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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Autumn Equinox and Serpent Energies of Albion

The autumn equinox is upon us today, and we stand on the knife’s edge, leaping, stumbling, tumbling or diving down into the long nights.  I love this time of year, as many of you know. The scents of leaves decaying in piles on the forest floor, the brilliant colours and the crisp air fills my heart with such joy.  It is a wild cacophony to the senses, one last “hurrah!” before the silence of winter descends.

I love the retreat back into the earth, feeling my energy sinking back into my roots.  The crazy time of summer and festivals, camps, parties and revelry has passed, and now it is time of reflection.  We turn ourselves inwards, away from the social gatherings and noise, and focus on our own inner selves and what we have achieved.  We take stock, we sum up, we begin the journey down into the darkness where one by one our senses are lost, eventually dreaming into the winter and letting go during the peaceful rest of deep sleep.

During the spring months, when the earth was warming under the eye of the sun, I felt Brighde’s energy rising, a large white dragon/serpent beneath the land that connected all of Albion. Dancing in the energies of midsummer, she then slowly began her retreat back into herself, and now at the equinox I feel her pulling back into the earth, the wild ride of her energy sinking back into the soil, the serpent retreating back into the cool nourishing earth, preparing for slumber.  I too feel myself riding these serpent energies, ready to dream big this winter with wonderful new plans awaiting me.

Brighde is ancient. She is, for me, the British Isles.  She is the bones of this land. She is not a mother goddess. She does not follow cycles of maiden, mother, queen and crone.  She always was and always will be.  She is as young as the snowdrop and as old as the hills.  She has no relation at all to the Bridget of the mixed, revealed Christian and Pagan mythos.  She is not all loving, she is not a warrior queen, she is not human in any way. She is the land, in a vast and exceedingly simple but elegant way.

Working with her energy for over a year now, I feel the shifts in this land like never before.  I have nothing really to compare it to – it is ancient and timeless.  She leads me into the cycles of life and death, and I honour her for all that she is.  Some would question how I could be so devoted to a deity who cares not a jot for me – in a sense, I have realised that all deity for me falls along these lines if they are deities of nature itself.  I am utterly dedicated to the land.

And so, as the smell of woodsmoke drifts through the open window, and the slant of the sunlight turns more golden, I honour the time of the year with a full heart.  I welcome the longer nights, the chance to dream, to slumber with the serpent and gain new inspiration for the coming cycle. To rest, to heal, to weigh out past experience against future intention.  

Blessings of the equinox to you all.

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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 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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