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HedgeWitch Days!

August 1st, 2015

Wiltshire Witchy Walk

Bedecked with basket swinging my arm I wander out into the place from of my spiritual home, the hedgerow. The sound of my feet crunching on the gravel of the lane beat a harmonious tune in time with the grumble of the combine harvester, and I marvel at this technology, bringing in the crop cleanly and quickly, saving the vital life giving grains from the water element that threatens a sharp shower later. I bow my head in a gesture of respect to this modern monster, and the help it gives our hardworking farmers all over this glorious British isle. I give thanks to the Goddess for the grain as it is collected so efficiently this Lammas.

Renewed in my focus back to the now, my footsteps beat a slower tune as my sight sharpens on the green verge to my left. The hum of the machine is no less invasive but my ears hone their witchy vibrations as the gentle buzz of a fat honey bee lazily makes it way from creamy clover to the blush pink of the rosebay willow herb. I stop and watch as the bee bounces from blossom to blossom, speckles of pollen clinging to its round little behind. How does this now much heavier bee fly? I am overwhelmed with thankfulness for this most industrious of insects, its gift of working for Mother Nature does surely make the world keep turning, I bow my head as a mark of respect, a whisper of my thanks for all the insect life escapes my lips as I give thanks to the Goddess.

Rooted to the spot, I feel my feet connected, grounded to the earth below. Raising my head my gaze is met by a wall of green…but I look closer through Witchy eyes. My feet find what they are looking for, my connection with the earth penetrates through my flip flops, down within the warm almost moist soil and join with the force of the roots, a tangle of threads and cords envelop my ankles, holding me firmly and accepting me as a passing visitor in their space. A pulse not unlike my own heartbeat pumps through the earth as these tendrils, just like a baby’s umbilical cord, draw up and feed the canopy, supplying damp goodness on tap. I feel myself become one with this lifeline. I feel my energy travelling along these fleshy tendrils and breathe a sigh as does the hedgerow, feeling flooded with nutrients from the element of earth, our greatest recycler. I bow my head in reverence to the underworld, the labyrinth of networks, home of the worms and the roots, and I give my thanks to the Goddess.

With still rooted feet my eyes drift upwards towards the canopy, their focus sharpening, a myriad of shapes and colours explodes into my vision, the general green shapes expanding into jewel like flashes. The Hawthorn, leaves tinged with the beginning of red, bows low under its own weight of berries. In the main still green, but orange and occasionally red shining through they hold the promise of Mabon. The next door neighbour, the blackthorn supports the velvety almost blue Sloes, plump and bitter, protected by its defences of sharp thorns. The beech sits in my eye line, spreading its crisp fuzzy husks and a smattering of small tasty nuts as a strew along the lane. Hanging nestled in the leaves ready for the waiting squirrels to hoard them for winter they spend their time plumping up ready for their next journey in the cycle of life….as does the hazel sitting to the right of the Hawthorn. Green clusters of the juiciest cobs show a brown tinge of ripening and loosening from their safe haven. I bow my head and give thanks to the trees for all they provide our species and others too. I give thanks for their shelter to all creatures, and I think of the warmth of their spent branches providing fire in the coldest of times, in their death the warmth of life can continue. I whisper my thanks to the Goddess.

I smile gently as a tiny brown wren, the size of a field mouse hops through the straight Hazel whips to the Hawthorn, stopping only to pluck an insect from the truck. It spies me! Paused in a freeze frame, a moment of connection with this small soul makes my heart skip a beat. Its glinting black eye sees no threat in me and as I gently exhale it continues on its way with effortless flight, almost levitating into the sky.

My gaze follows the wren, saddened at the loss of connection to this creature of the sky, the moment and feeling passes…the glorious sky now captivates my vision. Lifting my head I inhale a warm autumnal breath. It permeates my nostrils with grain dust and grassiness, and floods through my veins, sealing the moment of the season into my very being. The element of air comes to me like a wave, cleansing me inside and out as my fringe is lifted delicately away from my forehead to allow the dancing sunlight to touch my face. I close my eyes for only a moment and embrace the gift of this most tactical of elements. I feel complete, a part of the landscape in which I stand as I receive no special treatment from the breeze, its caress is all inclusive, from the tiniest ant to the tallest oak. My mind flips back to the farmer, knowing he too will feel this healing wash of air as he works.

My eyes flutter open slowly, adjusting to the golden light. How wondrous is the sky?!

Blue, clear clean blue peppered with white candy floss clouds. The grey of the autumn rain clouds hover in the distance, waiting in line for their turn to fill the picture above my head. Crows circle over to my left as they follow the trail of the combine, a meal of the finest just cut wheat awaits. I feel my inner being drift upwards to connect with the clouds, seeing as if sat atop of them. The rolling hills, the streams and lanes, the market towns, villages and fields are all laid out in a tapestry, a patchwork quilt of the most ancient threads, linking and holding together the communities and all sentient beings as far as the eye can see and further still. What mystery is held within that sky! What goes beyond? I lower my head in respect to the upper world, in respect of the mysteries of this life, my heart hoping one day to learn some of their secrets as I quietly give thanks to the Goddess.

