Hedge-Crossing is a practice that plays an essential role in my personal Craft and it’s something that I’m quite passionate about. I’ve written about previously on this blog, which you can check out here.
Lately I’ve received a number of questions about Hedge-Crossing, specifically about how it differs from other practices such as astral projection or guided meditation.
First, let me say that the answer to this question is going to be highly dependent one’s own personal definitions. For example, what a guided meditation involves for one person may be quite different from what it involves for somebody else. Therefore, I put the disclaimer out there that this blog post is largely based on my own conceptualization of these different practices and how they fit into my own personal cosmology.
Let’s begin by first attempting to define what Hedge-Crossing actually means.
The terms Hedge-Crossing, Hedge-Craft, and Hedge-Witch appear to be modern ones, however it is said that they are based off the old Saxon word “haegtessa,” which roughly translates to “Hedge-Rider.”
In any case, the Hedge that is being referred to is the hedgerow which, in the past, was planted as a means of separating one’s land from the surrounding wilderness. On the spiritual level, the Hedge can be understood as a metaphor for the boundary which divides our world from the world beyond. In this context, the Hedge-Rider is someone who has the ability to straddle that line and cross over at will. Therefore, when we talk about Hedge-Crossing we are referring to the practice of traveling outside of one’s body (in spirit form) and over into the Otherworld.
As I noted in my previous blog post:
“The main purpose of this practice is typically to communicate with various types of Spirits and Gods. The nature and goal of this communication varies but common examples include making pacts, finding counsel, seeking knowledge, forming relationships, and engaging in different types of ritual such as initiation, healing, celebratory, etc.”
So how does this differ from astral projection and guided meditation? Well, let’s take a look at some more definitions.
Guided meditation, as defined by Wikipedia (please don’t judge me), is “the process by which one or more participants meditate in response to the guidance provided by a trained practitioner or teacher.” Additionally, it is noted that, “the process often leads to the participant engaging in visualization and generating mental imagery.” I think that the key word here is mental.
My own personal conceptualization of guided meditation is that it is something that happens within the body, specifically in the mind. Furthermore, while images may naturally unfold, they are typically created by the individual or whomever is guiding the meditation. This differs from Hedge-Crossing which happens outside of the body and in a world where the landscape is already in existence (as opposed to created/controlled by the individual).
That being said, I do believe that guided meditation can be a useful tool in facilitating the process of crossing the Hedge. First, it helps to lower one’s self into the state of deeper consciousness that is necessary for Spirit-Flight. Second, the imagery that is visualized (such as actually crossing a hedgerow) can be of great aid in signaling the Spirit to lift out from the body. However, the important thing here is that while the process starts as an internal one, it shifts to being outside of the body.
But if Hedge-Crossing is the Spirit traveling outside of the body, how is that any different from astral projection? Well, again, it’s all going to depend on the definitions one uses.
In classical Occult theory, the astral-self projects outside of the physical body and into the astral-realm. This realm, which is said to be in between Heaven and Earth, is composed of different spheres inhabited by angels, demons, and other spirits. In a second, more modern definition, the astral body travels outside of the physical body but stays here in our mundane world.
As we can see, the former idea of astral projection is closer to Hedge-Crossing than the latter. However, there may still be differences between the two depending upon one’s own personal cosmological beliefs. For example, my personal conceptualization of the Otherworld is quite different than the one mentioned above.
So, in summation how do these concepts differ from each other? Simply put, this is how I personally see it:
Hopefully this blog post, while short in length, proves to be helpful! If anyone has further questions, please feel free to leave a comment below. I would love to hear other people’s thoughts on this matter and how you personally define these different concepts and differentiate between them.