Hedge Riding: The Art of the Hedge Witch

Bringing the Hedge back into Hedge Witchcraft, working with liminal spaces and the Otherworld

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The Moon Path Part Two

Last month I began to write about the relationship between the moon and the witch. Let's continue the discussion here. 

There are many different names for the various moons throughout the yearly cycle, and perhaps the most famous of all is the Coligny Calendar, a Gallic lunar calendar dating back to the 2nd century. Indeed, we derive the word “month” from the word “moon”, and so to follow a lunar calendar in our Craft makes perfect sense. In the Coligny calendar, the moons start from the sixth night of the waxing moon, and are described as thus: 

Month Name

Length of Days


Time Period







Darkest Depths




Cold Time




Stay At Home Time




Time of Ice




Time of Winds




Shoots Show




Time of Light/Brightness




Horse Time




Claim Time




Arbitration Time




Song Time




Sun's March

Intercalary[1] *

 There are other lunar calendars used in the Craft, such as the Medieval English Moon names, which may begin on either the dark or the full moon, depending upon how you wish to use them: 


Wolf Moon


Mead Moon


Storm Moon


Corn Moon


Chaste Moon


Barley Moon


Seed Moon


Blood Moon


Hare Moon


Snow Moon


Dyan Moon


Oak Moon[2]

 Finding your own name for the full moons and lunar tides can have great meaning to your Craft. You may like to use names that reflect what is happening in your local area at the time. For instance, if you don’t live in an area where corn or barley grow, you might like to change the name of the August and September moons to reflect a local phenomenon. Alternatively, you could use the old names to honour the ancestral tides if you have ancestral ties to certain areas. Naming the moons makes it more personal, and allows us to fully immerse ourselves in the lunar energies.

Rituals that take place during certain moon times, and indeed at any other time other than the solar-orientated Sabbats (see next chapter) are called esbats in Wicca and much of Modern Witchcraft. So, we might perform a Full Moon Esbat, or a full moon ritual in our Craft. This comes from the French term s’esbattre, which means “to frolic”.[3] This is a term used especially in Wicca today, to denote rituals other than Sabbats. There will be an example of a full moon ritual in a later section of this book.

In Witchcraft we feel the cycles of the moon in our blood and in our bones. Our energy often reflects those cycles, with the dark moon being times of introspection and quiet, while the full moon can be times of celebration and high energy. Women see the 28- 29 day cycle of the moon reflected in their menses, with the dark moon energy equating to the bleeding time, the waxing moon the building of uterine lining, the full moon as ovulation, the waning moon as the breakdown of uterine lining, and back to the dark moon and the bleeding time once again. We can also see the moon in the cycle of a person’s life, from birth, infancy and early childhood, to teenage years, then maturity and middle age to old age and death. Wicca often honours a triple goddess of the moon, seeing the goddess reflected in the waxing, full and waning aspects as maiden, mother and crone. However, many now in Wicca and Witchcraft are honouring all four phases of the moon, which includes the dark moon, and may prefer to follow a maiden, mother, queen and crone version instead. Triple goddesses were often in the myths and tales sisters, and not of differing ages, and so this triple moon goddess of maiden, mother and crone is seen as a modern invention, as is the later quadruple version. If either of these appeal to you, then by all means use them.

There are many goddesses of the moon in Witchcraft, although in Pagan traditions across the world the moon isn’t always associated with the female aspect, nor the sun with a male aspect. In Ireland the sun was viewed as a female divinity, while in Norse traditions the moon was male. The majority, however in Witchcraft associate the moon with the female, and so here are some goddesses that are found in the various traditions: 

Andraste: sometimes known as Andred, this is a Celtic goddess associated with battle, but also with divination and the moon, and was most famously called upon by the Iceni Queen Boudicca for divine retribution against her enemies from Rome.  The name Andraste equates with Victory, or the Invincible or Indomitable.

Aradia: daughter of the Roman moon goddess Diana, and taught witchcraft to humanity.

Arduinna: Gallic goddess of the moon, the forest and hunting. The boar was her sacred animal.

