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Hedge Magic is a derogatory term used by magi for the many forms of non-Hermetic magic practiced in Mythic Europe. As such, it usually refers to petty and weak magical folk traditions. A magus is likely to scoff at a skinchanger's magic, calling him a hedge wizard, but is unlikely to refer to the ancient and long-lost magic of Solomon as "hedge magic".
The term "hedge magic" is often applied broadly to any magic that uses different rules than the Hermetic Arts. Non-Hermetic magic ranges from petty tricks like Dowsing and other minor Supernatural Abilities, to powerful and mysterious foreign magical traditions such as those described in Rival Magic. There is no hard and fast rule that says where magi would draw the line between "hedge magic" and a tradition worthy of respect. That's in the eye of the beholder.
A practitioner of hedge magic is called a hedge wizard, hedge witch, or hedge magician. Hedge wizards who don't also belong to the Order of Hermes are never called "magi."
Also, while most hedge wizards are aligned with the Magic Realm, the terms "hedge magic" and "hedge wizard" include, for simplicity, supernatural powers associated with the Faerie Realm and even, sometimes, the Divine Realms. A magician affiliated with the Infernal Realm is called a diabolist, but few would admit to being such, and would probably prefer to call themselves hedge wizards.
Hedge Wizards and the Order
House Ex Miscellanea "accepts wizards of all kinds" so hedge wizards can join the Order of Hermes through that House. The official policy of the Order of Hermes is that all wizards must join the Order or die, but this is rarely enforced in practice. Hedge wizards who are substantially weaker than a typical magus are likely to be ignored.
Most members of House Ex Miscellanea are descended (through magical lineage) from hedge wizards, but have mastered Hermetic Magic and are peers with other magi. They usually possess a Major Supernatural Virtue that represents their pre-Hermetic magical powers, though some possess non-Supernatural Virtues such as Magister in Artibus instead. Thus, (most) magi ex Miscellanea could be said to practice hedge magic in addition to their Hermetic Arts. To call such a magus a "hedge wizard" would be extremely disrespectful -- which is not to say that it never happens.
Rules for Hedge Magic
In the Fifth Edition Core Rulebook, hedge magic is usually practiced by Gifted characters. Their magic usually relies on one or more Supernatural Abilities. Several examples of such Abilities, as well as rules for making your own, are in Houses of Hermes: Societates.
The more powerful forms of hedge magic described in Hedge Magic Revised Edition often include several related Supernatural Abilities, which the hedge wizard can combine together much like the Hermetic Arts.
Hedge Magic Traditions
See the article on traditions for a list of hedge traditions.
- Ars Magica Fifth Edition, p. 8, "Glossary"
- Ars Magica Fifth Edition, p. 41, "Dowsing"
- Ars Magica Fifth Edition, p. 11, "House Ex Miscellanea"
- Ars Magica Fifth Edition, p. 16, "Other Wizards"
- Ars Magica Fifth Edition, p. 30, "Hermetic Houses Summary" (Inset)
- Houses of Hermes: Societates, p. 130, "Magi Ex Miscellanea Without a Major Supernatural Ability"
- Houses of Hermes: Societates, "Example Supernatural Abilities", pp. 106-106
- Houses of Hermes: Societates, "Designing Supernatural Abilities," pp. 106-106
- Ancient Magic
- Hedge Magic, the Fourth Edition supplement
- Hedge Magic Revised Edition
- Houses of Hermes: Societates
- Rival Magic
The history of this page before August 6, 2010 is archived at Legacy:hedge_magic