Hedge Riding: The Art of the Hedge Witch

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

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

In the summertime...

I love the summer. The heat of the sun, the long days, the unending twilight at this time of year - it's a brilliant time to be alive.  I find at this time of year there is nowhere to hide: you must face what the light shines on you or try to hide in air-conditioned rooms with recycled air, breathing in that stale, same old, same old.

It's a time when the layers come off, physically and metaphorically. As we expose some skin to the wonderful sunlight (with proper protection) so too do we expose our souls to the light, shining it in all the corners of our psyche.  Summer is a time for exploration, for rejuvenation, for relaxation.  It's time to let your hair down and get a bit sweaty.

Many within the pagan tradition see Samhain as the time to face demons, your monsters that can take over and lead you into unacceptable behaviour. But for me it is summer, where I can lay them out on the lawn and watch them wriggle in the full light of the sun - that is where I find the denouement, the closure in my life's little episodes.

Summer is a time when I have to face certain things head on: my body for one.  Getting my pale skin out, and staying pale while others seem to enjoy cooking themselves to a nice, medium brown can be a bit daunting at first. As a child until my late teens I never was body conscious: I was glad that I had a healthy, strong and lithe body that did all that I wanted it to do. But as the years wore on, I became more self-conscious about it, the pale skin, the cellulite there, the wrinkle here, the wobble there. Now that I'm in my 40's, I've accepted that I won't have the body I had in my late teens and early twenties.  I've stopped caring so much.  This is who I am, and I'm happy in my body. It still does amazing things for me, getting me out, over and across mountains, canoeing down rivers, cycling down country lanes, dancing with my tribe.  I don't want to be twenty-five anymore, physically or mentally. I've come to terms with that aspect of myself.

Another aspect of myself that I've had to come to terms with is facing my monster within, especially when I am faced with the monsters of others.  There is a public and a private face that everyone has, and many in-between. Sometimes these two faces never talk to each other. Sometimes you only ever see one face of a person for 99% of the time, and then suddenly you see another aspect of them that is less than glowing. You see their monster, raging at you, at the world, at their own suffering, lashing out with all the vitriol of a relentless teenager or an ego-driven maniac, whatever their age. And when you don't accept this person's monster, they become even more monstrous towards you. It's inevitable.  Stuck within their monster, not bringing it out into the light they are forced to run with it every single day in a never-ending cycle.  When we face that aspect of ourselves and bring it out into the light, we recognise the monster within and the monster without, and then it no longer controls us.  We don't take other people's shit, and neither should they take ours.  We're responsible for our own demons.

In the light of the summer we can also look at what nourishes us, what needs feeding and watering, and what needs to be weeded out.  In times of drought, physical, mental or emotional we need to find a source that can sustain us under the harsh rays of the sun that are beating down on us, sometimes leaving us vulnerable and weak.  We need to drink more water, we need to feed our minds with healthy and compassionate thoughts, and we need to nourish our souls with the waters of life, drinking deep from the well of inspiration so that we are not overwhelmed by the light and heat of our emotional being. 

This is only the beginning.  There are so many layers still to peel off, so that we can jump naked into the rivers and lakes, the ocean and the seas and find a returning to ourselves.  With the help of our nearest star, it is made easier to see into the cracks and crevices of our souls, bringing out the hidden and dancing with it in the long evenings.  Learning about ourselves, we learn about each other.  We can nourish each other instead of competing with each other. We can find a way to live in harmony, with ourselves and with others.  We're all in this together.  Let's make this truly a summer of love.

Last modified on
  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.  


Additional information