The Hedge – Hedge Riding

Hedges have long been used by Witches in the community, who were
often termed “Hedge Riders”. They were those who worked between the
boundaries of the everyday and those of the wilderness; the wild spirits
that dwelt therein. It is about finding the balance between our modern
civilized world and that of the natural world. This too is often the
inspiration for many in Druidry and Wicca. The German word
“hagazissa” means “hedge sitter”, who was a person who could go
between the worlds, travel beyond the human settlement and the places
of the wild spirits and the Otherworld, bringing back information,
healing and more to the community. They were able to “ride” that
delineating line between the human world and the Otherworld. The
Saxon term is “haegtessa” and both words are where we get our word
“hag” from, now often relating to a witch of a certain age.
Hedge Riding can be done to connect with the spirit of nature, or to
travel across different realms. In this work, I present the Otherworld
using a Celtic motif of the World Tree, which will be discussed later.
This is the tree that we will “ride” up and down, to connect to the
Otherworld, its guides and its mysteries.
The journey of personal transformation is never an easy one. Living a
life dedicated to earth-based spirituality, to working in the Hedge
Druid’s Craft, often alone and without support other than your wits and
the wisdom your guides can provide, is a challenging one in today’s
modern times. We can often feel so distanced from everyone around us. I
get those moments, when I’m in my village shop, or walking down a
street and think, “I’m so different from everyone else. There are so few
people out there in this world that think and care about the things I do.” It
can seem a lonely and distancing way of being, I’ll tell you. But then I
take a deep breath, perhaps say a quick prayer to my goddess, remember
my encounters with the Fair Folk and feel the strength of my ancestors
at my back. And I know that the work that I do has meaning, that I have
given my life meaning. Remember, the meaning of life is to give your
life meaning. And if you honour the gods, the ancestors, the spirits of
place, the earth and the universe itself, and you truly do the work, then
your life has a deeper meaning than most can ever achieve. (Not that
this is a competition, mind you.)