Herbs, the hedge, and getting unstuck

First, I want to clarify some language here. When I speak of hedge witchery, I refer to the material presented in Juniper’s essay. Hedge witchery, in my world, is not a synonym for a kitchen/green/herbal witch. I sometimes think of it as the “scary” witchcraft of fairy tales. If you’re not familiar with it, definitely read the essay.

See these herbs? I’ve had them for years. They still have smell, despite being in bags. They live in my closet. On very rare occasion, I might get inspired to make up an herbal charm but that’s it. Even taking out this bin to take the photo, and taking a minute or two to remind myself of what is in here, gives me that psychic itch to work with them. But they’ve gone back in the closet and who knows when I might work with them again.

For me, herbs are a symbol of my frustration. Why am I so reluctant to move forward with witchcraft? When it comes to something like working with runes, or heka influencing my speech and how I make verbal requests, there is no trouble of it becoming a part of me repertoire. Somehow, if it’s something I associate with witchcraft, I can’t get myself to move forward in that direction.

Some of this I’ve already addressed in that frustration post. Writing that out has helped, mostly in identifying the issue. But I still haven’t been able to figure out how to move forward. There have even been moments where I’ve questioned if this is what I should be doing. Soon after, though, I remembered all the outer confirmation I’ve had that this IS where I should be going.

Further, I got a reading over the weekend (the reader waited for the dark moon) which did indeed confirm that this is definitely the direction I need to go, and when I do there will be a lot of success.

The only problem is I have no idea where to set my foot next.

Interestingly, another very interesting bit of synchronicity came when I got the notes for the reading, and she picked up on the stuff I had been thinking about that very day. I was wishing for (or perhaps lamenting the lack of) a mentor or teacher who is experienced in either traditional witchcraft or hedge work. There are books which cover the reality of the subject, but they are also highly individualized paths. So what works for one may never come up for another.

Where am I going to go from here? Once she gets them in, I will be ordering some flying ointment from Stang and Cauldron, and taking a trip on the Valborg/Beltane full moon. From there… well, would it be cliche to say that the sky’s the limit?

This post is part of the Pagan Blog Project.

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9 thoughts on “Herbs, the hedge, and getting unstuck

  1. I have issues with the whole witchcraft thing, myself. I want to go down that road, but I find myself curiously unable to move forward. I think I need a push, but then again, maybe it’s more than that. Maybe a teacher would help or maybe, just maybe, it’s not quite for me. I haven’t decided yet.

    Good luck on your path.

  2. :) It’s hard for me to reply with anything other than “YAY HEDGEWITCHERY!” because this has been my primary magic for so many years (going on 30, actually). Where there’s fear there’s power, but also where there’s power, there (should be!) fear. Power is a big responsibility. And that kind of magic is powerful stuff, and shouldn’t be used lightly or with anything less than full mindfulness and intentionality.

    For me as a hedgewitch (cuz really if I’m anything, I’m that first and foremost), I only do Workings when there’s need. If there’s no need, there’s no work, ya know? And if there *is* need, I get harangued and harassed by my Powers until I do my Work. So really, the Work gets done. If you’re not doing workings right now, might it be because there isn’t compelling Need? Or if you are getting poked at by the Various and Sundries, are you refusing a call? Or is your frustration more about wanting to be in a learning way, and not having the bandwidth for delving into a learning process?

    Really at the end of the day, the one thing I know for truth is that herbs, runes, talismans, galdr, prayer, spae, pathworking, spellcasting… they’re all just tools to get shit done. You can often achieve nearly identical results with a visualization as with creating an amulet. It’s a combo of what associations you as the practitioner have with the tools at your disposal, what kind of psycho-spiritual impact your methodology has on/for the person on whose behalf you’re working (if you’re working for someone else), and what you feel comfortable with. And, of course, what the Various and Sundries are requesting. So it’s nice to have the depth of knowledge, and yay for shiny tools in the proverbial toolbox, but really, they’re just tools. YOU are the Worker – you shape the Work, you set it in motion. It don’t matter what it’s called, it matters if it works.

