Hedge Riding: The Art of the Hedge Witch

Bringing the Hedge back into Hedge Witchcraft, working with liminal spaces and the Otherworld

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Songs of Samhain

The earth hums beneath our feet. There is an energy present, which we can become aware of in each and every moment.  It helps us to deepen our connection to the earth, to the land, to the ancestors and the spirits of place.  Those who have walked this land before, whose bones and blood, leaves and wood, stones and pebbles make up this land, their energy is contained within.  So too are the energies of wind and rain, of sunlight, starlight and moonlight, shining down on us.  We are hurtling through space at infinite speeds, spinning in an endless cycle of birth and death. In that cosmic dance, there is energy, the push and pull of the planets and our nearest star, the dance of orbiting moons.  Open yourself to this energy, let it wash through your soul and awaken your heart to the wonder of the world.

The energy of the land may differ, depending on where we are in the world. Each land has its own unique signature, yet always contains similarities as well, for we share this planet and, deep at its core, is a heart of fire that is the spark of awen which we can tap into wherever we go.  Right here, right now, in this land of Suffolk, I can feel the energy of the land, feel it beneath my feet, place my hands upon the earth and connect with it. You too can practice this connection wherever you are, seeing how the energies differ, seeing how they are the same at various places.

Your experience of the land's energy will most likely be different from the viewpoint and experience of others. When I first arrived on this land, I could feel an old, ancient thrumming of energy, a low level of sound and feeling that was filled with the songs and stories of humanity as well as the songs of all else that had existed here. There was a deep human history that differed from where I grew up in Canada, where humans had not been for so long, where so much of the land was still wild, where no human feet had tread.  There, the energy was much quicker, higher, rising and falling quickly with the seasons. Here, I feel it change, slowly, even as the seasons slowly change from one to another.

The energy of the land really solidified for me when I experienced it as serpent energy one Imbolc.  Placing my hands upon the mossy ground by my outdoor altar, I feel an ancient hum.  I closed my eyes and saw a white serpent, almost a like a long, sinuous dragon that was slowly rising to the surface. I opened my eyes, to check that I was, in fact, still there in my backyard and not deep below the surface of the earth, watching this white and shining being slowly making its way to the surface.  I closed my eyes again, and then felt the connecting web of energy, in lines and spirals, that connected where I was in my backyard to wonderful, ancient places all across Britain. I saw Avebury and Stonehenge, I saw abandoned stone circles on the Dartmoor heath, I felt the high mountains of the Scottish Cairngorms and the wonderful mount of Glastonbury Tor.  I felt connected to every part of Britain, through a web of lines that flashed brilliantly in my mind and which I felt as a tug in my heart.  It was truly a remarkable experience.

Now, as we approach Samhain, at the opposite end of the spectrum, the serpent is falling, falling back into the earth, into the land. The energy is still there, humming, thrumming, its pulse a little slower, its sound a little quieter. Within that sound I hear the voices of the ancestors, hushed whispers, beautiful chants, songs of wonder.  All mixed together in this beautiful song, The Great Song, the Oran Mor. 

Go outside, if you can, and find a good spot in which to feel the energy of the land.  Walk to that place in silence, so that you can really still your heart and mind first, in order to feel the land's energy better without the chattering mind getting in the way.  Call to the serpent energy, call to the land, feel the connectedness, through the white serpent energy of Albion. Hear the songs of Samhain.

And give thanks for all that you have been blessed with in your life.

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  Joanna van der Hoeven is a Hedge Witch, Druid, and a best-selling author. She has been working in Pagan traditions for over 20 years. She is the Director of Druid College UK, helping to re-weave the connection to the land and teaching a modern interpretation of the ancient Celtic religion.  


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