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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Relationship

Druidry is all about relationship, and you cannot have relationship without some form of communication. It may not always be in words, human to human, but opening those lines of communication helps us to perceive that the world is more than just our own sense of self. When we begin to see that there are other perspectives, other points of view we also come to an awareness that the world is being experienced by each being individually, in a collective state of unity dictated by space and time.

Events around the world this year have shone a spotlight on discordance, in human to human relationship, and in human to other-than-human relationships. Violent attacks, disregard for the environment, the increasing gap between the rich and the poor and more can be attributed to an "Us" and "Them" mentality. When we remove this dualist point of view, and encompass a more holistic approach, we see that what we do to others, we do to ourselves. In Buddhism, it is acknowledged that suffering exists in the world, and that this suffering is caused by the illusion of separation. If we look deeply enough scientifically, anthropologically, and even spiritually we can see that there is more that binds us together than tears us apart.

As a Druid, nature teaches me the impermanence of all things, through the cycles of birth and death, energy in constant motion. It has taught me of unity and ancestry, for in my body are electrons which have previously been in trees, in a child in Mexico, in the deer and the blackbird. The air that I breathe is the breath of the ancestors, and the shared breath of the world. We all have star-stuff within us. Not in a "hippy-dippy" sense, but in a real, visceral sense that this connection is all pervasive; we simply choose to ignore it for whatever reason.

Nature also teaches me of circumstance, for certain seeds will grow differently in various soils. My life is comfortable here in the West, and affords me the opportunity for quiet reflection. I am not being shot at, or suffering from hunger. Had my seed been planted in Syria, I may have found myself joining ISIL to escape the chains binding me to my house as many other women have done. It teaches me a great lesson in humility, reinforcing that one person is not better or worse than another.  Nature teaches me of great compassion, based on a wider perspective that circumstance and environment have a huge part to play in how we judge and take stock of our lives and the world. People cannot be judged, though their actions might be. Judging a situation, without being judgemental. Is this even possible?

Nature also teaches me of the way to work together to create harmonious union in an environment, to work for the benefit of the whole, in symbiosis. It teaches me that hatred towards any being has no place in my life, though I may hate the suffering that chains people in their situations. I know I can work towards ending that suffering, as a Druid, as a peacemaker, as an activist and as a human being. If I sow the seeds of love and compassion, respect and integrity I can have a hope for the future. That doesn't mean that the storms will not pass me by, or that I will not suffer, but I can weather the storms through my relationship with the gods, the land and the ancestors and hopefully lead by example without setting myself up as some sort of martyr.

Perhaps it is more about finding your place in the world, your place in your environment which gives your life meaning, even as your sense of self falls away in beautiful integration. In this, relationship is the key, for we have to open the lines of communication in order to understand more than our own point of view. However, this is just one perspective…

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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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