The Rose Thorn Charm

Slathered in homemade flying ointments of nightshade and fly agaric, I waded through the waters of the forest creek. I dropped pansies from my garden as an offering and sacrifice to the spirit world. I walked against the current untill I heard a call, a tug at my heart strings. I saw the seductive silver of the artemisa and nightshade. A single purple flower with a bright yellow pistil and anthers stuck out and drew me in. I instantly knew I had permission, it is almost as if she drew me in. There was no need to ask she beckoned me over and I thanked them. I harvested several branches and placed them in my harvesting basket. I walked for a while before heading back to my family picnicking by the river for lunch. I thought I had finished collecting plants, but I was not quite done. There to my right, standing high above the rest of the silver weeds were green and brown striped balls glistening in the sun. There were exactly three on a dried and twisted silver nightshade twig, my charm was almost complete. I collected fallen bark, droplets of sap from the ground, some wild weeds and then I waded in the waters and regenerated. I crossed the river back to my family and after an enjoyable day returned home.

The rose, the first to bloom on this plant the second for an offering. This one white on the outside and deep blood red on the inside. It whispers to me words of bone and blood. I combine the rose with it's extra sharp, needle fine thorns, with the prickly weeds and silver nightshade. This formed the perfect combination for the charm I needed. Beauty and bane, bone and blood...tied with a black cord this protection charm now hangs in the magic room. I warn visitors not get too close to this beauty, she has a sharp bite. There were many sacrifices in this making this magical charm. Sharp pricks sticking my flesh as I wrap the cord around it reminding me that everything has a price. All great works of magic cost, the price is always different and never easy. The cord wound tight, the sacrifice given, incantations whispered and life given...

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

Tween places and Portals

Last night I was sitting in my usual spot, that spot I go at about 8:00pm-8:30pm when the boys have driven me to insanity, the cats want cuddle time, and the tv is on, and I am just not a tv person. I dont like to watch it, sure there are some tv shows I really like, but they are never on at this time. Usually the boy is in the bath, or doing his nightly get out of going to bed routine. This is when I go and retreat. I usually sit on the floor, and meditate, play with the cats or take a bath.

Something particular occured last night. As I was sitting there on the floor, zoned out, I was staring off to my right, there is a large arch way that seperates the bathroom from the bedroom and off set from that about 4 inches in is a bookshelf. This is no particular bookshelf, nothing Witchy or Pagan about it, it holds mostly novels, and computer books. So as I was sitting there, I began to think of tween places. Im a huge fan of tween places. I love to walk the banks of lakes, rivers and streams these are all tween places, corners in a yard, the edge of a forest etc. Before I go on, many of you might be wondering what is a tween place? and why does it even matter?

Well tween places are places, in between. They are in between here and there, this world and the next, the mundane, and the magical, but most importantly they mark, and are the places that allow one easy entrance to the other side. Witches of old, were often called Hedgeriders, or Hedge Witches. They are not the Witches of today who call themselves hedgewitches because they are gardeners or work with herbs, this meanings is quite a new meaning in fact. What a hedge witch really is is one that crosses the hedge. The hedge used to be the boundary between the town and the outside world. This was rarely crossed as many times it was dangerous to venture out of the boundary. So they earned this name by crossing the "hedge" Now you may be asking how does one become a Witch by walking out of town, well that isnt quite what I mean. What I mean is that the hedge was a representation of the end of the town, the end of the unknown and safe places. When a Witch would cross the hedge it meant that he/she was parting the veil and crossing from the mundane into the  the unknown and spiritual world. This was achieved through deep meditation and oftentimes the use of tween places and portals.

I want to take just a moment to say that what I was speaking about above is achieved through deep meditation, trance and journey work. Not basic light meditation, though basic meditation is a wonderful practice it serves as more of a restorative practice rather than a deep, mind and spirit altering practice. Once deep trance, meditation or "hedge crossing" has been achieved you find that it will become easier and easier to enter that state, and "cross the hedge"

So what does all this have to do with portals and tween places? Well not only are boarders of towns, tween places (the place that marks between here and there) but doorways, arches, the end of land, the edge of a lake etc are all "tween places". They mark the exact spot that is between here and there. "There" being the other world, Avalon, Annwn, Summerlands etc. I oftentimes use Alice in Wonderland an example and it is a perfect one at that! When Alice peered into the rabit hole she was in a tween place. So now you understand what a tween place is, and deep meditation, you can begin to understand their significance. You see once you are in meditation you can enter the other side through this tween place, you can even enhance these journeys by sitting in or at the edge of these tween places. It is said that in these places you can see with the naked eye what is on the other side, meditation is not needed! (but practice, and alignment with the spirit beings is) In these tween places, I can feel the energy stronger than anywhere. There are many times gifts that are left for me, bones, feathers or messages! In return you can leave gifts for the Ancestors, or the Faery race. A windowsill is a perfect example of a tween place, and therefore a wonderful place to make an Ancestor shrine, or Faery shrine.

So back to what I was talking about above. There is a Portal in my room, there is an arch way, a tween place, with a bookshelf against it, so it is a tween place in a tween place, and THAT is a portal. I had zoned out, and was in a light meditative state, I began to breath rythmically, and enter a deep trance state, I could see the energy move, and the portal crack open, and then I KNEW it was a portal! I will admit that I was so excited that I didn't explore it more, it wasn't the excitement of a portal. I have experienced those before in my walks through nature, and in deep Shamanic Journeys, it was the excitement of the realization of where it was. It was so mundane that I had not thought that there could be so much magick! Needless to say this will be explored more through meditation and journey work!

Let me know what your favorite tween places are, or if you have discovered any portals! And if you want to know more you can check this book out!