Becoming the Witch on the edge...

Now that school is done and I have caught up with 80% of the things I needed to do, I have been considering my path again. This is something that I re-examine on a regular basis, but sometimes I reach a point where I find myself at the crossroads. Lately I find myself there quite a bit. Not always, but many times standing at the crossroads can be a signal of a death/rebirth cycle. This is where I currently find myself. Things around me are changing, things are dying. Things I thought were solid are not. People I trusted I no longer trust. Friendships ending, beloved cat leaving. All the security blankets taken away...

I became this insane woman so focused on things like academia, business, movement, and other airy things. I lost myself. Sometimes it happens, sometimes we have a moment where we say "hey I need to go on this journey" and so we do. There are ups and downs, and reasons we went on the journey to begin with. However along the journey sometimes we loose ourselves. Up till last night this is what I thought. I had completely compromised who I was trying to fulfill all these requirements I had placed on myself, or so I thought! You see just when you loose yourself and feel like you are standing naked in front of the world raw and open you look deeper past all the superficial things and into the core of who you are. When you wash off the dirt you can see the roots, their size, strength, and exactly how they are formed. This is what happened for me...

Years ago I wandered down the Wiccan path, first the eclectic path, then the initiatory path. It filled the gap and gave me the confidence I needed. I then wandered down the path of the Reiki Healer. It also filled a hole that needed to filled. I had to learn how to heal. I wandered down the path to Avalon. I found home here, or at least for a while. You see one can not live in Avalon all the time, but if I felt at home there, then where did I belong in this world? After the loss of my mentor I spent the last few years in a state of wandering. Wandering here and there. I found Traditional Craft an found that there are some aspects I loved like the history and folk magic and some things not so much. I learned that I am most happy working water magic, and I have the best results. I learned that plant spirit work was just as important to me as regular spirit work. I learned that plants, nature and death were a vital portion of my craft. I learned that I am not interested in diabolical craft. However the academic portion does interest me! (Just not as a practice) You see I believe in being balanced. So I acknowledge that the dark is as important as the light. I learned I was not impressed with the modern Wiccan/Pagan movement, and many other things about my path. Sound familiar? Not the white light and not the diabolical craft either, but balance. One can not live in the extreme of either and maintain balance. Read more about my thoughts on that here and listen to me babble on in a video here

To go forward you HAVE to go back.

I worked snake and wild carrot medicine among the swamp waters and cypress trees. I worked with the great weavers, and the dark mysteries of the waters, I was a Witch. I just had no idea at the time that this was the case because I was only 10. After fierce studying  as an adult that is exactly what it was. I learned that going back to my roots does not mean going back to where I first learned about the craft, it was when I first started practicing the craft. You might wonder how a pre-teen who has never hear of these things could be practicing them. I do not know if it is faery blood, as some call it, past life memory as others might, but I just was and I knew who I was then, there was no label and no politics...

I think it is time to take you back into deep memories. When I was a young girl I grew up quite different than many. We lived a very simple life, part time latchkey kids and full time fun! My dad finished school and found a good job. It was about then, in my pre-teens that we moved into a new home. We were all proud of this home, for us it was our first home we had ever had built and we had great pride. My parents were smart they chose a home that was alongside a wetland preserve. Nothing could be built behind us, and like much of the Florida habitat it was swamp land. This here was the beginning of my journey. My mother home schooled us for reasons that don't need to be mentioned. However this did play an important role in establishing my roots. Besides spending most of the summers on the hot beach in Daytona, I would spend much time in the forest/swamp behind my house. I would finish my work, grab my boots and be gone. Another important part of this was that the neighborhood was under construction. This meant dumpsters full of supplies! We recycled some of those supplied into a "tree house" well it wasn't a tree house because there was no tree. It was a little cottage on stilts on the edge of the property line and partially into the hedge. It sat on the boarder of this world. Each day I physically crossed the boarder into the swampy forest. I spent all my time gathering charms, snakes, feathers, flowers etc. I hung them in the cottage, placed them in jars etc. I was known in the neighborhood for identifying snakes. We would get all sorts of calls about me coming to see if this snake was poison or not. In fact I once was grounded for catching a pygmy rattler in a jar, I also caught a baby coral snake that got me busted as well. These are all energies of the Witch. Not the ceremonial Witch, but the energies of the Hedge Witch and the Hedge Rider (Read about the differences here)

