What is a Hedge Witch?

What is a Hedge Witch?

The meaning of the word Hedge Witch as I use it is more related to the older praxis of hedge-riders, murk-riders, or even word-riders and is not used as a simple descriptive term that encompasses the somewhat misguided and romantic notions of solitary Witches tooling about in their gardens by the light of the moon (an idea that is often erroneously coupled with Kitchen Witchery).

I have intentionally replaced the i in the second half of the word with a y as to differentiate it from the meaning that has been somewhat corrupted by Rae Beth and her followers who practice what I believe she terms Wildwood Crafting.

My use of the label Hedge Witch is a specific term that draws on the vast knowledge of Wortcunning in order to create salves and balms and use of Trance States used for lifting the spirit out of the body — to travel oot and aboot as it were. This is hardly the sort of work one would want to be solitary while doing. To even consider it would be foolhardy and potentially dangerous.

The Hedge itself is representative of the boundary, not only of the village or community where the Hedge Witch resides, but the boundaries between this world and the other world, between the mundane and the spirit world.

About HedgeWytchery

In Sapphic dreams, beyond the gloaming.
Where Winter's spirits have gone roaming.
There lies the root of all my sorrow
It waits for me at the edge of morrow.

If you be quick enough to rise,
With grains of sleep still in your eyes.
Perhaps then you will also see,
What has caused me untold misery.

© Dawn R. Jackson

The purpose of this site is to share with you some of my thoughts and feelings and experiences while on this path of discovery so that you may have a better understanding how I found my way to many of my beliefs and practices within this Traditional Witchcraft framework.

I am companion and friend to those with similar spiritual interests and inclinations and I offer my trust and words of truth to those that call me friend and hope the same to be given in return. I leave darkened breads and honey'd milk as gifts beneath the Elder tree. I tread my Compass path beneath the pale Moonlight. I fan bright my Sacred Fire in the heart of Woods at midnight. I listen to the Voices of the Spirits of the Leaf, the Blossom, the Bud, and the Fruit of the Greenwood. I sing the Old Songs and make the Calls to Change. I plant my Stang in Sandy Fields at Water's edge. I follow the Serpent's Tracks within and without. Born in High Summer, in July, that makes me a Daughter of the Moon.

Thank you for visiting The Cottage of the Hedge Witch
and we hope to see you again.

The Cottage Gate will always be open for you...

By Stars in Stones,

Be Well, Dawn

There you and I my loves,
There you and I will lie,
When the cross of resurrection is broken
And our time has come to die,
For no more is there weeping
For no more is there death
Only the golden sunset,
Only the golden rest.

© Robert Cochrane

Credits & Kudos

Be thankful if life is a little harder than you like.
A razor can't be sharpened on a piece of velvet.

Many of the decorative illustrations found here at the Cottage are woodcuts associated with Witchcraft from the 15th century and upwards. Many of the images were found at an exhibit entitled The Damned Art. The font used for the page banners is Beowulf by Peter S. Baker.

Editor's Note. This site was redesigned in Framer and coded using teachings from One Month's HTML & CSS course. Aside from the mobile-responsiveness and accessibility upgrades, the overall design has been unchanged for over twenty years. The site is hosted on Neocities.

Some written material has been excerpted from a variety of sources and authors.

I owe an immeasurable debt of gratitude to those persons listed below for their personal inspiration and for the creativity and wisdom they have shared in their many written works — both published and non, as well as for the many letters and items of personal correspondence that I have had the pleasure to read and respond to.

Robert Cochrane

Joseph Wilson

Nigel Jackson

Nigel Pennick

Evan John Jones

Doreen Valiente

Margaret Murray

Robert Graves


George Ewart Evans

Katharine Briggs

Venetia Newall

Owen Davies

Thomas Keightly

Lewis Spence

William Butler Yeats

W. Y. Evans Wentz

AE (George) Russell

Ronald Hutton

Mircea Eliade

Erica Jong

T.C. Lethbridge

An Arteful Anonymous Witch

Excerpts from The Masque of Queenes — Ben Jonson

1. Charme
Dame, Dame, the watch is set:
Quickly come, we all are met.
From the lakes, and from the fennes,
From the rockes, and from the dennes,
From the woods, and from the caues,
From the church-yards, from the graues,
From the dungeon, from the tree,
That they die on, here are wee.
Comes she not yet?
Strike another heate.

