Riding the Hearth…not the hedge
After reading this you may think either:
- This witch is totally bonkers.
- She is completely off the rails mocking the system of the Craft.
- It is just a witch trying to find her own unique pathway, that works.
Hopefully you will think I am option number 3 but I am happy to come under option number 1 as a back-up. Please don’t think of me as option number 2, I promise you The Craft is my life and I would never dishonour it.
Many years ago, whilst working on a progressive magick course run by Gavin Bone & Janet Farrar I discovered the skill of travelling to the other worlds, something often referred to as hedge riding.
I was immediately hooked and have been working with it ever since.
Hedge Riding in short
The hedge is the symbolic boundary between the worlds. Hedge riding is the journey your spirit takes into the Otherworld or Underworld realms, sometimes called the upper and lower realms. The middle realm being our everyday world that we live in.
Hedge riding can take our spirit travelling back into the past to connect with our ancestors. We can meet and talk with our past life selves. The upper realm can provide us with connections to our spirit guides and teachers and the Divine. The lower realm takes us on a journey to find animal guides and to meet the souls of those passed over.
It is not something to be taken lightly, it definitely isn’t somewhere to just visit because you are bored. This is something to be taken very seriously and journeys should be taken with a particular question or mission in mind. It might be a journey undertaken for the purposes of healing, seeking an answer to a question, for spell work or to find spiritual enlightenment.
Hedge riding is very similar to shamanic journeys and also incorporates the art of Seidh or ‘seer work’ in that you will communicate with the spirits. During a journey your spirit, your conscious will travel to the Otherworld.
Falling off the hedgeHowever, I had been struggling. I would sit in front of the gnarled old tree that usually opens up doorways to the different levels of the other world allowing me to trot ‘over the hedge’ and into a different realm. But I would enter the tree and fall into a black hole. One that appeared to be never ending and all I did was fall without ever ending up anywhere.
I was perplexed. Until I realised that it wasn’t working because of my personal pathway. My own journey has twisted and turned and veered off in all sorts of directions allowing me to bring back bits and bobs from other pathways and cultures to create my own unique spiritual way.
No matter what direction I drift off to, I always seem to end up back on the path of a Kitchen Witch, obviously it is at my core. The realisation was that the tree didn’t quite fit with my Kitchen Witch persona. So I meditated to find another avenue. An apple tree in a vegetable garden was the first image to appear but it was just an apple tree, sadly no gateways.
Entering the hearth
Then inspiration struck. My vision was of a large high backed wooden chair (not a rocking chair because me and rocking chairs don’t mix well) but an old chair with several comfy cushions in. It was sat in an old kitchen with a terracotta stone floor and beamed ceilings hung with herbs. Yep I know it is a bit stereotypical but hey work with me… The chair was placed in front of an old cast iron range with a roaring fire in.
As I sat and watched the doorways revealed themselves to me (I promise I hadn’t eaten any dodgy mushrooms). The lower realm became open via the tray of ash that sits at the bottom of the oven, all dark and dusty. The middle world revealed itself via the oven with the doors thrown open. And the upper world is accessible through the smoke that comes out of the fire and up through the chimney.
It was a relief to be back and each time I visit the otherworlds now it is by using my ‘hearth riding‘ system.
My advice to anyone working within the Craft, do what works for you!