A Hedgewitch is someone who practices Hedgewitchery or Hedgecraft. HedgeCraft is a spiritual path and is a form of Traditional Witchcraft. It is most commonly practiced by modern Pagans. Hedgecraft is based on the village wisewoman of European folklore. It has similarities to the traditional cunning folk of England. Hedgewitches often practice herbalism, magick, wildcrafting, and many different forms of healing. The use of shamanic techniques is a part of this tradition. Such techniques as the use of trance inducing plants, drumming, dance, chanting and meditation. Hedgewitches are generally unconcerned with overly formal magical workings, preferring more simple folk magic. This is a heavily nature oriented tradition, as such, most Hedgewitches live outside of urban areas. In ancient times, the local Hedgewitch or wisewoman typically lived just on the outside of the town's boundary hedge, part of the community but also an outsider. Most Hedgewitches practice is solitary and private, based out of the home. Although Hedgewitches can still be active in their local Pagan community. The term Hedgewitch is a source of controversy due to its idiosyncratic nature. By looking at the word "hedgewitch," we can learn that it comes from the Saxon word for witch, haegtessa, which translates to "hedge-rider". The Old Norse lay Havamal refers to "hedge-riders, witching aloft". Other names for hedge-riders are myrk-rider, Wyrd-rider, and Gandreidh (wand-rider). In 1992, the modern pagan author Rae Beth released a book entitled Hedge Witch: A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft, an attempt at redefining the term for the modern era. Rae Beth proposes that "The work of the hedge witch is to take the insights of the wildwood mystic and apply them in the service of life, through spells that help and heal the land, other people or creatures, or our own selves," and that the Hedgewitch is a solitary individual. The inspiration for the term as employed by Rae Beth seems to have been the idea of a solitary and individualistic practitioner, paralleling the old term 'hedge-preacher' for an itinerant preacher with no fixed living. However, the definition and practice of Hedgecraft as outlined by Rae Beth is controversial as it is very obviously Wicca based. In physical terms, the hedge separated the town from the wilderness. Crossing the hedge was considered dangerous, due to the fact that the forest was regarded as a locus of uncanny happenings, including witchcraft. To the hedgewitch and witches alike, the hedge was not thought to be a physical boundary, but a mental barrier to be crossed in trance work. It is the line drawn between this world and the next; between reality and dream. Shamanic practice is common, and is considered a hallmark of a Hedgewitch. From this perspective, if the hedge is the border between a village and the wilderness, the Hedgewitch walks the border with a foot in both worlds. The act of Shamanic Journey, Astral Travel, Soul Flight (and such) is often referred to as "Walking the Hedge, "Crossing the Hedge" or "Riding the Hedge" by Hedgewitches. All the stories you hear of witches flying off on brooms "to the sabbat" or to Venusberg Mountain are, according to the book, true--to a point. The Hedgewitch supposedly would anoint her besom (broom), pitchfork, goat, distaff, or bread paddle, place it between her legs so that the ointment could enter her body, and "off" she went. Though in modern times such practices are rare and have changed considerably. Outside of the academic world this specific sense of the term with its medieval connotation of magical liminality and boundaries between the worlds was primarily promoted via Nigel Jackson's 1994 book 'Call of the Horned Piper' and has since exercised a pervasive influence in the contemporary witchcraft milieu, investing the term 'hedge-witch' with a more archaic resonance and meaning in magical practice. Spirituality in Hedgewitches varies from almost none to Wiccan to Abrahamic, but is almost always neopagan.