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EXPLORING GREEN AND HEDGE WITCHCRAFT 1

Exploring Green and Hedge Witchcraft

Scott Allen Gould

Author Note

This research is being submitted on December 22, 2009 to the Pagan Pentacle web site by Scott

Gould (a.k.a. Roaming Nature).


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Exploring Green and Hedge Witchcraft

Athame, wand, and sword…Pentacle, candles, and bell…Statues, robe, rope…First Degree,

Second Degree, Third Degree… The system of organization and tools of practice may have

relevance to some individuals; however, others do not view it that way. The structure and

symbols may be viewed as intricately placed wrapping paper, bows, and tape that hide the true

spiritual contents within. For this reason, Green Witchcraft and Hedge Witchcraft are worthy of

examination.

Ann Moura, author, is often mentioned in discussions regarding Green Witchcraft. Indeed, this

is to be expected since she is the writer of several works involving the subject. In her book,

Green Witchcraft: Folk magic, fairy lore, & herb craft, she asserts that the Green aspects of

magic do not involve structured rituals and a lot of flare that some individuals use to develop a

link with the Divine. Instead, they are the underlying core to many traditions—the spiritual

contents of the package.

Green witches, according to Rose Ariadne, are normally solitary witches that maintain a deeper

bond with nature than their Wiccan counterparts. This may be prejudice of her own, but she

does provide some decent information about this practice. Green Witches are highly

environmental individuals who honor nature outdoors and through use of herbs in their everyday

practices. Their exposure to the elements—earth, wind, sun, rain, etc.—strengthens their

magickal workings (2008).

In her article, “How Witchcraft Works” (2004), Lee Ann Obringer likens the Green Witch to a

Cottage or Kitchen witch. This is true in respect to the use of herbs in magickal workings as well

as the use of readily accessible materials for tools. Obringer details that the one distinguishing
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factor is the place of worship for the two. Whereas a Cottage or Kitchen witch can usually be

found working within the home or hearth, the Green Witch prefers to worship outside.

Her description of the two practices, however, brings to light another difference. A Cottage

witch may be found within several different traditions. This serves to note that the title of

Cottage or Kitchen witch does not imply a specific tradition of Witchcraft; but, instead, points

only to the use of magick around the home and hearth. Keeping in mind that the Green Witch is

normally solitary; one might be able to say that Green Witchcraft, though variable from

individual to individual, is a specific tradition.

When it comes down to defining Green Witchcraft, it can be said that it is different for every

practitioner. It can be said, however, that most practice in a solitary manner. The structure and

symbols of a coven are not necessary for the Green Witch. Magick is apart of his or her daily

life and stems from the relationship one has with Nature and the Divine.

What, then, is a Hedge Witch? Some refer to a Hedge Witch and a Green Witch as synonymous.

In some respects, they may be.

Rea Beth (cited in What is a hedge witch) defines a Hedge Mystic as “a person who studies and

practices the Great Mysteries of Nature” (n.d.). The name is related to the hedge or woods the

surrounded old European villages. The Hedge Witch or Mystic would normally live just beyond

this border (What is a hedge witch, n.d.).

In essence, these were the wise men or women of the village (Obringer, 2004). They were

known and revered for their use and knowledge of herbs; attunement with nature; and their

abilities in divination, prophesy, magic, and healing. Hedge Witches had a large sense of

community involvement through the use of their abilities. In addition to being sought for

healing, it was not uncommon to seek out the Hedge Mystic for protection, the blessing of a

home, as a midwife, or to preserve crops and livestock because of his or her ability to stand in
EXPLORING GREEN AND HEDGE WITCHCRAFT 4

both the physical and spiritual worlds (Morningstar, n.d.). Hedge Witches were also teachers.

They taught others ways to learn from the nature around them (What is a hedge witch, n.d.).

Hedge Witches were not tied to any specific magickal tradition. Practices were based around

nature and the change of the seasons versus the use of a calendar, and the magick of each was

unique to his or her solitary practice (Morningstar, n.d.). This may be explained by the lack of

rhetoric. Hedge Witches learn and teach by word of mouth. These oral communications were

either passed on through the family and/or by a former village Witch (What is a hedge witch,

n.d.).

Small villages make way to large metropolitan areas that are not usually defined with a

surrounding hedge. The Hedge Witch of today may or may not live on the outskirts. Most

likely, one still frequents and communes with the undeveloped natural surroundings that are

available whenever possible (i.e. parks and preserves). If history is indeed passed through the

ages, then Hedge Witches play an active role in the community; the environment; and in

healthcare networks. Their oral practices probably follow the same evolutionary path as nature

through additions and deletions—making each a unique tradition.

Are Green Witches and Hedge Witches one and the same? In some respects they are. Through

evaluation, one might surmise that every Hedge Witch is a Green Witch; but not every Green

Witch is a Hedge Witch. The defining characteristic seems to be the amount of community

involvement each has or how one uses his or her knowledge.

An appealing trait shared by Green and Hedge Witches is the lack of organizational structure.

Sally Morningstar says it best with, “Magic is everywhere—it is simply a question of knowing

how to use it!” (n.d.).


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References

Ariadne, R. (2008, February 22). What is Green magick? [Newsgroup message]. Retrieved from

Ask Rose Ariadne: http://www.askroseariadne.com/‌what-is-green-magick.html

Morningstar, S. (n.d.). Being a hedgewitch. In Sally Morningstar: Hedgewitch. Retrieved

December 22, 2009, from http://www.sallymorningstar.com/‌hed.htm


EXPLORING GREEN AND HEDGE WITCHCRAFT 6

Moura, A. (2003). The green. In R. Zins (Ed.), Green Witchcraft: Folk magic, fairy lore & herb

craft (pp. 1-22). St. Paul, MN: Llewellyn Publications. (Original work published 1996)

Obringer, L. A. (2004, October 29). How witchcraft works [Newsgroup message]. Retrieved

from HowStuffWorks.com: http://people.howstuffworks.com/‌witchcraft2.htm#

What is a hedge witch? (n.d.). Hedge Witch Hollow: Library. Retrieved December 22, 2009,

from Hedge Witch Hollow website:

http://www.angelfire.com/‌folk/‌greenwitch/‌sacred.html