Bad Witch Book Review
Pagan Portals: The Hedge Druid’s Craft by Joanna Van Der Hoeven
The Hedge: Intersectional Magick
What happens when a witch, a faery worker and druid blend these paths into one? Oddly this has been a question for me and my path for a while. Apparently according to this author her answer was the hedge, the edge of all three spaces. Liminality and the places between are where magick is created, where things are born and die. Finding the place where things meet, end and over-lap is always interesting.
This solution of sorts was pleasing to me, if missing something, though I could not say what.
I found once I got into the book proper (the pre-able was long and full of adverts/teasers for other books) I liked the open and easy tone of this authors work. Her voice was calm and I found her voice firm but unfussy.
I definitely was aware of a quiet (faery) knowing in her work, though her facts and explanations were simple enough to follow I feel like I might have to re-read this book several times more.
That in and of itself might tell you that I enjoyed this book.
There wasn’t a great deal that was “new” to me, but…the tantalizing idea that there might be someone else like me or similar was both comforting and unsettling. She speaks of the ease of blending these paths, which might be true for her, but for me has been quite challenging.
Our experiences were not the same of course but her methods and work ethic certainly mesh with mine a lot. Do the work, say the words, write what happened down. She says it much more politely than I usually do, maybe because I’ve had such interesting students…I digress.
She introduces and explains each part of her path openly, interestingly and well. She doesn’t go into flowery imaginings and her research is excellent.
Faery working is not easy and she doesn’t fall into the common mistakes of over or under estimating the “good neighbours”. She is circumspect (as one must be) and yet through in speaking about them. She speaks about her experiences with them and despite years of experience how unsettling a close encounter can actually be! There is no sugar coating how difficult walking the path (or riding the hedge) can be. She speaks of how lonely it can be to see the world from the edge instead of the middle. Valuable truths and comforting in equal measure.
There is a brief but more than competent over view of the wheel of the year and then she moves into the rites of Hedge Druid’s Craft.
The journey-workings are safe (as they can be) and rather beautiful. There is a power in sincerity and I swear I thought I had written
“By the power of three times three
As I will it, so may it be.”
Which the author uses throughout. It is spooky almost how similar my personal rites are to her work. As though the blackbird in my garden has been whispering in her ear! It is probably as simply as that this is what the faery have been whispering to each of us!
Her post rite grounding is also great.
Ancestors and its work with druid work has been a sticking point for me. My immediate family being something of a trash fire and much but my Irish line being an utter mystery makes this a real sore point for me, especially since my parents passing. Yet her advice is sound.
To speak of Gods then. I am like the author, reverent but not a natural kneeler. Her words are empowering and wise.
In all honesty I like this book a lot and it makes me feel uncomfortable in roughly equal measure.
I like it because it is extraordinarily like my path. It is full of wisdom and knowing, grace and simplicity. I think this is also why it makes me uncomfortable. It is like someone read my poetry or watched me while at my most private work. It feels like I have been “seen”.
Instead I might say, Joanna I hope to see you in The Dreaming.