I mentioned in a previous post that I tend to refer to my magical practice as hedgewitchery, and myself as a hedgewitch, but I thought it would be useful to go into that in more depth in this new blog post.
A lot of my magical practice draws on folklore and folk magic traditions, and incorporates the materials I have around me in a way that some might call traditional witchcraft. I use pieces I’ve learned from family and friends, or invented myself, with what bits and bobs I had on hand or could easily acquire: paper or yarn, candle or salt, herb or stone. I read about other witches’ practices, I talk to my peers, and we inspire each other to use materials or magical technologies in ways that solve the problems in front of us. Most of it is highly personal and highly intuitive, often with guidance from spirits. I have a couple of pretty tools (a brass bell, a copper mug, a pillar of quartz, an engraved wooden spoon) but most everything also has a very practical purpose. I love the look of a fancy wand as much as the next magpie, but I’ve never really used ceremonial tools with any regularity, and I rarely do magic in a manner that requires an altar set just-so. In fact, many of my most “complicated” workings are done almost entirely in trance.
BALM AND BANE
Healing and hexing are two sides of the same coin, in my view. I can heal with darkness, I can curse with light, and in fact I have an upcoming workshop for the NoVA Pagan Moot on exactly that. I am trained in several modalities of energetic or spiritual healing, and I combine them intuitively for those who seek my services. But just as poison in the right dosage can be medicine, a medicine in the wrong dosage is often a poison. Non-consensual or inexpertly targeted healing can cause harm, and sometimes a binding or a banishing can twist someone’s fate so that they’re heading in a more positive direction. Magic is complicated, consent matters, and every effective spell has consequences, intended or not. I try to do more good than harm, but if I’m between a rock and a hard place I will use every tool in my arsenal. I see a lot of people who have a very all-or-nothing mindset around banework, and I don’t think that’s nearly as helpful as having actual discussions about ethics and harm reduction, and us each figuring out our own personal boundaries.
I am an eternal student of divination: I keep learning new forms, and I keep going deeper with the forms I am already proficient with. I practice several types of cartomancy, I read ogham staves and rune stones, I take omens taken in the wild from the flight of birds, and I sometimes even turn to modern technological omens like shufflemancy and the rolling of d20s. Not everything works well for me: I’ve never quite gotten the hang of pendulums or spirit boards, for instance. But I am proficient enough in many forms that I have enough confidence in my skill to offer these services for money, and the reviews I get back are extremely positive. I use my tools to divine the future, the past, the present—to illuminate anything that is shrouded, to look around corners, to answer what-ifs as best I can, knowing as I do that things are always in flux. I use these tools to speak with and to get messages from spirits of many kinds, both for myself, and on the behalf of others.
I have deep relationships with two pantheons of Deities: the Tuatha Dé and the Vanir. I am also deeply entwined with the Álfar and with the Daoine Uaisle, through the Fairy Queen I serve. I maintain relationships with my local Good Neighbors, Nature Spirits, and Land Wights where I live, where I visit and practice, and where I travel. I honor my Beloved Dead, and those Ancestors (of blood or of path) who appear to guide and to help me. There are spirits in my household; they are my allies and my companions, my guides and my guardians. I also maintain cordial relationships and open lines of communication with many of the Deities and other tutelary spirits of my human-incarnate friends and associates. Most of my magical work involves these many types of spirits; I do workings with them, for them, because of them, on their behalf, or at their request.
Hedge-crossing, hedge-riding, journeying, pathworking, world-walking: whatever you may call it, I use these to refer to the act of travelling in spirit to the Otherworlds. This is a type of trancework, and the one I use most often. I slip between this world and an Other to see spirits more clearly, to converse with them, or to take a look at the landscape and flows of energy. I travel to visit spirits I know; I travel to seek those I have not yet encountered. I go seeking answers for myself and for others, and I bring answers back in words or images, scents or feelings. Sometimes I wander the worlds for the sheer joy of it, the ecstasy of spirit-flight. From time to time I go walking in my dreams, but most of my wanderings are waking visions.
This is the one area that I most wish to have additional education in. I am familiar with some herbal remedies for common things like colds, scrapes, and bruises; I know remedies for menstrual cramps. I have deeper education in a couple of chronic conditions I am personally dealing with, including migraines, but I would like to take an actual certification programme at some point. For magical uses, I work with herbs and resins a bit more intuitively, mixing flavors and intentions into food, blending oils for scent and resonance. I speak with the plants themselves, and learn what they would teach me. When I need to ground deeply and my usual way is not enough, I go walk the land or else I spend time in my own garden. The cycles of plant growth, of harvest, of weather, of the moon, bring me back into the present, back into balance with the cycles of my own life.