When one hears or reads the phrase “Parting the Mist” a vision of a great fog with mystical quality comes to mind, perhaps a woman on a boat with her hands raised entering into Avalon. However we don’t all have boats or even mystical misty lakes to enter into the otherworld through. So how do witches do it? Parting the mist is crossing into liminal space, over the hedge and into the spirit world. You see this in examples like Alice in wonderland where she falls down the rabbit hole, and in Harry Potter’s platform 9 and ¾ and many other references in pop culture. In mythology and folklore often times the hero crosses water and enters the underworld; the River Styx is a good example and so is crossing a river to escape an angry spirit, and numerous other examples where humans cross from the mundane human world through a liminal space or object into a different world, a world of spirit or other.
Hedgecrossing is another term to describe the process of crossing into the otherworld. The Hedge was, in pre-modern times, a boundary between this world and the otherworld. It represented the border between the wild unknown and the safety and order of the town. For one to cross the hedge was to cross into the dangers of the forest, often dark, wild and dangerous and in its own way an otherworld. It is this activity that the term Hedgecrossing originates from. It describes the witch who crosses from this physical world, through the boarder, hedge, river, or mist and into the unknown. Trees with hollows, wells, and mushroom rings are known to be entrances into the world of the Fae. Those that engage in spirit flight cross the border between the worlds through any of these means, leaving their physical self behind by crossing any one of these bridges and entering into these worlds. It is important to note that these realms are not the place of our dreams and fantasies, there are no glitter unicorns or sparkly lollipops, but you may run into a soul devouring water horse or be tempted to eat the food of the fae. It is not for the faint of heart and one must walk with wisdom in these realms or be lost.
The Mist itself is a liminal space; it occupies neither here nor there, but is visible in both and can be felt on an energetic level. The knowledge of its existence but its intangibility makes it the perfect vehicle in which to usher souls across the realms. Becoming skilled at parting these different mist is important to magician or witch of any path. A clear mind and access to the other realms through discipline, practice and visualization.
In meditation or journey work one can enter the realm of faery or the otherworlds through clearing the mind and using visualization to part the mists in the mind’s eye to step through the doorway from this world to the otherworld. To do this one would go into an altered state of consciousness, first clearing the fog of the mind and moving into a more trance like state. Here is where visualization can take you through a journey where you part a mist or clear a fog in the mind and step through into the otherworld. A variety of techniques are used depending on the practitioner and their path and how deeply they want to enter the otherworld. Some may do so very quickly through a meditation or remote viewing, while others may take a more complicated path of separating from their physical body and entering the world of other through spirit flight or hedgecrossing. For the skilled ceremonial magician or circle casting witch, casting a circle in any of the various ways is a way of not only creating sacred space, but it is the bridge to the otherworld as well. The circle becomes the bridge and how connected to the otherworld is up to the skill and wants of the practitioner.
You can part the mist in your own way by first parting the mist between you and the electronic world, then the mundane world and the spiritual realms and deeper into the under or otherworlds if you wish. You can do so in a variety of ways. You can part the mists via trance and entering into a fog in your minds eye and parting a mist or fog like substance that flows around you, putting you between here and there and transporting your soul to the otherworld, which may be the realms of ancestors, the realms of faery or any other places accessed thorough liminal space. You can cast a circle and invoke the spirit of Morgan la Fae to help cross the waters. You can stand on the shores of the ocean and let nine waves wash over you to journey to the realm of other. Or you can use a pop culture style, with hands held high and feet firmly placed on the ground like you might see in an Arthurian themed movie. You can part the mists like this in ritual, at the shores, or even on a boat! I will admit that standing in my gardens with arms raised and a cool Oregon Fog all around is quite powerful.
Here in Oregon the mist rolls in at dusk and dawn, often times during the darker colder months there is a mist like haze all day. We are in a hilly region both of my neighbors homes are high on hills on either side of our little creek valley. It is pure magic to watch the mist roll over the hills and spill into our little homestead. It is easy to slip into the otherworld at dusk with the milky fog rolling in and obscuring the world round. Walking to the water temple from the gardens one must first cross the ever flowing creek. In fact there is no way for me to enter the temple but by first crossing water in a hazel and hawthorn grove and under a mysterious alder and into the brush winding around thorns and spider webs and down to the water temple where I can part the mists and enter into the world of other.
Learn more about Annwyn and Avalonian Witchcraft here
Learn more about Annwyn and Water Witchcraft here