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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In the Darkness...

The autumn equinox is fast upon us – the time when the balance tips from the light half of the year to the dark half.  Daylight hours are on the wane and soon the night and twilight hours will take precedence, allowing us a time for rest, for thought and for reflection.

The harvest is still in full swing, the country lanes full of tractors, the smell of newly turned earth and freshly harvested onions and turnips mixing in with the smell of woodsmoke on the wind.  The farmers are making the most of the daylight hours left, and also ploughing and harvesting by the light of the moon when they can.  We can often hear the rumbling of the machines late into the night, amidst the hooting of owls that are awakening earlier and earlier, beginning theirs first calls before sunset.

The air has turned colder, and we prepare for the longer nights.  For some, the loss of summer, of hot sunshine and blue skies is a real blow – for others, the cool air and deepening twilight are a refreshing change.  One thing that we are reminded of is that change is ever constant – oh the irony.

The impermanence of all things is shown to us each and every day by what we see happening around us in nature. Even though the human race tries to distance itself from it, some even believing that we are set apart from the great cycle, it is only an illusion.  We are all born, we all live and we all die.  Every day we are changing, even as the leaves fall and the herbs die back, the bees hibernating or finding their final rest once the frosts come.  We do not even have the same cells in our body for any established period of time – they replace themselves daily, weekly or yearly depending on the cells. 

In the growing darkness we can become aware of this change, of this impermanence.  It is easier, in the dark, to drop our edges and merge with the rest of the world.  Boundaries are blurred, and we realise fully that we are not separate from it.  We release into the darkness as it holds us, allowing that time for breathing, for change, for transformation.  In the darkness of the cocoon the pupae transforms into the magnificent winged creature.  In the darkness of the womb the child develops.  In the darkness of the cold earth the seeds lie hidden, waiting for spring to emerge.

Do not mourn the lessening light – instead celebrate the coming darkness.  Welcome the autumn and winter tides and let go of the lazy, hazy summer days – they are gone.  Nothing will bring them back.  There is no past, there is no future, there is only now. This very moment is the only moment we have to work with, to fully become, to fully integrate each and every waking second.

Find your place in the dance of the seasons, and tumble headlong into the shifting tides of light and darkness.  See the beauty in the ever flowing dance, and allow that beauty to sing deep within your heart.  Welcome the change, dancing within the darkness, held by the sanctuary that it provides the soul.  


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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.


  • Lizann Bassham
    Lizann Bassham Tuesday, 17 September 2013

    Thank you Joanna - beautifully written and lovely to read. This time of year in the Northern Hemisphere is pretty amazing indeed. I love the way you invite us into the gift of it.

  • Joanna van der Hoeven
    Joanna van der Hoeven Wednesday, 18 September 2013

    It is my favourite time... x

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