Hedge Riding: The Art of the Hedge Witch

Walking the Path of the Hedge Witch and the Hedge Druid, Learning the Craft and the Art of Hedge Riding

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A Day in the Life of a Druid

The alarm clock goes off, Aerosmith is playing on Planet Rock.  There is a small white cat lying between me and my husband, her little head resting on my pillow.  A spotted grey cat is curled up against the small of my back, sharing in the warmth.  My husband gets up, showers and comes back to kiss me goodbye.  I sigh, stretch, and slowly extricate myself from the sleeping, furry softness to greet the day.

Standing by the top landing window, overlooking my back garden and the horse paddocks beyond that, down the valley towards the little nature sanctuary, my eyes coming back full circle to see the sun, rising over the North Sea (I cannot see the sea from here, but it is less than a mile away).  I let its light wash over me – sunny mornings have been few and far between, and with eyes closed I drink it in.  “Hail to the Day, and Day’s Sons, farewell to Night and her Daughters. With loving eyes look upon us here, and grant peace to those living here. Hail to the Gods, hail to the Goddesses, hail to the might fecund Earth. Eloquence and native wit bestow upon us here, and healing hands while we live”.  Another deep breath,  and so the day begins.

Headings downstairs, I get food ready for the cats, and boil the kettle for my tea.  The cats slowly make their way downstairs to breakfast.  After getting my lunch ready, I prepare my own breakfast, and sit down at the table with a cup of nettle tea.  “I give my thanks for this food I am about to eat.  To the spirits of land, sea and sky, know that you are honoured”.

After breaking my fast I head back upstairs to get ready for work.  Using toiletries that are from ethical companies, I grumble once again at the price of these organic, non-animal tested cosmetics, but then I catch myself.  It is better than the alternative, and I am saving money in other areas of my life, in accordance with my vow not to buy any new clothing for a year – I  can afford it.  I get my Zen on, and get on with it.

After dressing, I say goodbye to the cats and head out the door to drive to work. I give thanks that I am blessed in that I both live and work in the countryside. (I work part-time for a music company and charity, as well as having my own dance company and being an author and priestess).  On the drive to work, I like to listen to music, to hear the inspiration of others, yet to remain focused on my driving – winding slowly down country lanes, watching out for rabbits, hares and deer and the occasional oncoming tractor around the next blind bend.  The fields have been harvested, the wheat and onions, and the soil is being turned over for the next crop.  The slant of light is getting stronger, the equinox is on its way.

At work, it is a busy time, but I try to stay focused, remaining in the here and now a much as I can, giving every task the same attention.  At one point, a colleague does not help me when I ask for it, moving heavy boxes to another location, and I feel anger rising within me.  I then breathe deeply, and another colleague from another department offers to help, for which I am thankful.  I move the boxes, and release the anger – I cannot expect people to behave the way that I think they should.  I can only lead by example, and not let it affect it so.

The day is tiring, and when home time comes I am thankful.  Physically and mentally tired, I walk back to my car, taking the time to decompress.  Where I work is one of the most beautiful spots, along the river with the reed beds swaying in the wind, the large Suffolk skies opening out before me.  I listen to the birds and breathe in the salt marsh air, and smile.

The drive home is in silence.  I open the car window slightly to feel the breeze against my skin and to smell the emerging autumn scents.  I am wholly focused on driving, feeling the ground through the tires and the steering wheel, the sand that is slowly taking over the roads from being washed away from the fields over the winter.

I pull into the driveway of my home, and turn off the car engine, giving thanks once again.  Walking to my front door, I notice the geraniums and poppies, stretching towards the late afternoon sun.  I too am going to stretch towards it.  I walk into the porch and, coming through the front door, touch the doorframe, whispering a soft prayer to my goddess Nemetona, Lady of Sanctuary.

After greeting my cats and feeding them, my growling stomach demands attention, and I eat, giving thanks once again to the spirits of land, sea and sky.  My husband comes home, and inside I smile at the welcome, comfort and love that I am blessed with.

After dinner I wrap up and head out into the backyard, walking around the perimeter, singing songs of welcome to the spirits of the land within my head.  The nettles have gone to flower, the irises are are out, and my apple trees in fruit.  The leylandii hedge requires trimming, and the beech tree with its dark leafy green canopy waves overhead.

The beech tree calls, and I go to sit under its majestic canopy.  The tree is about 80 years old, and I feel a kinship to it at this point in my life – it feels like a middle-aged tree, strong and comfortable within its skin.  I feel the edges of my nemeton touching the tree’s, noting where they meet and where they blend.  We are still getting to know each other, the tree and I, and little moments like these are splendid.

I sit by my little altar under the beech tree, on the mossy ground.  Placing my hands upon the ground, I feel the earth slowly settling after a long, hot summer.  I simply sit, meditating upon being present, feeling the warm ground, hearing the children at play on the football fields several fields over, the neighbours saying goodbye to someone.  The blackbirds are singing and pigeons cooing, and a little wren is looking for tasty morsels among the leaf mould.  The watery sun hangs low in the sky, the warmth fading fast as night approaches.

After my meditation, I head inside for a hot bath.  Sliding into the warm water I sigh with pleasure – the scents of chamomile and the soft oats feeding my skin and my senses.  I honour the spirit of water and think of where my water comes from, honouring that source as well, giving thanks for the luxury of clean, hot water.

After drying off, the sun is setting, and once again I stand by my window on the top landing, looking out over the little bit of land that I am getting to know after a few years of having lived here.  The light is fading, and the only birds are the blackbirds with their large eyes, singing in the dusk.  The owls and their young will soon be hooting in the ash trees,  the crickets singing. I long for autumn, then catch myself – be present.  I take a deep breath, and ground myself, centring on the here and now.  “Farewell to the Day, and Day’s Sons, hail to Night and her Daughters. With loving eyes, look upon us here, and grant peace to those living here. Hail to the Gods, hail to the Goddesses, hail to the might fecund Earth.  Eloquence and native wit bestow upon us here, and healing hands while we live.”

With pleasure I crawl into bed, cats coming to join me, and later my husband.  I read for a bit, and then when eyes are too tired, close the book and enter the world of dreams, thankful for all that I have.

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Tagged in: autumn day Druid life summer
 Joanna van der Hoeven is a Hedge Witch, Druid, and a best-selling author. She has been working in Pagan traditions for over 30 years. She has written many books, including The Path of the Hedge Witch: Simple, Natural Magic and the Art of Hedge Riding, as well as The Book of Hedge Druidry: A Complete Guide for the Solitary Seeker. Find her channels on social media at YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.


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