The Essence of Slow Magick
The path of the Hedge Witch is often a solitary one, which is not to say her gifts cannot benefit others. The term Hedge Witch originates from a time when clusters of civilization were delineated by forests. Where the village met, the forest was referred to as the hedge. One could find an herbalist and healer who possessed tinctures, elixirs, and essences at this hedge. This healer or Hedge Witch knew the lay of the land and the healing therein so well that the townspeople would turn to them for all matter of ailment or complaint, spiritual and physical.
Since the beginning, Hedge Witches have been known for their deep love and reverence for the environment, animal familiars, guides, and ancestors. Building relationships with local trees, wildlife, creatures, and energies from beyond the veil. The path of the Hedge Witch is self-sustaining. They learn the art of ancestral communication, shamanic journeying, and astral projection in the hopes of learning new recipes and remedies in the spiritual realm and using these recipes for transcendence to gain even further wisdom regarding healing, protection, and empowerment of mind, body, and spirit.
While a Hedge Witch's path is individual, she is far from alone. A Hedge Witch is always finding new ways to bring magick into her world, even with seemingly mundane tasks like sweeping the floors or weeding the garden, yet the magick she works is ancient. Hedge Witchery necessitates respect for all that has come to pass and all that the ancestors have already accomplished. He or She will walk with them on shamanic journeys or invoke their wisdom through divination, finding harmony with their natural world, and the Spiritual realms. The path of the Hedge Witch is to separate oneself from harried toil and instead find rhythm, balance, and harmony with Spirit and Mother Earth, knowing that with time they will both reveal their secrets.
In this rhythm, path and purpose are revealed, and strength is built. A witch will soon realize she is not using the gifts of Mother Earth but working with Mother Earth, a generous mother but one with her own timing and cycles that must be honored. Just as tradition serves as a unifying force throughout generations, the lifecycles of birth, death, rebirth, and regeneration of the season's, lunar cycles, and harvest are what unities the witch to Gaia and his or her higher purpose.
A Hedge Witch draws the parallels between her magick and the magick of nature's cycles. Take, for instance, the sunflower who grows bright and tall, a symbol of vitality. As the sunflower is plucked, she provides for her rebirth as her seeds fall to the fertile ground to begin anew. Or consider the herbs, flowers, and plants the thoughtful witch tucks away and preserves before Samhain knowing while their lifecycle soon ends, they will serve her well in welcoming Imbolc or Beltane. For this kind of foresight, a witch must study their craft, relishing in each moment of reflection and each new lesson and insight. It is not about amassing an abundance of understanding as quickly as possible. It is about learning lessons well and a willingness to observe nature long enough so Gaia can show you the way.
When you grow your own magickal herbs, flowers, and plants, the rapport you build strengthens the spells and rituals they contribute to. You not only get to know your magickal ingredients on a deeper level, the soul of the plant aligns more with your energy and purposes. This is the essence of Slow Magick. It is communing with and honoring the entire life cycle of a plant to fully realize yourself and your craft. It is a lifelong practice through which the earth's wisdom is revealed. The value of this magick is not going slow for the sake of it. It is about giving your rituals, spells, plant-based ingredients, and Mother Earth the needed space to get things done correctly, with integrity and honor.
Slow Magick requires a sincere yearning to connect with the earth as a living, breathing, soulful entity. Just as the Triple Goddess can reflect all aspects of who we are, Mother Gaia reflects our darkness, victories, transitions, and growth. Slow Magick is about walking hand in hand with nature. A Hedge Witch grows, harvests her herbs and flowers, takes them home, dries them, observes these plants through all their changes and transformations, and thoughtfully mixes, infuses, or burns the herbs as he or she learns more about themselves and their magick.
A witch's plants are her friends and familiars. He or she will never take more than they need, at times leaving offerings for Gaia, the harvest, wildlife, or fae. A practitioner of Slow Magick knows that the abundance of the earth can all serve a purpose towards healing and magick, just as the so-called "pests," like insects and groundhogs, do the same. A Hedge Witch does her best to contribute to nature, always striving to leave it as fruitful as she found it.
Magick can be quick, but a witch can learn a lot from slowing down. Often, the time it takes to fully cultivate Slow Magick teaches one a lot about themselves and their resolve. When Mother Earth is put first, uncertainty may arise within us but pressing on has a great deal to say about our tenacity, will, and dedication to our growth and craft.
For anyone seeking to find themselves, Slow Magick can take them on a path of self-discovery and realization. Earth wisdom abounds when we commit ourselves to Mother Earth, living in harmony with all of humanity, nature, wildlife, and ultimately the world of Spirit.
Through this connection to this world and the world beyond the veil, a Hedge Witch learns to ride the hedge, journeying either in mind, body, or spirit to higher realms and states of consciousness. Through shamanic journeys, astral projection, and dreamwork, a witch can fill her soul and everyday life with more magick, seeing the beauty and majesty within and all around her more fully.
Another valuable lesson for the Hedge Witch is the value of preparedness and foresight. A witch must understand there is a time and a season for all things. This is part of the sanctity of nature. It is about striking a balance between living in the moment and planning for the future, a reverence for the cycle of life, death, and rebirth. Take meadowsweet, for instance. The leaves should be harvested by fall. Yet, having meadowsweet to welcome spring during Imbolc or in the summer for Beltane festivities is a beautiful way to manifest blessings and sweeten the season in many ways.
Another example is rock rose, valued for its flowers and its resin. It blooms throughout spring and summer. The blossoms governed only by Gaia's rhythms, open with dawn, lasting only several hours before their petals drop. Still, this delicate flower is a powerful healer, spiritual ally, and guardian throughout the winter months. Meadowsweet and rock rose are merely two examples of how plant life can teach a willing witch the value of observation, preservation, and patience.
An inquisitive witch can gain even more insight about a plant's spirit from its lore and mythology. According to Welsh myth, Blodeuwedd was made of oak and meadowsweet. "Flower Face" is a goddess of emotions and ceremony, but she also conspired to kill her husband because she loved another. A reminder of the qualities of shadow and light in everything and everyone, highlighting the importance of universal balance.
The lore of rock rose is told as Olympus's gods came together to decide which plants would take on what healing properties. The gods were determined that rock rose would heal wounded warriors. However, the goddesses took issue, asserting that such a beautiful pink blossom was better suited to beauty and grace both within and out. A deal was struck! The plant would be for physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing and care. Speaking the power of a hedge witch's intention and instinctual understanding of the flora she encounters.
This does not mean a hedge witch is led solely by her fancies. His or her work is laborious, thoughtful, and precise. It is no small thing traveling between worlds and states of consciousness or meticulously tending, harvesting, and preserving plants to benefit your rituals, spells, and spirit. A lifetime commitment to study the craft, realize self, and honor Gaia must first be made. This commitment is made with the understanding that at times a witch may have more questions than answers, having to wait seasons or years for truths to be revealed.
However, there is no passivity in the waiting. A witch is always dutiful to her craft. It is her pleasure and delight to watch, listen, experiment, and reflect. Because this the heart's calling of a hedge witch, he or she will never ask nature to speed up or accommodate the rushed pace of modern life, knowing that the best things in life are often worth the wait.