Hedge Witch: Into the Wilds…

Let me take you on a journey through the wilds of nature and back to the roots and bones of witchcraft, a natural witchcraft that works with the seasons and all the natural items that Mother Nature provides drawing on magical folk lore with a dash of hedge witch and gypsy magic too.

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Nature based divination ideas

We are probably all familiar with divination methods such as reading the tarot but what about looking to nature to give us a hint on what is to come?  Here are some ideas to get you started:


Divination conducted by interpreting atmospheric conditions so basically it is weather divination.


This is divination using whatever you have to hand or what items present themselves to you seemingly by chance.   Apantomancy also covers the chance meeting or sighting of animals.  For instance a black cat crossing your path would come under this category.


Augury is the practice of divination using natural phenomena especially by observing the flight and behaviour of birds.  You can facilitate this divination by sprinkling seed or breadcrumbs on the ground and watching how the birds land, eat the food and the fly away.  So, if they fly off to the right after eating then your answer is positive, if they fly off to the left it is negative and if they scatter randomly then the situation is either very complicated or you need more information to solve it.


A form of aeromancy this is divination by observing the winds, particularly the south wind.


The burning of leaves, wood and herbs produces smoke and flames which can be read to determine answers to questions or foretell the future, this is the art of botanomancy.


Divination using smoke, it requires watching the smoke after a fire has been created.  The shape and the direction of the smoke will give the answers.


A form of pyromancy which predicts the future by burning bay (laurel) leaves.  The sound and amount of crackling that the burning leaves make gives the answer.


The art of dowsing was traditionally a method of divining for sources of underground water but it can have other uses.   The tool used in dowsing is usually a wooden Y shaped stick often from the hazel tree (although copper rods or pendulums are sometimes used as well).  The Y part of the stick is held - one side in each hand and the long part of the Y points forward.  Sometimes two bent sticks or wires are used, one held in each hand.  The sticks move when they find water or ley lines or whatever it is you are seeking.

Earth divination

You will need four people for this system and a clear patch of ground that is just dirt with no weeds or plants.  Sit around the patch of earth with each one of you sitting at a point of the compass, so that would be north, east, south and west.  The person sitting at the west point draws a circle in the earth with a stick.  Then all four study the surface of the earth within the circle and make predictions.

Flower casting

All you will need for flower casting is a selection of flower petals and leaves along with either a plain square of fabric or a bowl of water.    This divination works best at night time and preferably in the light of the moon.  Focus on a question you want an answer too then gather up the flower petals and leaves in your hand and scatter them either on the cloth or the surface of the water.  Note what patterns or images you see, where do the petals and leaves land?  Are some clumped together?  What does it mean to you?

You can give more detail to this by assigning meanings to each different type of flower or leaf and designing a map on the fabric, sectioning it into quarters to represent the directions perhaps, so west would be all about emotions and north represents home life, you get the idea.


Throw a pebble into a pool of water and what do you get?  Ripples…and by watching and translating the ripples, the ebb and the flow of the water you can get your answers.


Lithomancy is a set of stones which you throw and determine what they mean by where they lay.  I like to include shells, seed heads, small bones and sometimes crystals in my lithomancy set too.


If you are creative or artistic you could make your own set of oracle cards, drawing or painting images of plants and flowers onto pieces of card.  Pressed flowers and leaves also work well for this.


You can make a natural pendulum fairly easily, something like a hag stone or a shell is very simple to thread onto a piece of string and works really well for pendulum readings.  You could also tie a small piece of wood to the end of a string too.   This works with plant matter as well but you have to use a light thread and a heavier plant such as a big poppy seed head or dried rose bud otherwise it doesn’t hang properly.


This one is all about roses…divination taken from roses, rose leaves and rose petals.  You hit the rose against your hand and interpret the sound.   This evolved to include a young lady picking a rose on Midsummer’s Eve and wrapping it in white paper then storing it away.  The first man that found the rose and removed it was the one destined to marry her.  This also included how well the dried rose kept its colour, if it faded quickly then the lover was untrue.  And of course the rose can also be used to pluck the petals whilst saying the old phrase “he/she loves me, he/she loves me not”.


One of my personal favourites…this is divination by fire as in reading messages from the flames.  How fierce the fire burns, what colour and shape the flames are and how things burn that you throw on to it such as sticks and herbs.


Scrying is the art of telling the future using a reflective surface which can be a crystal ball, a mirror or the surface of any body of water.   I like to use a bowl that has a dark inside and fill it with water then I add something to help the images such as popping a silver coin in the bottom or you could scatter flower petals, leaves or herbs onto the surface.  Scrying is easier to work with at night time under the light of the moon but it can be done in the dark with a well-positioned candle.   See what images appear on the surface of the water and try to decipher what they mean to you.

Snail divination

You will need a willing snail for this, although how you tell whether a snail is willing or not I don’t know.   You will also need some ashes from the fire, if you don’t have ashes then flour works as well.  Put a layer of the ashes or flour on the ground and gently place a snail in the middle.  Allow the snail to wander around.  The divination comes from the snail trail shapes and symbols he leaves in the ashes/flour.  It may take some time…


Divination using twigs, pieces of wood or fallen tree branches.  What shape they are, colour, thickness, position and any unusual characteristics of fallen branches and twigs that appear in your pathway.  This evolved into creating sets of twigs that are thrown to form random patterns.


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Rachel is a witch...has been for a very long time, not the green skinned warty kind obviously...the real sort - but she is also a working wife and mother living in Hampshire, England who has also been lucky enough to write and have published a growing stack of books on the Craft. She loves to learn she loves to study and continues to do so each and every day but has learned the most from actually getting outside and doing it. She regularly gives talks and workshops at pagan events. Rachel is also founder and an Elder at the Kitchen Witch online school of witchcraft. She likes to laugh...and eat cake...


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