The term hedge witch is incredibly popular right now. The hedge witch is pictured as the solitary shaman working alone at the edge of the forest. However, hedge witchcraft is an eclectic practice with so many elements.
Today I’ll be delving into my experience as a hedge witch, but you should keep in mind that this is all based on my own practice and research.
Ultimately, no witch needs a label. These characterizations are just human definitions.
However, labels do help us contextualize, sort, and understand how we can proceed in our practice. I feel that a label is solely for your own benefit and can change or morph as needed. Feel free to alter anything I say here if it doesn’t resonate with you!
Definition Of A Hedge Witch
The traditional hedge witch, if you can even use the word traditional, is someone who is a Seer, Shaman, and witch all in one.
Historically, the term hedge witch was used for anyone who lived along the fringes of a village, behind the hedgerows. The village was on one side of the hedges and the unknown, “wild” beyond was on the other side.
These were the solitary men and women who acted as Shamans and witches in daily life, such as in the home and hearth, but who also offered divination or healing services to those in need.
However, hedge witch has always had a type of double meaning. Terms like hedge crossing, hedge riding, or hedge jumping all refer to the hedge witch venturing into another realm while keeping one foot in the mundane world.
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Divination is almost always involved in the hedge witch’s practice. Seeing “beyond the veil” is really important for most hedge witches. This can refer to astral travel, the Otherworld, or various other realms depending on the tradition and belief set the witch is working with.
The term hedge witch is experimental. These witches practice folk magic that is passed down or learned through trial and error.
Although most hedge witches in history were Celtic, Anglo Saxon, or Greek, the fundamental properties of the hedge witch can apply to virtually anyone from any culture. The hedge witch is quite eclectic in his/her practice.
Most hedge witches work alone because they don’t conform to any one traditional. The magic that they practice is results-based. If something works, a hedge witch will repeat the process, and scrap rituals that have no practical effect.
The hedge witch respects both the old and the new traditions because they base their practice on practicality rather than on ritual alone.
For me, the whole purpose of practicing hedge witchcraft, much like folk witchcraft, is achieving actual results. Trial and error is a huge part of this
Because the hedge witch is so eclectic, they can be a psychic, medium, healer, witch, counselor, herbalist, and Shaman all in one.
The hedge with works with the space between life and death, but they also partner with the rhythm of nature. Herbs and green witchcraft are important when it comes to hedge witchcraft.
Animals, plant spirits, and nature spirits are all important to the hedge witch. These beings bridge the gap between the physical world and spiritual realms.
Common Hedge Witch Practices
Typically, hedge witches make the home and hearth the center of their magical activities. Daily acts are infused with magical intention.
For example, cleaning the home is actually spiritual cleansing. When the hedge witch waters their plants, they are bonding with the plant spirits.
Hedge witchery is all about trial and error in small ways. The hedge witch will change something small in the home and see how the energy manifests.
The natural world is also the root of the hedge witch’s practice. Green witchcraft is often incorporated on a daily basis in small ways.
Most hedge witches build relationships with plant spirits, mineral spirits, and the earth. There is a connection for for these witches between the earth and the spirit world that is fluid; they are one in the same.
In fact, hedge witches see herbs, plants, and minerals as separate spirits. Animism is typically popular in hedge witchcraft. The hedge witch will speak with the spirits of the trees, engage with critters outside, and generally form bonds with the earth around them. The seasons and cycles of nature are very important in hedge witchcraft.
Many hedge witches work as shamans. They may engage with the spirit world through trance or by altering their consciousness in some way.
Unlike many witches, hedge witches actually want to travel to other realms. Astral travel is very common as is experimentation with different types of hedge jumping, such as entering the dreams of others or various spirit realms.
Ancestor and spirit veneration is also quite normal for hedge witches. If you’re interested in working as a hedge witch, ancestor communication is a great place to start. Ancestors are very safe spirits.
However, hedge witches may also work with deities, spirits, angels, demons, and more. Although they’re typically solitary witches, they do tend to partner with many types of spirit beings.
Hedge witches tend to find power at borders. For example, some witches work on the border between the city and the country, at the edge of the water between the ocean and the land, at a crossroads, or using the energy of both the earth and the sky/air. The cemetery is another border (between life and death) that some hedge witches utilize.
How To Be A Hedge Witch
Working as a hedge witch is a great practice to explore if you feel a connection to both nature and the spirit world.
I personally love working as a hedge witch because I’m able to explore the physical and the spiritual realms at the same time. It feels like I’m combining many different pieces of myself when I practice the craft.
