Meditation, Pathworking, Hedge Riding and a Journey Pouch
There are several types of meditation and it is all about finding a method that works for you. Some of the methods often take a bit of practice and others require a bit of experience behind you as well. There will be a method that suits you and there are things you can do to boost your skills.
Here are just a few:
Ascension meditation, Apophatic meditation, Breathing meditation, Cleansing meditation, Contemplative inquiry meditation
Day dreaming, Gratitude meditation, Guided meditation, Heart meditation, Hedge riding, Intentionality meditation
Kasina meditation, Kinhin, Mantra meditation, Metta meditation or Loving Kindness meditation, Mindfulness meditation
Pathworking/journeying, Planetary meditation, Pranayama, Qiqong (Chi kung), Self Enquiry, Shamanic Journeying
Spiritual meditation, Tantra – I know what you are thinking…but most Tantra practices have nothing to do with hours of sex (sorry I know you are disappointed now…).
Taoist meditation, Breathing meditation (Zhuanqi), Neiguan, Tai Chi meditation, Transcendental meditation ™, Vipassana meditation
Visualisation, Yoga meditation, Third eye meditation, Chakra meditation, Gazing meditation (Trataka), Kundalini meditation, Sound meditation (Nada yoga)
Sometimes called journeying, inner plane work or vision questing pathworking is a form of meditation used a lot in the Shamanic practice. It is a structured meditation with a purpose to it, a guided journey into our inner world or onto other planes or other worlds such as the Otherworld or into the land of Fae. It is a practice that should only be undertaken by those more experienced in meditation skills. This type of journeying allows us to stretch ourselves, to dip into our inner power, to connect with divinity, to aid us in decision making, to seek out past lives and to connect with messengers and guides. Pathworking allows us to go beyond our conscious and even our universe because it creates a link between our conscious and sub conscious minds allowing us to access memories and psychic skills we may not usually reach.
The basics of setting up a pathworking
Decide what you need from this trip, why are you journeying? What path will you take? What is your destination? What or who would you like to encounter? Obviously you will probably encounter some things you didn’t plan for but that makes it even more worthwhile! What image do you want to use to take you from this world onto your journey? (I.e. a gate, a knothole in a tree, a doorway etc).
When you have decided upon those details you need a frame work – starting with an induction, this is where you enter the pathworking, the trance like state. Then the body, this is whatever you need to do whilst in your pathworking, the reason you are there. And then the closure, where you leave the pathworking and come back to reality. The induction and the closure will be pretty close to your ‘script’ but the body may take different twists and turns other than those you expected.
It helps to write down your framework. I prefer to then record it to my phone or laptop so that I can listen to it, but go with what works for you.
A Hedge witch has one foot in this world and the other in the Underworld, hedge riding is the term used to describe the journeys that a Hedge witch makes, very similar in fact to the Underworld/Otherworld journeys that a Shamanic practitioner makes. Again I won’t go into too much detail on this as there are some good books out there that will help you further if you are interested but it is another meditation practice that requires some experience.
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 is not something to be taken lightly, it definitely isn’t somewhere to just visit because you are bored, it 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.
Personally I would advise becoming experienced in pathworking, shape shifting and astral travel before attempting to hedge ride not purely for safety but also because it will help you with the journey. This is not something to be attempted by those just stepping onto the meditation ladder. Hedge riding should also be avoided if you are feeling unwell or if you have any kind of mental illness.
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 and whilst there you will need to take note of any symbols or signs that you see and any sounds you hear or scents you smell they may all be important.
A hedge witch will enter the otherworld via a trance state, an altered state of conscious when your mind and spirit work separately from your physical body. You are not fully conscious but you are not unconscious, you are in that wonderful state in between, but you are always fully aware of what you are doing. You are lucid and in control but don’t fall asleep.
Altered states of conscious can be induced via means of drugs but I would wholeheartedly NOT advise this route. You will need to go past the state of meditation and on to pathworking to achieve hedge riding, I find drumming helps, but chanting can also be very useful. Shamanic music with drums and rattles is also good; any rhythmic beat will work well.
Many hedge witches (and shamans) have a medicine bag that they use to keep magical items in to aid in journeying. Each bag will be personal and specific to each individual, it might contain beads, shells, feathers, pebbles, herbs and crystals – if you decide to make your own bag be guided by your intuition and add whatever you feel is necessary to help you on your hedge riding.
