haegtessa

anonymous asked:

What does it mean to be a hedge witch?

Ok, so I get this question a lot and there’s a lot of conflict around it. If you ask six different hedge witches what their definition of a hedge witch is you’re going to get a lot of different answers so I’m giving my (overly detailed)rendition and opinion of it.

No one is 100% certain where the term hedge witch originated but there is speculation that the word hedge witch is a direct translation from the Saxon word ’haegtessa’ which means hedge-rider. Hedge witches(wise women, healers) lived inside a forest or just on the edge of forest. There’s the basic idea of the root of the word but why is this really important? Because forests were considered to be a gateway to the “unknown”, it held the spirits and creatures the stories tell us about. So, the term coined that the hedge witch is on the border of all worlds - realm of the faeries, gods, mythical creatures, spirits, dead, etc.

So this is where a lot of the confusion rolls in and people start pointing fingers saying you have to do astral work and you have to work with spirits or the dead. Fuck em, the idea of calling oneself a hedge witch is essentially to call oneself a shaman without stealing from another culture with herbalism, healing, and a deep love for, and understanding of nature added to the mix. You reach into the other worlds/realms and you’re looking for knowledge to bring back - about healing, potions, salves, and so much more. Now, if you were to ask me how I fit into the hedge witch category I’d say a lot of it is my longing for the forests. I was raised ten minutes from a national park, I spent more hours in the woods growing up than with friends or doing extracurricular’s. My spirituality is rooted in nature, in the trees specifically. I go into the forest fairly frequently to speak with the trees and my gods and I learn. When I come back I have new ways to help you guys heal and bring happiness into your life; whether it’s a new tarot spread, new candle brews, healing salves, or care kits or whatever really. The fae guard and heal my garden, my plants speak to me when they’re sick, I divine with the runes I carve, and I use my magic to heal. I don’t know if this really helped at all but this is my opinion of a hedgewitch - it’s just as much about healing and learning as it is divination and astral/spiritual work. So, yeah. You can embrace any side of the hedge witch or all of them, it’s a pretty open path to explore. Anyways, thanks for asking and I hope it helped some.💞🌲

Invocation of Kernunnos

By the sacred flame burning bright
O’ Ancient One!
We call yer name of this night
O’ Witch-father!
To joy and terror yer here
O’ Hedge-lord!
We hear your foot steps drawing near
O’ Sitter-Between!
Let us join our ancestors Sabbath
O’ Antler’d Devil!

Turn yer three ever-watching eyes to thee
Bring our spirits across the boundary with glee
Let our souls fly till dawns break
and our nightly flight be enough to sate
The Liminal One We call Tonight

Kernunnos O’Nyrt!
Rise from the Dirt!

Nema! Nema! Nema!

This is my personal invocation to Kernunnos (or alternatively, Cernunnos), my patron god, a liminal Gaulish god of the dead, wealth, and hedge-crossing.

Feel free to use it or alter it as you see fit.


anonymous asked:

What kind of witch are you?

What a question! This will take some time to answer, but I’ll do my best.

It has become quite common for witches to take an identifier based on the strongest element of their practices. For example, there are those who refer to themselves as “air witches” because they work primarily with that element, or those who call themselves “Wiccan witches” because they practice witchcraft in the Wiccan tradition. While this works and is helpful for many people, I struggle to choose a single adjective to describe my witchcraft practice. 

I suppose you could call me “eclectic,” but that tells you very little about what I actually do (and I also think the term is overused). Still, I want to answer this question and clarify a bit about what I actually do. So, I’ll choose a few adjectives that most strongly describe my witchcraft practice and talk about each a bit. 

I am an herbal witch.

Much of the work I do on a day-to-day basis involves herbalism. While I live in the city and don’t grow my own plants, I keep a good stock of herbs on hand and use them in a variety of ways. I also keep a variety of oils and other ingredients, which I use quite frequently. Above is a recent photograph of storage for what I call my “laboratory;” it used to be more complex before I moved. 

You’ll notice a lot of the spells I post involve herbs in some fashion. Herbal spells are probably my most frequent magical endeavors. These range from making tinctures and teas to charm bottles and creating floorwashes. Most of my herbal work is based on the systemized study of the magical properties of plants within the context of the Western Magical Tradition, so I draw a lot from alchemy’s long history. A lot of my work with plants involves using them to connect to celestial forces such as the seven classical planetary powers.