Arianrhod: a Welsh goddess, often known as the Lady of the Silver Wheel, from the Welsh arian, "silver," and rhod, "wheel". Her fortress, Caer Arianrhod, is connected with a rock formation visible off the coast of northern Gwynedd at low tide.

Artemis: a Greek goddess who changes her aspect, sometimes seen as a maiden, sometimes as a mother and sometimes even with darker, more violent aspects including sacrifice. She is usually depicted as a classical goddess with lunar associations, but mostly as the chaste huntress.

Diana: Roman goddess of the moon, whose name means divine or brilliant. Often referred to as Queen of the Witches.

Hecate: this Greek goddess’ triple aspect has perhaps been the inspiration for the modern triple goddess aspect of the moon the most, and who was invoked by magicians with the sigil of a crescent moon pointing upwards, with a third point nestled within.

Luna: Roman goddess of the moon, sometimes part of a triplicate with Propserina and Hecate

Selene: Greek goddess who drives her moon chariot across the sky.

 As stated previously, some who follow the arts of Witchcraft do not revere deity in any shape or form, and this is perfectly acceptable in the path. It can be seen as a practice and a way of life, with no need of deity or religion. To each their own.

In Modern Witchcraft and Wicca, you will often hear the term “Drawing Down the Moon”. This is part of a ritual where two things may occur: the Witch may draw the energies of the moon down into her, to purify, energise, refresh her energy or to simply commune with this energy, or she might aspect the Goddess through the symbolism of the moon into her body in a trance state, bringing the Goddess into her consciousness and merging with Her. These are two very different practices, which we will look at later in the Ritual Concepts section.

The Hedge Witch works with the cycles of the moon, feeling them in everything that she does, flowing through her day and night. She knows that the power of the moon is reflected in everything, even as the moon reflects the light of the sun. The moon is a mirror that reflects our soul’s truths back to us, where we can shine in the darkness and honour our own seasons of waxing and waning.

With all the flows of energy in nature, the Hedge Witch works with the tides, the currents that swirl around us in eddies and which can shape and change our lives. She knows that to work with the current, instead of against it, helps in every aspect of daily living. And so she pays attention to the lunar tides, knowing that the best time for weeding the garden is during the 4th quarter to dark moon, and the best time to plant root vegetable is the 3rd quarter. During the 1st and 2nd quarter she will sow the seeds of above-ground crops, using the waxing lunar energies to their full benefit. She will mow the lawn just before the dark moon, so that she will not have to mow it again soon. She will work her Craft according to the moon, honouring the full and dark moons with ritual, and working spellcraft in accordance with the moon’s phases. She knows that all this is not absolutely necessary, but she knows full well the power of cycle.

And above all, her heart dances under the light of the moon. 

[1] Reese, Coligny Calendar, Ancient Origins, accessed 30 November 2017, http://www.ancient-origins.net/artifacts-other-artifacts/coligny-calendar-1800-year-old-lunisolar-calendar-banned-romans-002429

* The Cogligny calendar employs a mathematical system to keep a normal 12-month calendar synchronised with the moon and keeping the entire system in sync by adding an intercalary month every two and a half years.

[2] "Full Moon Names", Moon Facts, accessed December 12, 2017, http://www.moonfacts.net/moon-name-meanings

[3] Murphy-Hiscock, A. Solitary Wicca for Life, (Provenance Press, 2005), 140


Joanna van der Hoeven is a Druid, Witch and a best-selling author. She has been working in Pagan traditions for over 20 years. She is the Director of Druid College UK, helping to re-weave the connection to the land and teaching a modern interpretation of the ancient Celtic religion.  www.joannavanderhoeven.com

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Tagged in: Druid moon Pagan Wicca witch
  Joanna van der Hoeven is a Hedge Witch, Druid, and a best-selling author. She has been working in Pagan traditions for over 20 years. She is the Director of Druid College UK, helping to re-weave the connection to the land and teaching a modern interpretation of the ancient Celtic religion.  


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