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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To Wheel or not to Wheel...

When I first started on my pagan journey I was presented with the Wheel of the Year and it seemed most pagans worked with it.  I spent ages trying to remember the dates and learn the names and correspondences, even to this day I have to stop and think about it when trying to recall what is what! 

I also started dressing my altar for each sabbat and looking up all the correct colours, herbs and associations to know what to put on it.  But I have to admit I started to lapse and I realised that I wasn’t connecting with the celebrations and what I was doing was just a mechanical action because I thought I had to. 

As my journey has deepened and the years have passed I don’t worry about any of it any more.  I don’t particularly work with the sabbats or at least not the set dates on the calendar.  Especially as Mother Nature appears to be having a menopausal melt down here in the UK at the moment and the seasons are all completely squiffy.  I have summer bedding plants in the garden that have continued to flower all winter and daffodils and hawthorn flowering in January, it has all gone completely mad.  In fact the winter we had this year in the UK was not even cold.  So it makes it quite difficult to celebrate the specific sabbats when nature isn’t playing ball.

If you do follow the Wheel of the Year and it works for you then please, please continue to do so, I am not knocking the system and it also works brilliantly for when you are learning about paganism and is a good format for group rituals. I just want to share with you how I work with the seasons and it is more on a monthly/weekly/stick your head outside kind of basis rather than following the set dates on a calendar.  It works for me, it might not work for you.

I left the Wheel of the Year behind and started working with the energies of each month, it started a few years ago and actually has evolved to me working not just with the energies of each month but sometimes even the specific energies of the week or the day.  It is all governed by what nature and the weather are doing at any given time.

Also the energies will change depending on where you are in the world and how your seasons work.  Our ancestors would have welcomed the first day of spring when they saw the signs of spring in the plants, the earth and the weather, not because it was 2nd of February (Imbolc). Obviously the solstices are set of course! 

Whilst it is useful to have the sabbat dates to use as a universal guide, the first signs of spring aren’t always on a specific date.  I struggled when spring was early or late and didn’t arrive when the calendar told it to. With the UK having a very mild winter last year it was hard to acknowledge Yule/the Winter solstice when the weather was so warm I didn’t even need to wear a coat…

So I follow my intuition and see what the energies of the day, week or month are going to bring.  Be guided by nature, when she starts to send out the first shoots of spring on her plants, when the frosts have finished, when you open the door in the morning and you can feel the warmth of the early morning sun on your face, listen to the birds, watch them building their nests, follow the progress of the baby birds learning to fly, watch the flowers opening on the plants and the leaves as they journey through the year from buds, to green, to orange and then fall. 

Nature is all around you, even if you live in the city there will be at least a tree or a bush that will give away the tell tale signs of the seasons.  Breath in the air each day and see if you can tell when spring turns to summer and summer to autumn then onto the crisp cool air of winter, trust your senses.

It is a journey of discovery…

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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...


  • Denise
    Denise Monday, 04 April 2016

    Oooo - isn't common sense lovely?! :D I do something similar but have always felt a little guilty about it - as if I'm being lazy somehow but as you point out so nicely, what is actually going on in the natural world where you are is what really matters. I wasn't going to stop (in spite of the twinges of guilt) but it's nice to know I have company and I'm resolving to quit feeling guilty! Bright Blessings on all your celebrations.

  • Rachel Patterson
    Rachel Patterson Tuesday, 05 April 2016

    I totally hear you! It can be really easy to feel guilty about not following along, but one of the things I love about paganism is that we each create our own very personal and unique pathways - definitely go with your intuition and definitely give up the guilt!

  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham Monday, 04 April 2016

    I've tried to do the Wheel of the Year thing and found it just doesn't click with me. I'm more of a standard calendar kind of guy: Valentine's day, St. Patrick's Day, etcetera. What attracts me to wicca and neo-paganism is the promise that we can write our own stories and our own rituals, so I've resolved that before the end of this year I will push through my procrastination and write my own story combining St. Patrick's day and Honen Matsuri. The later is a harvest festival celebrated on the 15th of March in Komaki Japan, you can see videos on youtube. If the results are more folk Christian than pagan I'll embrace them anyway as part of my conjure heritage and look forward to rewriting the next holiday on my calendar.

  • Rachel Patterson
    Rachel Patterson Tuesday, 05 April 2016

    It is YOUR journey and you should make it work for you most definitely :-)

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