However, being a hedge witch is not for the faint of heart. It’s definitely not always light and fluffy. Hedge witchcraft can be pretty intense and wild at times.
To begin, I recommend working in your home. Invite in a house spirit, cleanse your home, and reinforce your wards weekly. You need to create a safe haven before beginning any type of spirit practice.
Spend time working with the spirits of plants and crystals in your house. If you don’t have any plants, this may be the time to pick out an easy plant to care for in your home as well as some crystals. Speak to the spirit, ask it where it would like to be placed, how much care it wants, etc.
Green witchcraft is a good foundation if you want to be a hedge witch. Do some theoretical study on the properties of different herbs and work practically with the spirits of these plants. Kitchen witchery is also fun and safe to experiment with at home.
It’s also good to infuse a bit of magic into your daily routines. Make cleansing, bathing, warding, and grounding regular activities.
Hedge witches are in-tune with the seasons. Do some research into seasonal holidays and festivals of different traditions and try various activities that correlate to nature.
For example, in the spring, I tend to clean, cleanse, prune my plants, etc. As the natural world wakes up and becomes more active, so do I. In the fall, I do a lot of introspective spirit work that can be a bit darker; I also work with the shadow self and perform rituals.
Many hedge witches like to focus on healing. If you’re interested, you may want to learn about the medicinal properties of herbs as well as the spiritual properties. Start with simple concoctions such as tea or herbs to help you sleep, relax, or ground yourself.
Once you have the basics down pat and are skilled at defensive spells, you can begin attempting to cross into the spirit world. After all, being a hedge witch is all about traveling to other realms!
However, hedge jumping can be dangerous. You intrinsically open yourself up to beings that don’t behave in the same ways as those in our physical world.
Therefore, it’s essential that you know how to protect yourself before beginning your journey as a hedge witch. You should learn how to cleanse, ward, and banish. You should also learn how to cast a circle before you start any spell work or spirit work.
Astral travel, dancing, drumming, trance meditation, sigils, and the use of entheogens are all popular methods of hedge jumping.
Once you feel properly protected, experiment with astral travel. You can find great drumming beats on YouTube to help you travel astrally. The goal is to get into a deep enough trance that you can travel to spiritual realms.
Crystals for psychic development can help you on your journey, especially if you work with the spirits of the crystals. You can also use sigils to both ground you and enhance your psychic sight.
When you’re working with spirits, I recommend that you begin with your ancestors. Most ancestral spirits are very safe and will help protect you from beings who could mean you harm.
Once you have been working with your ancestors for some time, you can branch out and begin to contact other types of ghosts or spirits such as deities, angels, demons, etc.
Work with the spirits in your area. The spirits of the trees, flowers, and water right outside your door are available and are great to contact when you’re just beginning your work as a hedge witch.
As you advance, you may try to hedge jump into the Otherworld and work with the Fae. This is pretty advanced, so you should do a lot of research and focus on defensive magic for some time before you begin this.
However, the Otherworld is a really amazing place and you can have some incredible experiences when you begin working with the Fair Folk.
Grounding is really important when you begin hedge jumping. You can ground yourself using a sigil, a meditation, or even through incense or sound.
Some hedge witches focus on shape shifting in astral travel or in dreams. This is pretty advanced, but it can be really cool to find your animal alter-ego. A good way to start is in meditation, before you try this in the more “physical” realities of astral travel or lucid dreaming.
Daily or weekly meditation will be helpful in your work as a hedge witch. Dreamwork is also important; when you’re starting out, keep a dream journal and work with your subconscious during sleep.
Work with sigils: they can both ground you and transport you to other realms. Trance-work is also good. Practice is key here!
Herbs can be used, even benign plants, to help you cross the hedge. However, you should be super careful of substances until you really have your defensive magic down pat.
Hedge witches don’t have to use mind altering substances, although some do. Even incense or spiritual tea can help to open you up spiritually.
If you’re interested in working with herbs and substances, Mugwort is a great herb to begin with. It’s very safe and subtle but can enhance your dreams.
Keep in mind that being a hedge witch is a journey. You need to push your boundaries, but you can have really incredible experiences in other worlds and gain deeply meaningful spiritual knowledge.
Don’t worry about the “rules” of hedge witchcraft. Try all things and experience, but always protect yourself before beginning something new.
Remember that no two hedge witches are alike. What works for others may not work for you, and that’s totally okay.
Do some experimentation and find your own path. After all, hedge witchcraft is about being authentic and connecting with both the physical and spiritual world around you.
If you’re interested in delving deeper into hedge witchcraft, you may enjoy this book on hedge witchcraft and Druidry.