I am a celestial witch.

As I said above, the bulk of my herbal work involves using the herbs as a way of connecting with celestial forces such as the seven celestial spheres or classical planets, as well as the forces represented by the zodiac and other astrological principles. I don’t consider myself an astrologer because I very rarely cast charts or engage in astrology-based divination, but the majority of what I do involves celestial powers in some way. 

This goes beyond my herbal work and influences nearly everything. I’ve often said that the majority of symbols and concepts within Western occultism function as a sort of filing system to help the practitioner forge connections with greater realities. Taking this into consideration, I would say that celestial principles are, at present, my most important method of connecting. While I have and still occasionally do work with the raw elements (Earth, Air, etc…) most of the time, I work with planetary intelligences and forces commonly assigned to astrological principles.

I am an animist witch.

Just as my celestial fascination influences almost all of my work, so does my tendency towards animism. I believe that the universe is alive with an infinite variety of intelligences and spiritual forces working beyond and behind physical matter. I believe that, in any spell or working, no matter how simple, I am calling upon one or many of these forces. For example, I believe that when I use fresh basil in a potion or charm, I do so by tapping into the life force of the plant, which possesses a simple yet powerful intelligence of its own. 

You might say that I believe everything has a spirit operating through and behind it, no matter how mundane it may seem. By making connections to these intelligences or spirits, I can affect change in the world around me. This is a cornerstone of my approach to magick, and is manifest in all of my spells, rituals, and workings. Some of them can involve very complex intelligences like those of the planets, but others work with plants, animals, or minerals.

I am a hedgeriding witch.

I believe spiritual forces exist within all things and that there are many layers to reality. By most accounts, “hedgeriding” is a term used to describe a witch’s non-corporeal journeys throughout reality and into other realms. From this, legends of witches flying on broomsticks arose, because quite often flight was an elaborate metaphor for these journeys. 

The term “hedgerider” is a direct translation of an older Anglo-Saxon word, “haegtessa,” which was used to denote a witch or sorcerer. The use of the terms “hedgerider” and “haegtessa” specifically to describe witches who travel between worlds is relatively new, but, in my opinion, quite apt. The idea of a hedgerow is a metaphor for the veil between worlds, and in this case, to “ride” the hedge is to have one foot on either side, partaking of all worlds.

I cross the hedge. The structure, characteristics, and theme of the realities I visit during these experiences vary depending on my inclinations at the time. As the image suggests, though, I tend to posit (as do many other witches) a lose division between our world, an upper world, and a lower world, with the interaction between the latter two making the manifestation of our physical reality (the middle world) possible.

I am a secular witch.

I’ve written about secular witchcraft here. While the term denotes a different style of practice with little commonality between those who use it (it merely means they don’t worship through witchcraft), the article I just linked also goes into some detail about my own perspective and why I use the term “secular witch.” 

My general life philosophy is quite secular, as well, and if it weren’t for the fact that many in that crowd shun the idea of magick, I’d probably be willing to call myself a secular humanist. My family back home is largely comprised of secular humanists, though my mom converted to Unitarian Universalism when I was in my early twenties. It’s funny, because I’ve read reports that suggest most people ultimately return to the religion or belief system they grew up with, and while I’m not sure those studies are accurate, it was true of me! I did experiment with a variety of religions and spiritual paths when I was younger, but ended up returning to something very much resembling the beliefs of my family. 

Some people will ask, “But wait, Eliza - I thought you were a Thelemite? Isn’t that a religion?” Yes, and no. Some people approach Thelema as a primarily religious system and find it fills their personal needs religiously. I myself don’t see it that way, though - for me, Thelema is a philosophy, not terribly different in kind than, say, existentialism or Platonism. It presents a highly developed mechanism of metaphor, but needn’t be taken literally nor elevated to a religious perspective. It’s really up to the individual. Some Thelemites see it as a religion; some don’t. For me, it isn’t, though.

Conclusions

I could continue this list with more and more adjectives that describe my practice. Technowitch, transhumanist witch, continental witch, postmodern witch, etc, but really, the above descriptors comprise the bulk of what I currently do. That’ll likely change in the future, as it’s been changing for all of the fifteen years I’ve been studying and working on magick. For all I know, in two years I might consider myself a sea witch (if I somehow end up living near the ocean)! I hope you get the idea. Thanks for messaging me, and have a good December.