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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Hello, Jack

At this time of year, I always honour Jack.

Who is Jack? Why, Jack In the Green, of course! Although Mr Sparrow does deserve high praise indeed - but I digress.  When the greening has taken over the land, when everything suddenly seems to explode in a riotous cacophony of twisting tendrils, blooming buds, leafy mounds and pollen induced insanity - this is when Jack is in His element.

Up until now, things have been fairly orderly. The weeds have, for the most part, been kept under control.  Everything seems to have taken its turn in coming out - the columbine turning the garden all shades of pink through to purple.  A couple of weeks later and BAM! Chaos reigns.  Each green and growing thing is no longer playing nice;  now it's a competition for the most light, the best position.  We had a lovely calm before the storm in May, now the party well and truly has begun.

As we edge ever closer to the summer solstice, so too does Jack creep further into our hearts, into our psyche.  Sleep patterns are disturbed by the long evenings and early mornings (here in the UK).  We spend every moment we can enjoying this weather, for it can all change tomorrow into a cold, dreary day.  We barbeque at every opportunity.  We attend festivals and gatherings, meeting new people and seeing old friends.  We have come out of our shell, so to speak, to dance in the full light of the sun. We make noise.  We laugh. We love out in the open in the lingering twilight.

Jack can bring all these wonderful things to the fore. He can also run you ragged.  Like tending a garden - we have to keep Him in check or else he will just run you crazy until you're lying on the floor, wondering how on earth you got there.  There's a rush to do things, to make use of the wonderful light and time of year.  We're overbooked - we're double and triple-booked in some cases.  We're teetering on the edge of the solstice, and Jack is waiting to push you over the edge.

Every year I say that I'm going to keep Jack in line. Every year I fail.  I always over-commit - doing too much, trying to get everything done.  My office work is in full festival mode. There are dance gigs going on.  Blogs and books to be written.  Book signings and events, camps and more to attend.  At this point in the year, I  find myself standing in the middle of it all, clutching at my hair and thinking I  was supposed to be taking it easy this year - I  was supposed to manage the energy better! It's the same, year after year.  Jack sidles up to you, whispers in your ear of what can be achieved, then later dances around and with you as you pant, trying to do it all, trying to catch your breath.  He smiles from the greenery, thick and choking as well as being lush and verdant.

Oh Jack - this dance that you lead me on, every single year!  This is the last time, Mr Green.  Next year I shall take the lead, and lead you on a merry dance under my rules.

Yeah. Right.

Jack is a god of nature. Jack doesn't care if he runs us ragged. He lives to live, he lives to thrive.  We can dance with him for a while, but to dance with him endlessly is to submit to something we simply cannot do without either going insane or dropping like flies.  We must learn to ride the green wave that brings us to the height of summer, conserving our energy, letting it out at the right time, honouring the time of greatest light and growth and then recede back into the earth in due course. 

Blessings of the summer solstice to you. x 

(Blog image: The Old Woman in the Wood, by Arthur Rackham

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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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