My breath is a deep one as all the elements converge once again to allow the complete picture. My being becomes centred as my feet are released from their nest of roots and my mind returns from the mysteries of the sky…I feel renewed, replenished, restored, connected. My basket is empty, save the odd piece of abandoned rubbish, snatched from the mesh of the hedgerows tangle of branches, removed as my offering of thanks to our Mother. My soul is full and my heart sings with the joy of my spiritual fulfillment. As my steps carry me home I whisper a final thanks to the Goddess for my journey today, for her gifts that, as ever, are unconditional.

I find myself at my own front door and check my watch. I have been gone almost two hours from this time, and I remind myself that the magical path I walk upon holds no time constraints. I breathe one last magical breath, ask that the magic of my walk today touches all I do. I cocoon the energy of today around my inner soul, draping it in and around me like a sheer luminous silk.

This is the magic of my home, Wiltshire. It does not just reside amongst the obvious stone circles and barrows, nor is it the landmarks so conveniently printed in our maps. It is the ancient connection of this my homeland that runs all across our beloved Mother Earth, knotting us all together as part of an invisible web of energy, love and light.

How blessed we all are to be part of that web!

*The Hedgewitch lives in the space between the Village and the Forest. Between the mundane and the magical. S/He lives with a foot in both worlds.
This column is dedicated to the Hedgewitches of the planet earth.

AF1

September 2009
Harvest Time!!!

It is that profoundly magical season of harvest here in the hedge, and the abundance has amazed me beyond my wildest dreams.
My garden has been a constant source of joy and lessons learned.
The watermelon and cantaloupes, unsown by me, came to life on their own, because we left the seedlings where they sprouted.

It was a teetering balance of my way, and Nature’s way.
In the end, I caved completely and allowed the weeds and plants to grow side by side.
The weeds provided a soft landing spot for the pumpkins and melons, and they had perfect skin as a result.

And as I render these gifts of Nature into usable food products, whole and natural, I am reminded of the lessons of Mabon, and the feasts of Thanksgiving.
My ancestors worked diligently, nearly year round to ensure the food supplies would continue through the long months of winter.
They toiled in their gardens, hung hand-washed clothes on a line, chopped, split and stacked wood for the ever present fires, and canned and dried fresh foods.
As I engage in these activities, even as a modern witch, I am reminded in a deep down cell-remembering way, of these industrious people who came before me. It makes my spirit rejoice to repeat the actions of my foremothers and to feel the satisfaction of having accomplished so vital a task.

In this season of harvest, I am grateful. I am reminded of all I have been blessed with, and all I anticipate to come.
The very act of growing food, harvesting and preserving it is hopeful, and spawns fresh hope when the food is consumed.
It is an opportunity to bless the stores that they might last until the next harvest, and bring needed blessings in the months to come.

Mabon is often referred to as Witch’s Thanksgiving, and for me, that is exactly how I celebrate it. I prepare a feast to celebrate the coming of the dark months of the year, the warmth of our home and the abundance of blessings contained therein.

As well as a time of joy, there is an undeniable sadness associated with this time of year, for me.
When I see a bright yellow school bus, or smell a freshly sharpened number two Ticonderoga pencil I am overcome with a wave of bittersweet nostalgia. A falling leaf; a mud puddle; a ripe orange pumpkin…these things hold a sort of wistful sadness for me.

But again, I am reminded of the time of year. The dying back. Things being cleaned, dismantled, stored for the year. Bright green things turning crisp and brown.
Of course there is sadness. It is Nature at work, and we can feel it stir in us, even before the first leaf falls.

Each year on my path, as I observe and fall into deeper rhythm with the cycles, I have a deeper appreciation for the Natural occurrences that mirror a metaphorical reality. Not a circle, for I never return to the same place again, but a spiral, which allows me to see the places I have visited before, again, with the fresh eyes of new experience.

As we raise our chalices in celebration of the season, and remember the sacrifices which were made in order to bring about not only this harvest, but those to come, may we join together to commit to care for one another. To use our abundance to bless those less fortunate.
To make humanity our business, and to care for those we find along our way.
To simplify our lives so that we have time and energy for the truly important blessings in them; the people we love and who love us.

Happy Witch’s Thanksgiving, and Happy Harvest Season to all!

May your table be heaping;
Your larder quite full;
The blessings you’re reaping,
as Autumn now pulls,
be stacked to your rafters
with plenty to share.
~May the mission we’re after
be one of Care.

Brightest Blessings of the Season

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