A hedgewitch is usually associated with a solitary practitioner of the natural lore of plants with a healthy level of wisdom in the use of herbal remedies to cure sickness. Mostly associated with women and historically with those who lived alone on the outskirts of a community, the hedgewitch would be consulted not only on matters of natural cures for ailments but also on spiritual matters.
Known for their combination as herbalist, seer and counsellor interwoven with the harmony of natural magic, these wise women were often consulted to lift curses and to tell the future.
Hedgewitchery is known to have begun in the rural areas of Europe interwoven with common folk traditions. The hedge was a symbolic representation of the barrier between the two worlds of the mundane and the spiritual. The hedgewitch, therefore, was someone who could mediate between the two.
In the early 1900s almost half the doctors in America were practising holistic medicine based upon knowledge from Europe and Native Americans. However, a man called John D. Rockefeller a multi-millionaire from the oil industry decided that the health of the population could very well be big business.
Rockefeller, knowing the popularity of natural remedies had to devise a plan to rid himself of his greatest opposition – the cures for ailments derived from the plants of the natural world and he strived to have natural medicine made illegal.
Very quickly he used his vast financial purse to set up medical colleges where all students were taught how to use patented drugs. Homeopathy and natural medicines were soon demonised with doctors still practising some of these traditional cures sometimes even being jailed.
The true crime, however, is that scientists were given huge grants (sound familiar?) to study how plants cured illness, then to identify the chemicals in each plant that were effective. After this was achieved, they would then reproduce a similar, but not identical, chemical in the laboratory which could then be patented.
The sad result is our medical enslavement to the ever growing pharmaceutical companies in which many of our politicians and their scientific advisors have substantial shares.
The pleasing revival of today’s interest in natural cures and prophylaxis rather than the immediate reliance upon pharmaceutical drugs shows that the natural folk memory of hedgewitchery is alive and kicking. We need to return our minds to the land, to the spiritual nature of our hedges, forests, plains and mountains where for every illness there is a cure.
The big pharmaceutical companies of the corporate trillionaires cannot compete with the memory of our folk, our natural magic and the eternal spirituality of the old ways.
A hedgewitch who lived in our midst has passed quietly into the realms of the Evermore. With her she takes the knowledge that her Wisdom will remain here among us. Her spirit will linger, smiling in the silence of the forests, the mountains and the plains. The rivers will echo her voice, reminding us to take her memory and her knowledge forward always.
Our thoughts are with Kay’s family at this sad time.
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