This was the time that my dreams started. I have seen spirits since I was very young, but my dreams began about this time. Or I should more accurately state that I remembered my dreams, and noticed patterns. I had dreams of the future and the past. My empathetic abilities were turned on, I lashed out like an angry tidal wave, unable to control the feelings from a hundred different people at once. I have a good control of it now. However I still do melt down here and there I know what this is. It took me years to control the flood of emotions and even longer to figure out why I couldn't control them all the time. Today I see this as a sign. When I lash out or can't control my emotions this is a sign that something isn't right. It is a sign that I am unable to properly process the "empathic hits" this means one of 2 things. Either the persons energy has changed so drastically that it is not aligned with mine any longer. Or my time with them is simply over and I am unable to process the grief of the loss. One thing about being a psychic empath is sometimes you feel the feelings before the event occurs. This makes for one crazy life, but it can be dealt with and worked to ones advantage. (I can see all you empaths nodding) There is nothing like loosing your mind over something before it even happens. No this is not the same as self fulfilling prophecy, these events are out of our control, and often we don't know what they mean until later (and hours of meditation wondering why you are crazy) Back on track!

So These are my roots. I kept thinking that all my education was the foundation I was wrong... It was only the support beams. It was not the rock solid foundation at the bottom, it was what helped to expand my walls. I began to get angry with the community. I became confused with all the different corners that were at war with other corners, or at least hurling cows with insane insults over castle walls at each other. Which corner do I choose? Where do I fit? Better find a side because it isn't safe out here  in the center. So for a while I chose a corner, then found it wasn't right, so I chose another and also wasn't right, so I searched and searched. This led me to academia, oh what a ride that was. So enjoyable and so horrible all at once. It was another "thing" that I thought I needed for validation. Turns out it wasn't true...

"to truly walk the path of the witch means you best expect to be faced with challenging events and your deepest fears sooner or later. To be a witch means you will be asked by the spirits to do work that they want you to do, and it’s not always the kind of work you would ask for. That’s sort of the point, though."

This statement is truth the entire blog post is amazing go read it. We are all so different in our paths, the Witch can not be defined by conventional means. Instead she is defined by her/his work. I do not define my path as being a path of water, instead my work with water (and other things) defines me.

Then a few days ago I posted this on facebook...

I contacted an old acquaintance yesterday. I remembered she had written a blog about the Heron and Heron Medicine. I was struggling a bit in my mind and heart. I am fed up with people bashing other peoples paths. I'm tired of the Trad Crafters saying what horse shit New Age is, and i'm tired of new agers claiming that the craft is all dark and demonic (it can be, but not all of it). This goes on and on and on for almost every path has these problems. What I am trying to say is, if you path is forged on dissing of other paths, then you friend have a big problem, and no true path. I'm not perfect and in the past I have found myself in the throws of pagan politics, and christian bashing. That is not me, not now. So I asked her for the blog, and she sent it. I believe it has been expanded now and is better than ever. Read this, one Modern Witches account of her path.... " I followed the trail as I was led, and had learn what I needed to learn to get over the bullshit self-doubt that had dogged me for a decade"... "no human was an intercessor between me and the Gods, my ordination was direct from Source, and I know now that this is the only way for me." It speaks deeply to me and I think everyone should spend time reading this. If for the Heron medicine, or to read an account of a true, strong witch and priestess in our community. I was always taught that initiations made you a Witch. Well this is true! However what I didn't realize is that initiation come in all forms, the most powerful from the divine! 

This was the final piece to the puzzle, it always amazes me how what seam like small encounters on the surface (like a facebook post) can be the ONE thing that finally gives a clear picture. Many of you, no doubt have seen my post statements like "I am not Wiccan" or "I am not new age" I want to point out that these are statements about where I am currently. This is not me denying my roots or more accurately those support beams. I do not follow these paths any more, however they do influence me from time to time. I do not deny their existence in my life or my path. To do so would deny the existence of my path that I am on now. For how would I have ever arrived here without first being there? Something else you will not see me do is bash these paths. I studied them, I received certificates, and graduations and papers that say I am educated in these things, these are all true. From time to time I may use a piece of quartz this does not diminish my current path, or the realization of who I am at this moment. To bash these practices (or anyone's for that matter) does not give my current practice validation, in fact if I did I would be completely sabotaging where I am now, denying the very existence of everything I have learned, everything I have gone through, and everything I will do. I am not going to remove these older support beams, instead I am adding newer ones, and repairing others...

As mentioned in Heron's blog about her inner 3rd degree I resonate with her acknowledgement of it. I am not going to label myself and say that i'm going through an inner 3rd. Perhaps I am, NO doubt Heron did, but for some reason I don't need to claim a number. I feel like i'm getting an upgrade. I don't know if it is 2.0 or 3.0 but it is an upgrade and one that has certainly taken fear and doubt and thrown them out the window. One that has taken the security away and said GO practice in the wild, be wild, since when did you worry about rules and expectation? You are water you can NOT fit into a box, it can not hold you...

