURROW, Yvonne The Sacred Grove: The Mysteries of the Forest 1993; Capall Bann.
• ABURROW, Yvonne Auguries and Omens: The Magical Lore of Birds 1993; Capall Bann.
• ABURROW, Yvonne Magical Lore of Animals 1999; Capall Bann.
• ROSE, Francis The Wild Flower Key: A guide to plant identification in the field, with and without flowers 1981; Frederick Warne.
• FL†CK, Hans Medicinal Plants: an authentic guide to natural remedies 1988; W.
Foulsham & Co.
• HOFFMANN, David New Holistic Herbal 1993; Element Books.
• PALAISEUL, Jean GrandmotherÕs Secrets: Her Green Guide to Health from Plants (only available in print in French: English translation by P. Swinglehurst Ñ 1973; Penguin Books).
• GRIEVE, Mrs M. A Modern Herbal 1976; Penguin Books.