Daily Archives: January 14, 2012

Hedgewitchery vs Hearthwitchery

Today I taught someone to knit. I also made chocolate pumpkin-seed-butter cupcakes. Go me! 😀

Beyond that: My copy of To Fly By Night: Craft of the Hedgewitch arrived yesterday, and I’ve been (very slowly) getting into it. So far, my reaction is… mixed. I'm only a few essays in, so. Part of me (probably my accademic/activist brain) is hollering "Site your sources! Don't act like you can speak for 100% of hedgewitches unless you can back it up with evidence that you actually can!” But another part of me is hollering “This! Yes! Finally!!!” because it was this kind of experiential, relationship-with-your-actual-surroundings, practical yet ecstatic Stuff that I was looking for when I was (stuck) reading all those Wicca 101 books ten and fifteen years ago. It’s the bits of Starhawk’s work that appeal to me most and the bits of Paganism-as-umbrella-community that resonate best with me. It’s wonderful to actually have a set of writing like this – from a lot of different authors speaking about their different paths and experiences, no less – in my hands. Finally!

So there’s a lot of YAY going on just for that.

I appreciate the use of the term “hedge” as, consistently, another word for “veil” in the essays I’ve read so far. And I appreciate the deities who are being brought up – they may not be mine, but it’s neat to see a “lord” and “lady” who are very hunt/gather/wild-centric as opposed to the m/f pairing I’m used to seeing: A pair that are far more agrarian.

One of the essyas I read – the one by Juniper, iirc – talked about the difference between “hedgewitches” and “hearthwitches”. It’s an interesting distinction. If I understand it correctly, hearthwitchery is more about inviting the gods and spirits in to visit your “turf”, whereas headgewitchery is more about going out and meeting the gods and spirits in their own space.

By that definition, I’m definitely in the hearthwitch camp. My religion is very much garden-kitchen/hearth-table and has a lot to do with welcoming people[1] into (or protecting against people, depending on the circumstances) my space/Space. I forage, sure, but I’m foraging in an urban environment and am doing so with the goal of eventually cultivating many of the things that I forage. The plants with-which I build relationships are, far more often than not, the ones that were planted by humans – or bred by humans and sprouted in the wild – than anything that hasn’t turned up in an urban yard as a food plant or an ornamental, and I’m hesitant to harvest stuff other than fruit from a non-domesticated plant (I’ll harvest cedar from a hedge down the street, but not so much a wild-growing tree in the Gatineau Hills — that said, wild garlic-mustard and similar is, for some reason, not subject to that rule? Hrm…).

Likewise… I may invite the gods – or at least MY gods – into my space, but I’m less likely to try and crash someone else’s house-party, so to speak. Headge-witcher is a LOT more dangerous than hearthwitchery, by the looks of things. If I’m going to be interacting with deities, I’d rather do it when the obligations of guest are on them than try and get into their houses on my own.
Maybe I’m not understanding the distinction right, but that’s the impression I’ve got.


Anyway. That’s where I’m at right now. I’ll probably be writing more about this stuff as I get further through the book.

Meliad the Birch Maiden.

[1] “People” doesn’t just refer to humans – though I suspect you folks already knew that bit.