So I do not choose to be in the center of the warring corners, and I reject the fundamentalist corners. You will not find me in your box of what I should or shouldn't be. I do not align myself with any corner, any group, any idiots who are spending their time complaining about crap that is wrong. I align myself with my higher purpose and with the greatest teachers earth, water, wisdom, compassion and with these I stand on the edge, one foot in the spirit world, and one foot here in this world. It is strange how you wander down a path so sure of your destination, so sure you know what is at the end. Only to find that the path wasn't labeled correctly! I walked down the path of academia looking for validation. Turns out the path was not called Academia, but instead the path to "finding your true self" so I wandered through the forest of academia, and at the end is a burning cauldron of "who gives a fuck about validation" Here I am, this is me, I share what I can, I understand my purpose and what it is, at least as it is right now, and so I wander down this thorny path in search of crafting, in search of practice, but not in search for who I am.

I am the Hawthorn tree
I stand at the edge between you and me
I am the decision made
Like the Heron through the muck I wade
Thought I lost myself along the way
Turns out I was just ok!
A Witches work is never done
Time to walk my path, NO RUN!
To the place where I belong
Back to my roots I trudge along
Standing on the edge I found my song...

~For what you can not find within You will never find without~

Big THANK YOU to Heron Michelle and Kayla Wilde. I haven't had the time (during this last semester) to blog much and, having these to read and ponder has been truly amazing. Thank you for holding me up when you didn't even know you were. This is what it is all about folks... Support and nurturing others growth thanks for fertilizing my soil and soul.

OH! and a Last big Thanks to my bestest bestie! Who is has amazingly strong ears to listen to my incessant babbling along the way...

Hedge Rider vs Hedge Witch

Most every Pagan now a days has heard the term "Hedgewitch" What many don't know or understand that this word has taken on a new meaning in the last 20 years or so. It refers to a Witch usually a woman who finds the core of her magical practice in her garden or with plants. There is an older term, one that is very close that is used to describe a very different practice, Hedge Rider. What is a Hedge Rider? Well simply put it is one who journeys to the other side, through the veil and has the gift of second sight.

Before modern times many people did not venture out of town very often, and if they did they seldom did it at night. The edge of town was often marked with a hedge signifying the end of civilization and beyond that was the wild and unknown. In  Eric de Vries book (below) he describes how the word Hedgerider has its roots in an old Norse work Hagzissa but also in Old English Haegtess. Which means Hedgerider. It is the same concept as "Parting the Mists" only the imagery of the Hedge and the edge of town is used instead of a mystical mist. One would ride the hedge by going into a trance, or what we call journey work today. This is crossing the boundary from this world into the other, which is wild and unknown!

The Hedge Rider's roots are very much in Traditional Witchcraft. They tend to work with Spirits through trance and divination. They can work either in groups or solitary. The benefit to working in a group is that there can be a ward or some one to watch over the body while the soul is flying. They use aids like flying ointments, and other ethnogens to help their spirit cross to the other world. They can shape shift, meaning their spirit can take the form of an animal. A big part of Hedge Riding is being a master Diviner, or as the Greeks would call Pythoness or Pythia (Oracle at Delphi) Hedge Riders find that much of their practices come from older lore, and that of the Cunning folk. Hedge Riders can be healers, but more of the spiritual nature, you would receive a charm over a medicinal cure.

 Hedge Witches tend to be solitary and work most of their magic on this plane with herbs, plants, and flowers. Many Witches that work in the kitchen adopt this term rather than Kitchen Witch. They find much of their practice in Folk Magic and in Nature. Their roots are in Wicca or tend to lean in that direction, working with specific colors, herbs, magic of the home. Many times this is called Green Craft or Green Witchcraft. Hedge Witches pull much of their practice from modern sources backing up their herbal knowledge with modern medicine and science, when it comes to healing. They also work charms and spells but they tend to be of a different nature, and use things like crystals, and herbs. 

Can someone be both a Hedge Rider and Hedge Witch? Yes if they are practicing crossing the veil, second sight and also find their core practice in their garden etc. If one is performing herbal magic without the Journey work, divination, and spirit work then they are practicing Hedge Witchery and not Hedge Riding. These practices very much compliment each other. Hedge Riders use poison herbs to aid in flight, while the Hedge Witch is able to connect with the spirit world through meditations.

To learn more about becoming a Hedgerider visit this link and read this book

To learn more about becoming a Hedge Witch visit this link and read these books