What is a Hedge Druid

I am often asked two questions fairly regularly.

What is a Hedge Druid?
Is a Hedge Druid the same as a Hedge Witch?

The answer to the first question in regards to what is a 'Hedge Druid' is two fold; Solitary, and riding the hedge, and applies directly to the second question. Thus it is better to ask each hedge Druid what view they subscribe to as both interpretations are correct. Here is the breakdown of said views.

The origin on the phraseology "Hedge Druid" is a modern phrase deriving from the 19th century term "hedge-priest" denoting a Christian priest who was independent from any particular church, and preached from what was known as the "Hedgerow," a form of barrier marking a boundary where the hedge-priest would preach to those who would listen.
Furthermore, the phrase is derived from the phraseology "hedge-parson"; specifically, in Ireland, who was formerly, a priest who had been admitted to orders directly from a hedge-school, without preparation in theological studies at a regular college.

These two terms; “hedge priest”, and “hedge-parson” seems fitting to the first view as a solitary Druid, as One who subscribes to this view is often not affiliated with a grove, nemeton, order, etc. One prefers a practice of being 'hedged in' from those outside ones practice, and thus within the barrier of solitude.
Furthermore, one is often self trained (trained by Nature Herself) not having taken any initiations into an order, grove, or nemeton, and thus often self initiates, or letting Nature Herself initiate one on the Druid's path. Such a method however does not invalidate one as a Druid.

The desire to be hedged in from those outside ones solitary practice leaves some with the thought of the Hedge Druid being completely alone, not unlike a hermit. This could actually never be further from the truth as the Hedge Druid in its solitary sense is never alone. For one is surrounded by collective consciousness of the Awen, the Spirits of place, the animals, insects, flora, fauna,, etc all accompany the Hedge Druid on one's journey and in one's practice. These are they that are inside the hedge of the solitary druid's path.

The second view of the Hedge Druid is one where many parallels with that of the Hedge Witch, and the practice of 'riding the hedge.'
This aspect of the hedge derives from the Germanic word 'hagazissa' meaning 'hedge-sitter', and later from the Saxon word 'haegtessa' meaning ‘hedge-rider’. The hedge in hedge witchery (or this view of Hedge Druidry) is not a hedgerow of fence or shrubs and wildlife, but instead represents the border between our material world and the otherworld – the unknown found within liminal places. the Hedge Druid of this type crosses this border in order to contact spirits on the other side to learn from them and bring back knowledge to the material world. While these types of Hedge Druids are most often solitary in one's practice thereof, there are those that are initiated into orders, groves, and nemetons alike.

Thus, it can be said that a Hedge Druid is a practitioner of Druidry as an Earth based Western spiritual Tradition (also as an Earth based Western Mystery School) often in a solitary manner, that may or may not subscribe to the practice of crossing into the border of otherworld to contact spirits for various reasons. Thus, as previously mentioned in the beginning of this post, it is best to ask the Hedge Druids themselves what view of the hedge they hold!

This is by no means an exhaustive explanation of the 'Hedge Druid', but is aimed at aiding in the importance of each Druid's individual worldview which shapes one's individual path.

Be well! /|\ /|\ /|\