Other than publicly identifying as a witch, I don’t typically share here about my own personal spiritual practice. However, identifying oneself as a witch does invite questions, and I’ve received some interesting ones over the years— no, I do not worship the devil; yes, I believe there are unseen energies all around us, and that we can better attune ourselves to these energies by living in communion with the earth and its inhabitants. Recently, though, I’ve had a few questions about my own personal practice as a hedge witch, and I thought I would share a bit in the hope that my experiences and practices resonate and, perhaps, inspire.
First I must clarify that I am not a Wiccan. Wicca is a neo-pagan religion popularized by Gerald Gardner in the early 20th century. I have studied it a bit, along with Animism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, Taoism, etc., but I don’t align myself with any organized religion. I am spiritual, a believer in both science and magic, and draw upon the Celtic, Gallic, and Jewish folk magic of my ancestors, as well as my own intuitive practice. I work with the moon cycles and the seasons, often marking the solstices/equinoxes and the “cross-quarter” holidays, similar to my ancestors. I identify as a hedge witch partly because my spiritual practice is so entwined with my craft. Learning about herbalism and working with botanicals is deeply spiritual for me.
I also find magic in Carl Jung’s theories on the collective unconscious and archetypes, and meditate on / work with specific deities not out of pantheistic beliefs but an awareness of their archetypal power. I have in my home an altar with tokens and figures that represent Hecate, Venus, and Cardea; and in my studio, one for Brigid. (I’m thinking of doing features on each of these deities for upcoming Folklore Files series— stay tuned!)
One of the reasons witchcraft appeals to me is the intensely personal connection to spirit that it offers, indeed a personalized connection. While I have found inspiration in the spells or rituals of others, performing them feels to me like the difference between reciting from a script and speaking my truth, and I enjoy drawing on my ancestral traditions, as well as my own experiences and skills, and “building” a spell or ritual myself.
One small way I like to do this is through making “charmed” matches. Often spells and rituals call for using different colored candles (ie, red for passion, green for growth, etc., more on that below), and I typically prefer using our all-natural beeswax candles. Instead, to invoke various energies, I tie colored embroidery thread onto wooden matches. Often I’ll braid multiple colors together, and I even occasionally break out those grade-school-friendship-bracelet-making skills, creating different patterns of knots up the shaft of the match (always leaving enough space so that it’s not a fire hazard!). Making these “charmed” matches adds another layer of intention to my spellwork, and ties me (pun intended!) to my ancestors.
In addition to specific traditions regarding thread in both Jewish and Celtic folk magic, I think about the generations upon generations of ancestors, often women, who engaged in the “domestic arts” of sewing and spinning fibers into threads. Capitalism would have us believe that these tasks have less value than, say, building skyscrapers, but I believe there is magic in the ephemeral nature of making and tending. More, I feel a strange power in the mixing of Celtic, Gallic, and Jewish folk traditions— it is a unique magic in and of itself, more reflective of its maker.
Check out my TikTok for an easy tutorial…
@hedgewitchbotanicals I’m sharing an easy element to incorporate into your #spellcrafting on the Grimoire today…🧵🔥 #hedgewitch #folkmagic ♬ Chopin Nocturne No. 2 Piano Mono – moshimo sound design
Do you “build” your own spells and rituals, or follow the suggestions of others? If you DIY, what are some things you like to incorporate, and does your practice call upon your ancestral traditions? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments!
Colors & their magical correspondences
This is by no means a definitive list, and draws upon various traditions. Should a color speak to you in a different way, follow your intuition!
- Red – Love, passion, sexuality, protection
- Orange – Clearing obstacles, new modes of thought, creativity
- Yellow – Communication, education, mental health
- Green – Growth, financial and vocational matters, strength
- Blue – Calming, emotional wellbeing, intuition
- Purple – Abundance, leadership, courage, conviction
- Pink – Friendship, ease in relationships, strength
- Brown – Physical health, connections with animals, the home
- Black – Banishing and cleansing, warding
- White – Connection to the spiritual realm, awakening ones consciousness, invocation
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