There are so many ways to practice witchcraft today. None are right or wrong, but we all have very different ideas of how to practice our magic. Looking at our site, questions may naturally arise. What do you mean by ritual? What makes these offerings magical? To help answer some of these questions, here is a brief overview of the philosophy and witchcraft behind Hedge & Home.
Our most widely and firmly held principle is this: We believe in animism. That is to say, we deeply believe that everything has a spirit and these spirits are everywhere. Spirits exist not only in plants, animals, mountains, and rivers, but also alongside us in our homes and daily life, peeking through from the otherworlds without a physical form that we can readily see. The topic of animism deserves its own post entirely.
We interact with many spirits that we consider easy to communicate with like living humans, dogs, cats, and other household and domesticated animals. Some spirits are medium-easy to communicate with, like plants. However, their language is quite visual (on the surface). Plants tell us when they need water by wilting or when they are sick by showing visual signs of dis-ease. Some spirits come to us spontaneously and unexpectedly, like the touch of a loved one who has recently passed.
This is where spirit communication starts to get more difficult from the perspective of our five senses and culturally ingrained materialism. We didn’t make an effort to contact the spirit of the dead, but it happened nonetheless. Or maybe we had a powerful visitation or message from a deity we didn’t even know existed. It is in these moments we realize it is possible to communicate with spirits who aren’t of this earthly plane.
The questions become: How are these spirits communicating with us? What realm are they in? And importantly, how do we communicate back?
We approach these questions through a lens of liminality. Liminal describes the space at the crossing of a boundary or threshold, whether that be on one particular side or between them. When we witches talk about a liminal space, we’re talking about a threshold that is between this world and the unseen others. In these liminal spaces we can sense into the otherworlds and spirits can sense into ours. Beyond communicating with the spirits we can see physically in our everyday lives, we can occupy liminal spaces to make communicating with the other-than-human spirits easier.
These thresholds exist everywhere. We may find them in nature in a hidden hillside cave or an unusual clearing in a forest. One of the most popular and accessible thresholds are crossroads. We can also use magic to create a liminal space around us, wherever we may be. It is in these spaces betwixt and between “normal” life that we find it is easier to commune with the spirits around us.
If we know that spirits exist in many forms, in this world and others, and we can communicate with them intentionally or not, what does that communication look like? Christians encourage talking or praying to God, Jesus, and the angels who are listening and may respond via events in your life. Ceremonial magicians would say one goal is to summon a spirit in physical form to talk to them (disclaimer: we are not ceremonial magicians but we do know there’s more to it than this). As humans, we know how to engage in communication other than speaking and hearing. We use visual cues like body language and eye contact. We also use intuitive cues and can tell when someone is feeling happy or sad or mad by sensing their energy. We like to use all of our senses to engage in spirit communication and consider it to come in many different forms. In highly sensitive cases it could be physical touch, external voices, or visual manifestations.
For most of us, we rely on our intuition and sense of knowing. A feeling, a thought that pops into our head, a synchronicity can all be forms of spirit communication. Occasionally, we see a spirit flitting about the house in our periphery. We may randomly get the urge to move a plant to a space with different light, research a particular ancestor, or make a spontaneous offering. We can also work magic with the specific intention of communicating with a spirit!
At Hedge & Home we communicate with all types of spirits, plants, guides and ancestors, and all of our offerings are created in conjunction with this communication. Our spirit guides lead us to the types of formulas that need to be made and the plants tell us what kind of magical properties they hold and how they would like to contribute. The result of all this spirit communication is a magical talisman.
A talisman is simply an object that holds a great amount of energy. This could be a magical intention that is infused into a piece of jewelry or holy relic, or it could be a hagstone you found in the woods emanating a huge amount of otherworldly power. This energy stays sealed in the object and can be accessed over time. If you do a magical working to create a piece of protective jewelry, you put that energy into that necklace for the power to be held there and worked with over time, not just at the time of the ritual. We like the word “vessel” as well. Not only do the plant spirits contribute their intrinsic magical and healing energies, but the specific, intentional energies raised in ritual are embedded into our talismanic materia.
When we talk about ritual we’re talking about creating a sacred, liminal space that has the ability to hold specifically intentioned energy until we want to either release it to the world or infuse it into a vessel or talisman. We call upon the power of certain deities and the collective ancestors to further infuse our talismanic materia with magical power. This is why you may not even need to burn our incenses to feel the shift, just opening the jar may do the trick. That said, burning something is a fantastic activation technique.
Our candles, incense, and oils all have these principles behind them. Each of our offerings are integrated into our daily practices and, we feel, are incredibly valuable to our practice of witchcraft. As a spirit-led small business, we are committed to creating highly magical products that we use actively and find effective first, and then make them available as offerings to you.