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Hedge Witchery and Other Shamanic Practices

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When I tell people that I am a hedge witch, I usually get strange looks, even from those familiar with paganism and witchcraft.  I usually end up saying "the practices are shamanic", because people better understand that.  I practice divination through the use of my tarot, astragaloi as well as through oracular divination.  Being a hedge witch means I also practice trance.  I do this through a variety of methods including dance, drumming, meditating, breathing exercises and yes, even entheogens.  While I grew up in a home that was wholly non-religious or spiritual, my grandmother (who raised me) was constantly in the garden and taught me quite a bit about the practical uses of plants.  While I never received any actual mentoring, I have been studying botany since before I began my practices 11 years ago.  While I don't recommend that the average person do this, I do grow my own plants/herbs to be made into flying ointments, teas and smokes for my own personal use.  My trance work allows me to meet and get to know spirits.  Specifically, I work with non-human spirits (such as plant spirits, land wights, elementals, etc etc.  I have no interest or need to contact human spirits/ancestors.).  My work with plant spirits allows me to practice what I call "plant spirit healing".  During a P.S.H. session, I actually channel the spirit (some might call it possession) of the appropriate plant in order to help heal someone.  I couple this with using the plants practically through the use of ointments, oils and whatnot.  So, if you were to come to me with stomach problems, I might channel the spirit of a ginger plant to help heal you as well as give you a ginger tea.  I do not do this commercially, I only do it for close friends and family, and on the rare occasion, someone they know.

These are just a few of the things I practice.  So, does anyone else here practice anything similar?

Some of my practices are shamanic and involve trance work, but I would say that a lot of Pagans practice shamanism to varying degrees.  Dancing, drumming, rattles, meditation, trance breathing, and even the rhythmic sounds found in nature are common tools to attain the trance state.  I don't see a reason to use entheogens personally, but I know others that do (or have in the past). I do work with my ancestors and have also worked quite a bit with nature spirits.

I use tarot and runes for divination as well as experiencing visions on occasion.  I think practicing divination is pretty common among Pagans as well.

Personally, I usually only use entheogens when I plan on being in an extended trance state or when travelling somewhere I haven't yet been to.  Once I am comfortable with a new "location", I'll stop using them.  I also use them during an oracular divination ritual that I do once a year.  Within my beliefs, there are seven gods that decree "fate" that I attempt to channel (not all of them always respond, but I usually get a hit from a handful of them) during this ritual and it's extremely difficult for me to keep up the trance when transitioning from one to the other.  I use "fate" lightly because it's not something that is considered to be set in stone within this faith/practice.

I honor my ancestors and keep an altar for them, but I've personally never had a need to contact them directly.

I've never felt a connection to the runes, though my astragaloi have proven to be extremely insightful.  I've used a few decks, but the one that really fits for me is the Revelations Tarot, by Zach Wong. (it's very good at looking into the emotions, thoughts and motivations of the people involved in a situation)

If you don't mind me asking, do you worship/work with any gods and how do you do so?

Ah, my path has been a rather winding one and I have worshiped many Gods and Goddesses along the way.  I have worked most directly with the Morrigan and Lilith for divination and magic but have been affected by several others from varying pantheons in visions.  I also work rather closely with my dragon guide (or maybe my fylgia) in all things.  At the beginning of this year, things changed for me significantly as a result of many things, most especially a healing session with a Peruvian shaman during which I made a connection to my ancestors and one of the Dis of my line.  I now see myself as a Heathen and worship the Norse pantheon exclusively during rites with our Kindred group.  However, I still feel connections to the Celtic pantheon and to Lilith and continue to honor them in my home.  In a lot of ways, the Celtic gods are very similar to the Norse and I think they are different expressions of the same root religion.  Heck, that could be true of any of the polytheistic faiths.   :rolleye: 

While I'm Asatru, which is pretty far from hedge witchery, I do use the runes for divination (as well as other uses), and I'm slowly learning to practice seidr, which is basically Norse shamanism. I've never been terribly in tune with the spiritual world in that sense, but it's something I'm trying to change as I open myself up to deeper forms of meditation and communion with the gods.


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