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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November skies

There's just something about a November sky.

For many, November can be a month of hard coping, with the clocks changing, the nights drawing in, the colder air and wetter weather.  Yet we often miss the beauty of this month, lost in our own solipsism.  Looking around us, we see that there is so much more than our own worlds, than our own lives. As Bjork said, "nature is ancient and surprises us all"…

Just getting over a bout of chicken pox, it would be so easy at this time to fall into introspection, into dulled apathy or even despair.  Having an illness of any kind can turn our thoughts inwards and, it has to be said, not always in a good way.  Looking outside helps. Literally.

Stepping out for some fresh air, still confined to my backyard in self-imposed quarantine, I see the beauty that lies all around me; I can hear it and feel it and sense it deep within my soul.  I am reminded that even though it appears that everything is dying that there is deep wisdom and learning, as well as new insights constantly to be gained, if only we look beyond the veil, beyond the illusion.

Where in the summer the grass had shrivelled under the burning sun, there now lies lush green grass, with beautiful soft moss beginning to come through.  Studded here and there, throughout the mossy patches are mushrooms of all kinds - life is beginning anew.  The hoot of an owl reminds me of life that thrives in the darkness.  The flock of geese moving along the coastline remind me that everything changes; impermanence in everything. The crazy, tilting skies with dark clouds and flame sunsets remind me of what I am tilting at in my own life - and then I look outwards again.

The lone cricket skricks in the shrubs, the last of a season where his kind thrived in the garden. The winter's chill will soon take many insects, their progeny to hopefully continue.  The dying and rotting tomatoes show life in decay, where they will soon be transferred to compost heap at the bottom of the garden. Out of death, life.  A stag calls to his does - even when everything is appearing to die, new life is conceived in the rutting of the deer. The strength of life and death are one and the same.

Looking out, listening and feeling all these things reminds me that the world is more than myself. That I can open out to the beauty of this often termed "dreary" month.  That everything has its own inherent value and place; that I am only a small part.

And who is this "I" speaking? Feeling the cool breeze on my skin, I lose that sense of self, and it is no longer "I" who am feeling, hearing and seeing these things.  There is only immersion, integration, for however short a time. The breeze and the so called "I" are one.  Nature and the so called "I" are one. There is no separation, only molecules and atoms working off each other, making forms of energy. We are all simply energy.

There is just something about a November sky…

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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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