FOCUS ON: Witchcraft

FOCUS ON: HEDGE/KITCHEN/GREEN WITCHCRAFT

This issue, we have decided to cover three styles of modern witchcraft in our Focus On: series. These styles all share common themes: herbalism, hearth and home work, and celebrating the world around us. These descriptions will focus more on spellcraft than specific beliefs, as all are eclectic and follow very personal paths, with different deities and belief systems - even secular (not believing in deities) - found in all.




KITCHEN WITCHERY

You'll always find me in the kitchen at parties

Kitchen witchery is fairly self explanatory; it focuses on the kitchen as the heart and hearth of the home.

Witchcraft begins with growing and preparing one's own ingredients - herbs in the planter on the windowsill, carrots in the veg patch in the garden - and then harvesting them and including them in cooking, baking and preparation of food. Food in itself can be considered a kind of magic; feeding someone is an act of love and kindness, and incorporating feelings and intent into spellwork is a foundation of many forms of witchcraft.

Kitchen witches may plant their seeds with intent, include sigils or spells written on biodegradable paper when planting, will carefully select ingredients for different meals and bakes, can use herbalism by means of selecting herbs with specific properties for specific reasons, and may incorporate aspects of preparation into their craft - for example, stirring a dish widdershins, or adding sigils and runes in sauces or drizzles.

'Kitchen witch' was also the name for a type of poppet from Northern Europe placed in the kitchen as a good luck charm



HEDGEWITCHERY

Hedgewitches are notoriously solitary, preferring to eschew covens and work alone. The word 'hedge' is of course linked with the idea of a boundary, and wise women and medicine men, the cunning folk of old, were often found living beyond the village boundary, on the edge of society. 'Hedge' comes from 'haeg', which is remarkably similar to the word 'hag', a derogatory word often used in place of 'witch'.


Hedgewitchery involves the study of plants, often in great depth, learning their names and uses both magical and non magical. It is deep rooted in herbal magic, and eclectic in nature, following the paths of the seasons as they relate to the harvesting of crops, and those who worship deities will often pick and choose who they work with, with no two witches having the same relationship with their gods and goddesses.




Hedgewitches are associated with herbal medicine and aromatherapy, and will likely have a natural remedy on hand for a scraped knee or stress. Their work may veer into kitchen witchery somewhat, but the focus is more on the use of plants as opposed to cooking and baking.

Some believe that as hedges are the boundary between a village and the wilds, so too are they a form of boundary between this world and the spirit realm, and it is acknowledged that some hedgewitches are adept at astral projection and walk the thin line between worlds, with the ability to transfer messages and holding powers of divination.



GREEN WITCHCRAFT

A green witch shares many similarities with a hedgewitch, but also some differences. Green witches are often solitary and have a great interest in herbalism and the study of plants. However, green witches may also have an increased affiliation with the elements - fire, earth, air, and water - and also with the environment as a whole. A green witch may channel magic back into the earth by something seemingly mundane such as litter picking, recycling, or eating a plant based diet.

Green witches are often nurturing house plants to flourish, being well versed in the correct care for each type they have. Walks in woodland are commonplace, and a favoured magical practice is earthing - being barefoot and mindful, allowing yourself to feel the earth under your feet and appreciate its energy.






FURTHER READING

Rae Beth - Hedge Witch: A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft (1990, ISBN 978-0709048510) Doreen Valiente - Natural Magic (1999, ISBN 978-0709064503)

Paul Bayerl - The Master Book of Herbalism (1998, ISBN 978-0919345539)


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