2. Charme
The weather is fayre, the wind is good,
Vp, Dame, o'yor Horse of wood:
Or else, tuck vp yor gray frock,
And sadle yor Goate, or yor greene Cock,
And make his bridle a bottome of thrid,
To roule vp how many miles you have rid.
Quickly come away;
For we, all stay.
Nor yet? Nay, then.
Wee'll try her again.

3. Charme
The owle is abroad, the Bat, and the Toade,
And so is the Cat-a-Mountaine;
The Ant, and so the Mole sit both in a hole,
And Frog peepes out o' the fountayne;
The Dogges they do bay, and the Timbrells play,
The Spindle is now a-turning;
The Moone it is red, and the starres are fled,
But all the sky is a burning:
The Ditch is made, and or nayles the spade,
With pictures full, of waxe, and of wooll:
Theyr livers I stick, with needles quick
There lacks but the blood, to make vp the flood.
Quickly Dame then, bring yor part in,
Spur, spur, upon little Martin,
Merely, merely, make him sayle,
A worme in his mouth and a thorne in's tayle,
Fire above, and fire below,
With a Whip i' your hand, to make him goe,
O, now, shee's come!
Let all be dumbe.


1. I haue bene, all day, looking after
A Rauen, feeding upon a Quarter;
And, soone as she'd turn'd her beake to ye South,
I snatch'd this morsel out of her Mouth.

2. I haue been gathering Wolues hayres,
The mad Doggs foame, and the Adders eares;
The spurging of a dead mans eyes,
And all, since the Euening Starre did rise.

3. I, lay last night, all alone,
O' the ground, to heare the Mandrake grone;
And pluck'd him vp, though he grew full low,
And as I had done, the Cock did crow.

4. And I ha' bene choosing out this scull,
From Charnell-houses, that were full;
From private grotts; and publique pitts;
And frighted a Sexten our of his witts.

5. Vnder a cradle I did creepe,
By day; and when the Child was a-sleepe,
At night, I suck'd the breath and rose,
And pluck'd the nodding nurse, by the nose.

6. I had a dagger, what did I with that?
Kill'd an infant, to have his fat.
A Piper it got, at a Church-ale,
I bad him, agayne blow wind i' the tayle.

7. A Murd'rer, yonder, was hung in Chaines,
The Sunne, and the Wind had shrunke his vaynes.
I bit if a sinew, I clip'd his hayre,
I brought of his ragges, yt daunc'd i' the ayre.

8. The Scritch-owles egges, and the fethers black,
The blood of the Frog, and the bone in his back,
I have been getting, and made of his skin
A purset, to keepe Sir Cranion in.

9. And I ha' bene plucking, plants among,
Hemlock, Henbane, Adders-tongue,
Night-shade, Moone wort, Libbards-bane;
And, twise, by the Doggs was like to be tane.

10. I from the iawes of a Gard'ners Bitch
Did snatch these bones & then lep'd ye ditch;
Yet, went I back to the house agayne;
Kill'd the black Cat; and here's ye brayne.

11. I went to the Toade breedes vnder the wal,
I charm'd him out, & he came at my call;
I scratch'd out ye eyes o' the Owle before;
I tore the Batts wings: What would you haue more?

The sticks are a crosse, there can be no losse;
The Sage is rotten, the Sulphur is gotten
Vp to the skye, that was i' the ground.
Follow it, then, wth or rattles, round;
Vnder the bramble, ouer the brier,
A little more heate will set it on fire;
Put it in mind, to doe it kind,
Flow water and blow wind.
Rouncy is ouer, Robble is vnder.
A flash of light, and a clap of thunder,
A storme of rayne, another of hayle,
We all must come home i' the egg-shell sayle;
The Mast of made of a great pin,
The tackle of Cobweb, the Sayle as thin,
And if we go through, and not fall in—

Stay; All our Charmes do nothing win.

The Dame's Child

Clouds rode high and the winds were wild
My blood sang loud, I was the Lady's child
'Neath argent moon, in compass round
The gale's hoary whine the only sound

Cunning flames from sparks were born
As smoke and mist took shape and form
Across the field the only knell
Came from the sound of one lone bell

Below the cloak of stars I stood.
Within the Lady's Sacred Wood
And in the silence of the Night
Blessed was I with Faery Sight

My eyes were closed yet I could see
All round in crystal clarity
I saw the smoke curl round the chair
As if the Dame, if She sat there

I knew then that she dwelt everywhere
And in myself, I found Her there...

© Dawn R. Jackson