Traditional Witchcraft is a practice that embraces pre-Gardenerian ideas; it bases itself in the folklore of Europe and the UK. In this particular tradition there is none of the creeds, redes, laws or ideas that are present in more modern witchcraft. This is not to say that those who practice traditional craft have no laws, it is more about personal responsibility and holding one to one’s own standard of conduct. Through old writings, folklore tales, history and ancient pagan practices traditional witchcraft has been born. Trad Witches will take from the aforementioned areas and incorporate them into their path. Trad Witches will curse and hex unapologetically, will work with darker energies as well as light, are not afraid to work with baneful herbs and carcasses, with bones and blood and are often not hung up on ritual or ceremony, preferring to approach their workings with intuition and feeling.
Traditional Witchcraft also embraces the idea of ancestor worship, whether this is the witch’s personal ancestors or broader, geographical ancestor worship. Most traditional witches will not be found reading ‘witchy’ books but will take their knowledge from texts on history, archeology, herbalism, anthropology and cultural understanding. A Traditional Witch or those who practice Trad Witchcraft will not separate the magical from the mundane, their craft is their life because it is a part of their daily life, and there is no separation of ideas.
Traditional Witchcraft is an adaptive practice because within its core, a person wishing to practice Trad Witchcraft can adapt their own country’s history and lore into the practice if they are from outside Europe or the UK.
Green Witchcraft is the practice of working magic with the natural elements of the Earth. It is the natural magic practiced by those not wanting to work within a strict structure of Deity worship and rules. Those who follow the Green path do so because it offers freedom of choice, the complete surrender to the natural world and embracing those energies. It is working with and respecting the polarity of nature, embracing the light as well as the dark, because the Green Witch knows that one does not exist without the other and as such, balance is always important. In Green Witchcraft one will also work with the shadow self often, addressing the dark side of nature as much as the light. The Green Witch is not afraid of the Dark, no – she embraces it. A Green Witch will more often than not be a wonderful gardener, she may even be a herbalist and without a doubt would then be growing her own herbs for this, wildcrafting from her garden and other places in nature.
Green Witchcraft is a practice not a religion, however as with any Pagan tradition, it is one’s personal choice. As a practice you will find yourself working with items taken from, or derived from, nature such as herbs, plants, flowers, gemstones, rocks, bark, wood, sea shells, feathers – the list is endless. Some who practice Green Witchcraft will often create or find their tools in nature. A simple stick can become a wand, a deep shell an altar bowl, feathers a representation for air, a flat stone in the yard can become an altar. With Green Witchcraft it is all about connecting with nature and using what She offers you to create your Witch’s Cabinet and Ritual Chest and forming your practice.
Hedge Witchcraft is, for lack of a better term, a kind of shamanic path. Hedge Witches are able to ‘cross the hedge’, basically this means they are able to travel in spirit form to Otherworld and commune with spirits, work with spirits and can also talk with/work with ancestors. Hedge witches can also be very powerful healers; this often comes from being able to put themselves into trance.
Hedge Witches would be on good terms with folk from the Otherworld. Like the sister tradition of Green Witchcraft, Hedge Witchery is also very much based in the natural world, hedge witches will be well versed in the use and application of herbs – the herbs may even be of a ‘baneful’ nature and are used in flying ointments and other spirit work. (Although not recommended if you have no clue in hell on what you’re doing – you’ll probably end up killing yourself or the very least poisoning yourself). Those who practice this particular tradition are often solitary, preferring the company of nature and the natural being and spirits within our world and the next. Hedge Witchcraft is not the path for everyone because it can be demanding and requires work, but it is very much what I consider the Path of Old, the idea of what witches would have been like or would have practiced many moons ago.
Kitchen Witchcraft is considered a ‘new’ tradition but in fact is one of the older traditions of the craft. It is celebrating the magical in the mundane, a wooden spoon becomes a wand, a knife the athame, a casserole pot becoming a cauldron, the herb and spice cabinet will double as the herbs for magic. A Kitchen Witch will see the magic in vacuuming or sweeping, she will charm the bread for a happy home and stir the tea for love and prosperity.
A Kitchen Witch will likely be an amazing cook who can whip up batches of biscuits as if by magic (and may be it just might be). The kitchen has always been considered the heart of the home and throughout history, this would have been the room where food was cooked, clothes mended, medicines made and family gatherings held, it would have been the one place in the home that would have swum with incredible energy, and I imagine if you walked into a kitchen witch’s home, this would be the one room that would instantly draw you in.
Cottage Witchcraft is simply the practice of magic around the hearth and home, the home is treated as a sacred space. Those who practice Cottage Witchcraft will not cast circle in a specific area or have a separate room for magic because every square foot of her home will be her sacred circle, her ritual room. A Cottage Witch can go into her kitchen and take out a handful of cooking herbs and spices and put together a charm, a spell, a ritual or sachet using her kitchen. She will find the joy and magic in performing mundane tasks such as cleaning, cooking and washing, she will tend her garden with the joy of someone who knows that within her herb patch, veggie patch and flowers the Divine lives. She will know how to connect with the other realms and dance with the Fae Folk.
Within Cottage Witchcraft there is an emphasis on crafts, some will learn the old ways of weaving, spinning and using a loom. Others will take up crafts such as sewing, painting, sculpting and creating items for the home as opposed to buying. But in today’s busy world this is not always practical, but Cottage Witchcraft is a path, a tradition that needs an understanding for and a respect of the old ways, living in a condo or an apartment does not make you separate from this but may move to you to change your life or even just your home.
Hearth Witchcraft is as it sounds. It is the practice of witchcraft at the hearth. Before we had modern houses, heating and whatnot, the hearth was the fireplace. Hearthcraft is still practiced around this area of the home, but it is more adaptive nowadays as not all homes have a hearth. Wherever the witch chooses to make her hearth is where she will practice this tradition of witchcraft. Hearthcraft also often works with the Deities of the Hearth such as Hestia, Vesta and Brighid.
These are just some of the traditions of witchcraft out there. There are others such as Celtic, Strega, Luciferian to name a few. There is a path for everyone, or something that will inspire you to walk your own path. As a witch, I don’t subscribe to any one tradition nor could I really call myself a witch of a particular tradition, being solitary I enjoy the flexibility of choosing for myself.