    One seekrit of hedge-witchery, hoodoo, rootwork, folk magic whatever you wanna call it, is that you use what you have on hand. Folk magic is a magic of pragmatism and practicality and necessity. B/c it’s your Will that drives the Work, and if you understand the core magical principles that underlie what you’re trying to do, you have endless ways of substituting if one of your core ingredients isn’t available, or if one of your tools is missing or isn’t gonna work in this situation for whatever reason. But the core underlying principles are the bits that usually don’t get talked about by actual traditional practitioners. Sometimes b/c they’ve never had to think about it in such a way as to verbalize it, sometimes b/c the theory is so deeply rooted in their culture that it’s part of what they think of as the core truths of the universe (“water is wet, I don’t need to mention that b/c it’s *obvious*”), sometimes b/c those are the “secrets” of the work that isn’t shared with outsiders.

    Obviously you and I need to hang out more, b/c I can’t seem to stop typing and it’s b/c I’m excited to talk to you about this stuff :). Sorry about the super long response…

  3. We do need to talk much more, and you just demonstrated WHY I blog as I do, because then I get ideas and can flesh out my ideas more. It’s funny that it took so long for our paths to cross, but given why and when they did, it makes perfect sense.

    So, fleshing things out.
    1. I feel somewhat stifled now because I am at a point of having so much knowledge and information at my disposal but few chances to put it into practice. That is posing a big problem. Theory as opposed to practice and implementation. There is only so much I can do for myself… but I also have not even been doing that much. Tsk tsk, considering how much mundane work I do on such subjects.

    2. Again with the teacher thing. It’s difficult being on such an individualized path, because it can be hard to learn some of the more specialized material. As well as wondering just where to take it. I do feel a level of lacking for people to interact with specifically for these subjects. Good thing I post about them so I find more of the talk.

    3. Lacking the ability to get deep into trance right now really doesn’t help much of anything. Still got enough brain fritz that I can’t pick up on anything Unseen without a lot of static along for the ride. So connecting to those allies/deities./etc. isn’t happening much.

    I think that’s the extent of what I have identified so far. Posted about this on eljay the other day as well, not sure if you got to see that one.

  4. I find it really rather ironic that you and I daresay many of us who have been on (shall we say) a ‘similar Path’ have been gravitating towards. For me it has been a process that was beginning about the time you and I saw each other last. Your little bin of herbs reminds moe of the floor to ceiling shelves lined with glass jars of herbs and the newly-created space in the basement that has been lovingly dubbed the “Craft room”. My frustration is that as I am finishing out the last week and a half of the Spring Semester, it has been nigh impossible to get the time to get all that area cleared, the carpets put down, the furnishings arranged for the space. Having done the work in the past and wanting so desperately to reconnect with it and finding that the Crooked Path of Hedgewitchery has many who are also on it and because it is so individualized it is easy to feel disconnected or distanced. I, too, want to get some of the ointments from Stang and Cauldron whenever Sarah makes up some more. The last I checked, she was sold out. There are a couple I am definitely interested in. Even as a fairly accomplished herbalist, I am not going to even attempt to do what she seems to have more than a good deal of experience doing.

    I think I am another person who really wants to spend more time chatting with you! :Miss you and love you much!

  5. So is your herbalism experience more healing then? For as long as I’ve known you, I have known you did herbal work. Has it been just that one side?

    I’m going to Retreat. Sent in reg and everything. You? There are so many people I need to connect with more when I am there. Why do I not have five extra hours in every day to take care of everything else I want to do? :)

  6. My herbalism experience is mostly healing – although the magical part of it did and does come into play, I never thought it was enough in the magical for my taste. It’s started going that way in the last year or so. I blame school and a stupid work schedule.

    I don’t know that I am going to Retreat. I think I need to concentrate on other things and my part time job is not enough to where I can really afford to go. Now, if my books and films were making enough dosh, I’d do it in a heartbeat! ;) Five hours…hmm..what is this with fives coming up for me so much? I was told to always do five things every day to put yourself closer to your goals, and I am an 11/2 with a 5 lifepath I just find the synchronicities amusing!

  7. Hey I just say what comes to mind. I don’t MEAN to be such a sibyl but it happens. ;)

    Guess we just have to talk by other means, and more often. Perhaps start piecing things together for workings and getting things going.

  8. Ah, well, I always thought you had those uncanny abilities, and there you go demonstrating it again! *g* I will drop you a note soon. I have some other related news.

    You and I will always devise other means to talk! IF the documentary gets at least a bit of its funding, then I will do the Retreat. I have to launch the campaign first, though! ;)

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