JG asks: “I read that a hedge witch officiated at the recent funeral of Irish singer Sinead O’Connor. What is a hedge witch? Is this something new?”
You are correct in reporting that a woman who calls herself a hedge witch and a Druid officiated at the funeral of Sinead O’Connor in Bray, Ireland. Juli Malone, who is also known as “Julí Ní Mhaoileóin the Dingle Druid” performed a pagan ritual alongside a Muslim cleric who presided in honor of O’Connor’s Muslim faith.
“I use the gifts of nature in ceremony, ritual and handmade products. In this way, I call on Nature to guide us, heal us and soothe us,” Malone told the Daily Mail. “My deep love of nature originally led me to train as a horticulturalist and florist. After years of further study I now focus on Herbalism and Plant Spirit Medicine to share the sacred gifts of Nature. . . I am what you might call a 'hedge witch'.”
Hedgewitchery is hundreds of years old and originates with witches of old who tended to live along the borders of villages, typically behind the hedgerows.
“One side of the hedge was the village and civilization, but on the other lay the unknown and wild. Typically, these hedge witches served a dual purpose and acted as healers or cunning women, and that involved a lot of time gathering herbs and plants in the woods, the fields, and—you guessed it—the hedges,” this article explains.
Typically, a hedge witch works with herbal magic, which is based on a belief that plants contain elemental powers and natural energies that can be harnessed in magical spells, oils, charms, etc. Hedge witches may also choose to work with gods or goddesses and incorporate shamanism into their craft.
In the case of Malone, she is also a Druid which is a religion whose adherents believe they serve as intermediaries between the gods and man. Malone claims to work as a “Ceremonialist” so that she can “combine the ancient lore of plants with the healing, power and wisdom of the Druids, resulting in heartfelt ceremonies and deeper connection with ourselves and the world around us.”
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