How to Become a HEDGE Witch: 6 Essential Steps
There’s been a misconception about what a hedge witch is and isn’t in the pagan community. In this article, I’ll clear up the misconceptions as well as teach you the essential steps on how to become a hedge witch. Most of the skills needed are already inside of you, waiting to be cultivated and released. Join me in an adventure over the hedge.
How to Become a Hedge Witch
A hedge witch is much more than just a witch who tends a garden hedge. He or she is much more than a witch who works with herbs and home remedies. The hedge witch is a symbolic hedge rider, meaning he or she crosses the “hedge” between this world and the spirit world. The practice of hedge witchery is indelibly shamanic in nature. Are herbs used in the hedge witch’s practice? Yes! But the hedge witch’s main focus is on lifting the veil between humans and spirits – being able to cross into the realm of the dead and the gods and come back again. So how do we begin to learn how to become a hedge witch?
Some people don’t want to hear how important meditation is, but I’m here to tell you it’s essential. Meditation gives us the ability to turn off our busy, mundane minds and reach out with our souls to connect with the spiritual world. It is in this “alpha state”, as Laurie Cabot calls it, where we are able to receive visions and messages from the gods and spirits, clear blockages in our chakras and energy fields, and travel to other realms on spiritual missions. Meditation doesn’t have to be difficult, though. Start out with FREE guided meditations on YouTube, Spotify, etc. and go from there.
Just as important as meditation is the ability to dream. Can’t remember your dreams? Start by keeping a dream journal. Set it on your nightstand and every morning when you wake up, write down anything you remember from that night. Even if its just bits and pieces of dreams or only feelings. You’ll notice after making a habit of this that your dream recall will become increasingly better until you’re remembering three or more dreams a night! The hedge witch who meditates also dreams easily and vice versa – dreams and meditation are connected, after all. It is within our dreams we are also able to receive messages, recall past lives, travel to other realms, and heal.
Along the same lines as meditation is the ability to go into a trance. The hedge witch will learn the ability to put on shamanic drumming and switch his or her mind into the trance-state. This is pretty much like entering the alpha state of mind using a mental trigger, so to speak. Some say a difference between trance and meditation is that trance is deeper and allows you to “journey” up and down the World Tree as opposed to meditation which is mostly a state of relaxation. I disagree. I believe meditation can take you into a deep trance if you allow it, but getting into a trance using shamanic drumming or dancing is also achievable with practice. Try different things – dancing, shamanic music of different kinds, etc. and see what puts you into that open mind where your soul journeys or you acquire strong visions, etc.
Most people believe you can learn how to become a hedge witch by learning and working with herbs. This is a part of being a hedge witch but not the main practice. Herbs can be used to enhance your hedge witch practice, but, to be honest, I’ve found they aren’t required to cross the hedge. That being said, some of the hedge witch herbs include herbs that can be made into smudge bundles and then used to clear space before meditation, trance, or ritual. Hedge witches learn which herbs are made into teas before bed to induce dreaming. Herbal salves and oils can be made and used to anoint the witch’s power points before meditation, shapeshifting, etc. It takes many years to learn herbs (a lifetime truly) so do your research thoroughly before taking herbs internally or applying topically.
Growing a Hedge Witch’s Garden
The term “hedge witch” is symbolic but the symbolism came from somewhere, right? Back in the day, witches were thought to tend an actual plant-hedge that separated her space from the world outside. So to be a hedge witch means to be able to cross the hedge between the physical and spiritual, but it also means you have an intimate knowledge of plants and gardening. Learning to grow your own herbs in pots or a full-blown garden is beneficial to your practice, even if you can only afford to grow a few herbs.
5. Genus Loci
Hedge witches are often solitary witches with a deep love and reverence for their environment. This means they get outside, they work with the plants and trees in their local area, and they get to know the wildlife on a personal, soul-level. Connecting with the genus loci (spirits of place) is an essential part of learning how to become a hedge witch. These spirits will act as guides and guardians for you in the spiritual realm and can be called upon when the hedge witch is in need of strength, protection, healing, etc. So get to know your local spirits – the trees, plants, rivers, oceans, mountains, hills, animals, and insects.
The hedge witch has the ability to shapeshift. I don’t necessarily mean a werewolf or selkie, per se, but let me explain. Shapeshifting is a shamanic skill dating back thousands of years and was performed by witches for centuries. During the Dark Ages, witches confessed to being shapeshifters in order to perform their magic. A good example is the Scottish witch Isobel Gowdie. Emma Wilby, a modern witchcraft scholar, wrote an entire book on the confessions of this woman. Some of Isobel’s confessions discussed her ability to shift into the form of a hare. Shapeshifting is also a way to journey into the other realms in disguise and protected from other beings who could do you harm. Put it this way – you could slip through someone’s garden as a rabbit more undetected than as a full-grown human being, right? Same thing with crossing the hedge into the otherworld.
How to Start Shapeshifting
Shapeshifting occurs in dreams, astral projection, in meditation and trance. Sometimes it’ll happen naturally, without your willing it to be so, while other times you will want to try it yourself. During meditation try holding a feather, bone, or some other animal item in your hand. Focus on the energy, the life, and the soul of that particular animal. This is the beginning to learning how to shapeshift – getting into the mind and “body” of the being you want to shift into.
7. Flying Ointments
The hedge witch engages in many trance-like states and rituals including “flying” to other realms. This is done in conjunction with dreamwork and trance ritual – making your own flying ointment is a powerful experience. Do your research on what herbs and oils will work best together. Read our article here for non-toxic recipes and the history of flying ointments. The idea that witches can fly comes from the old school witches using flying ointments to put them in an otherworldly state of mind.
What’s the Purpose of a Hedge Witch?
Now that you’ve learned how to become a hedge witch or hedge rider, maybe you’re wondering what’s the point to it. Hedge witches are the modern version of the village healer, wise woman, or shaman from the old days. They learn how to travel into the other realms to gain spiritual knowledge for others and for themselves. They also learn how to use this knowledge and their knowledge of herbs to heal, protect, and advise others in need. A hedge witch acts as a mediator between the human world and the spirit world. Not everyone has the ability to cross the hedge and speak to the spirits and gods, do they? This is the purpose of the hedge witch.