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The Hedge Witch has risen dramatically in the locus of popular culture over the past few years as interest in Pagan traditions and magical folklore has exponentially expanded. This is due in part to legal protections and the popularity of Wicca as a Neo-Pagan religion and the folklore inspired writings of authors like JK Rowling and Wiccan Hedge Witch Rae Beth. What is a Hedge Witch you may ask? And, what ‘s the difference between a Hedge Witch and a run of the mill witch?
First, witches like faery princesses, and dragons exist in our imagination and fantasy entertainments but witches also occupy the world of oblique reality and to this day are being brutally murdered in more bigoted parts of the Earth. It is important to acknowledge that witches are an ancient primal archetype possessing the ability to strike fear in cultures world-wide just like the Dragon, Giants, and Naga. Second, a “run of the mill witch” or typical witch simply does not exist as they vary between cultures, secular and religious practitioners including Wiccan, Thelemic and other New Age and Neo-Pagan Religions. Some practice in groups or covens; others prefer solitary pursuits. A few are exclusively identified with one sex; some are white, some are black some are green; some are known as Kitchen Witches and others as Warlocks.
The term Hedge Witch originated in reality and originates from the old English Haegtesse or Hedge Rider. A Hedge Rider or Witch is solitary practitioner of the natural healing arts and naturopathic-magic, but may work with others of their kind on rare occasions. Hedge Witches are also known as Traditional or Natural Witches and their skill sets and services depend on the person; often combining elements of divination, herbal healing and natural magic. Some practitioners claim it as the evolved art of the Cunning Folk, while others say that its’ practice is more a nature based neo-pagan religion like Wicca, which in my opinion is rather myopic and akin to saying Walt Disney invented the fairy tale. However, the histrionics of the Traditional Witch extends beyond just folklore and has ancient roots extending back to the biblical Witch of Endor and even further still in the esoteric histories of Egypt and Mesopotamia.
It is commonly believed that Hedge Witches are found world-wide. Traditionally known as the Village Witch, Witch Doctor, Kahuna La’au Lapa’au, Shaman, Wise or Cunning Woman or Man, this often misunderstood sometimes fringe member of the community consulted on any number of herbal cures, natural and supernatural remedies of spirit, mind, and body. The Hedge Witch assuaged matters of the heart often acting as a therapist, meta-physician, fertility, and virility specialist. The Hedge, once signified the outermost boundary of ancient villages, fields, and large estates. This boundary represented metaphysically the border between the world of the living and the nether-world of spiritual beings. Practitioners of this type of naturopathic-magic were often called Hedge Witches, not only because they lived in or just beyond the hedge or forest but because they were also believed to commune with spirits, as well as, affect the living with the use of natural magic and herbal remedies found in the “hedge”.
I was raised “On the Hedge” so to speak as the cultural differences between my parents where seemingly insurmountable and at times contradictory. As Intuitive consultant I identify with the Hedge Witch Archetype and draw upon both my Hawaiian healing intuitions of the Kahuna La’au Lapa’au and the hereditary Hola’e which stems from my maternal line going back 20 generations to the Kahuna Nui Pa’ao and my many years of study of western esoterica and the observations of my step-mother(of Eastern European heritage) and her powerful intuitive elucidations which both terrified and fascinated me. For hundreds of years through my paternal line our family maintained a famous well which was widely used for healing, divination, and potent wish making in the South West of England. All this says is that herbal and spiritual healing have ancient roots in my psyche and my genetic structure and Hedge Craft harnesses the mind to heal, as I understand it. As a Tarot Card consultant I utilize my understandings of these healing modalities to aid people in finding clarity and understanding in the face of their difficulties. I believe the power of the mind can create miraculous healing if properly coaxed and that overwrought thinking and stress can cause illness if left unchecked. If you have difficult questions that need answering please contact us for a consultation.
Aloha Aloe Vera
Aloes are prickly perennials found in the Lily family, these succulents brandish a multitude of fleshy tentacle like leaves often with spiny teeth lining the edges. In some remote parts of the world Aloes have been recorded growing as high as 20 meters but most measure less than a meter. Of the many varieties of Aloes, Aloe Vera renowned world-wide for its medicinal qualities, is a Hedge Witch necessity and will be the focus of our post.
Aloe Vera, Burn Plant, Medicine Plant
Aloe Vera has an ancient and storied history as a medicinal plant. It is believed that the Egyptians were the first to cultivate the plant for use in their embalming practices and the Greeks were well aware of its unique healing qualities as early as the 4th Century BC. Alexander the Great sought the plant to treat the wounds of his soldiers and Cleopatra secretly used it in her beauty regimen. It is also found in the Indian practice of Ayurvedic medicine.
The fleshy leaves of the Aloe contain a viscous juice which oozes when the leaf is cut. Aloe was Collected, often boiled down, condensed and solidified for distribution throughout the ancient world. A tiny, magical archipelago off the coast of Yemen called Socotra was the primary producer of the Aloe drug which was actively traded as a commodity in Europe as early as the 11th century AD.
Arguably Aloe Vera is the most well-known and esteemed medicinal plant in the world. Used to keep skin beautiful and healthy, Aloe Vera, is used in a multitude of modern cosmetics and hair care products and is best known for its ability to heal burns and minor wounds. Warning: do not use Aloe Vera on deep or puncture wounds and do not ingest. Aloe Vera is used as a topical application and has successfully treated dermatitis, psoriasis, frostbite, sunburn, radiation damage, minor cuts & abrasions, insect bites & stings, poison ivy, and skin ulcerations. The antifungal and antibacterial qualities of the plant helps to prevent infections and the anti-inflammatory components, glycoproteins and salicylates help stimulate skin and tissue growth. Vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc are also found in the plant that help accelerate the healing process and maintain healthy skin. It also provides pain relief for burns and cuts.
Aloe Vera is very easy to cultivate, and makes a great hedge or house plant requiring only occasional watering and adequate drainage. It should be noted that the cut leaves of the plant produce two saps. The outer skin of the Aloe leaf produces a greenish-yellow sap containing an irritant, latex-like compound known as Aloin which is used as a purgative for horses. The clear sap from the center of the leaf is what is used for topical healing.
Magical Lore: Aloe, thought to offer protection and good luck. You can wear the leaf as a talisman and hang it anywhere you wish to promote healing, peacefulness, protection and good luck. Grow it in the house to ward off accidents and burn it to attract a lover. Egyptian Muslims, regard the Aloe as a religious symbol, and hang Aloe over doorways for protection.
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Acacia is a genus of flowering shrubs and trees belonging to the subfamily Mimosoideae of the family Fabaceae. Believed to have over 1000 varieties The plants are thorny and pod-bearing, with high concentrations of tannins in the sap and leaves. The name Acacia derives from the early Greek botanist-physician Pedanius Dioscorides (bce. 40-90) who first recorded its medicinal properties. Gum Acacia and Gum Arabic are closely related to one another and share the same properties and medicinal qualities with slight potency differences.