An animal spirit guide is extremely useful to journey to the other side of the hedge with. In my experience you don’t choose your animal guide, it chooses you, don’t be surprised if your hedge riding guide is a different one from your usual power animal and you may also find that your guide to the different worlds will be different in each one and they might even be different for each journey you take or you may have the same guide every time…be open to whatever you meet.
You might find that it takes a few hedge riding journeys before you meet any spirit guides and you may find different guides in each world. They may be there to guide you, they may be there to give you a message, but it won’t always be via spoken word, look out for signs and symbols.
The Three Realms
So let’s talk about the three realms that a hedge witch can enter…and I am going to describe the general ideas, but…your experience may be different.
Generally (not always) a hedge witch will access the worlds via a tree, often it is seen as the Tree of Life and it is a portal to the otherworld. You might see an entrance between the roots which takes you to the lower world, there might be an entrance halfway up the trunk to the middle world and an entrance in the upper branches to the upper world – what you see might be different. There is also another level accessed via the lower world, this takes you down another level to the underworld.
The Underworld/Hades/Tir na n-Og/Helheim
The Underworld or the Lower World as it is sometimes called is not a deep, dark fiery hell pit…really it isn’t. It can however be seen as darker than the middle world. It may often appear as a cave or a very primordial jungle. You can find dangers in the underworld but you can also meet them in the middle and upper world too. The Underworld is earthy, stable and grounding, it is the base from which the world grows. The Underworld deals with emotions, our intuition and our very basic needs. You may meet ancestors here, animal guides, guardians, plant spirits and the Underworld Kings and Queens along with the faerie realm are found here.
The Middle World/Earth/Midgard/Bith
The middle world is often used as a place for time travel (you are thinking Doctor Who now and his tardis aren’t you?). The middle world is very much like our own and you can find yourself in any familiar type of structure, building or landscape. This world is as much full of bad spirits as it is good, so be wary. You will find earth and fertility deities here along with the Elementals, land guardian spirits, messenger deities, nature spirits and the Wild Hunt.
The Upper World/Avalon/Asgard/Olympus
This world is beeeeautiful. Spirits live here and it shows. Think beautiful landscapes, dreamy clouds, sparkling streams and all that is amazing. This is the place to meet and greet spirit guides, Angels, Ascended Masters, Devas, Deity and animal guides. It is the upper astral, the spiritual plane and a place of enlightenment. This world will show you knowledge, inspiration, ideas and wisdom (hopefully) and also provide healing. The Upper World can also help you remove yourself from your ego and see things as they really are.
Don’t forget it is very wise to ground and centre before AND after any journeying.
Before you start your hedge ride make sure you have an idea of what your purpose and intent is whether it is a question you need an answer to, advice on a situation or healing and throughout your journey keep focused on your intent.
If you are looking for answers take note of any symbols you see, objects you find, people or animals you meet, you may also come across pools of water that can be used for scrying.
Healing can be achieved by bathing in oceans, streams or pools or you can use the energy from your animal guides to help the healing process. Your guides can also help with protection requirements.
Your spirit guides in the upper world can help you out if you are seeking knowledge.
Please remember to always be polite and courteous to any animal or being that you meet in any of the worlds – treat them with respect at all times.
If you should meet any spirit that you don’t like, politely but firmly ask them to leave – you have the power to make it leave…you are in control at all times.
Riding the Hearth, not the hedge
Hints and Tips for meditation:
See my previous blog https://www.patheos.com/blogs/beneaththemoon/2018/07/hints-and-tips-for-meditation/
Meditating With Crystals
See my previous blog
Meditation incense blends
See my previous blog https://www.patheos.com/blogs/beneaththemoon/2018/03/meditation-incense-blends/
Meditation tea blends
See my previous blog https://www.patheos.com/blogs/beneaththemoon/2018/03/meditation-tea-blends/
Video (and for a peek inside the journey pouch)
To catch the replay of my live talk/Q&A on Meditation, Pathworking, Hedge Riding & a Journey Pouch, click the link below
Information drawn from Pagan Portals Meditation by Rachel Patterson
An introduction to the beautiful world of meditation…
This book will take you on a journey giving hints and tips on how to meditate succesfully, breathing exercises, chants and visualisation tips. Also included are lovely meditation tea and incense blends, how to meditate with crystals, make meditation beads and a whole host of guided meditations for you to experience. Together with introducing you to other meditation skills such as pathworking, shape shifting, astral travel and working with meditation to cleanse your chakras.
The ability to bend into a pretzel shape and chant ‘om’ optional…