The Art of Hedge Riding – A series [Part IV of IV]
In this series we will be exploring the art of Hedge Riding. This is an advanced form of magick in which one enters an altered state of consciousness that allows them to peer beyond the veil separating this world from the next. Through this ability, practitioners are able to better connect with spirit guides, ancestors and other entities. In addition, it can be seen as a valuable tool for self exploration and further development of occult skills.
In the fourth and final installment I will share some of my experiences crossing the hedge and how it has impacted my life and the lives of others around me.
Part Four: How Riding the Hedge can Impact our Lives
The year was 1997. I’d known Rose for several years at this point and I was now a moody teenager. I’d admitted to Rose that I’d been too busy playing Final Fantasy VII on my Playstation and between that and school I hadn’t been practicing my craft. Of course she understood but reiterated the importance of regular practice. Your guides and other entities you may encounter and befriend should not be neglected.
“Always remember how special it is to be able to visit the other side, if you get too big for your boots you’ll find yourself barefoot.”
Being a cocky teenager I’d told Rose that I’d already mastered it so why bother to practice. I’m not ashamed to say that under the glare she gave me I couldn’t help but
instantly shift my eyes to the floor as my face turned bright red. I always thought that Rose’s glare could stop a charging rhino.
I knew what she meant. I’d been doing this for so long that I did forget how special the experience was, I had been rude to those on the other side by only seeing them for my own benefit, I started to practice the moment I got home.
My Experiences with Hedge Riding: Psychopomp work
Many hedge riders do not take part in psychopomp work, for me it’s one of the most rewarding things one can do with their time on earth, though it can be terrifying at times.
I often encounter “ghosts”, now most of these supposed ghosts often turn out to be a harmless echo of energy (I will expand on this in a separate article). The energy can often simply be released. However on occasion one of these ghosts will actually be the spirit of a deceased person.
Sometimes upon death some people will simply be unable to comprehend their situation and end up trapped. Usually when this happens an entity will come and collect the person to move them onto the next phase and this is how the situation is resolved. In rare circumstances the deceased is in such denial of their death that they simply cannot see the entity as they reject anything that isn’t “alive”. This is where a human psychopomp can make a difference. The spirit will recognise your energy as being alive.
Out of pure desperation the spirit may try and take over your life energy, they cannot do this but it can still be very scary. This is the time that you need to connect with the spirit and gently help it come to terms with death and encourage it to accept and move on. I often escort it to the upper world at which point the spirit is claimed and taken to their next phase.
Every case is unique so the above is just a very basic overview. The single most unique case I ever encountered was the spirit of a lady who called herself Margaret that “haunts” Chillingham Castle in the northeast of England and has been there for centuries.
I met Margaret when I stayed at the castle one night. The castle has a brutal history and I knew there would be a lot of angry echoes there so my partner and I decided to book it for a night and explore.
Sure enough the place was filled with the echoes of ancient pain and death. If walls could talk, these walls would scream. I began work dissipating old energy to make way for fresh, new energy and also keeping an eye out for any trapped victims.
The only genuine spirit I encountered that night was that of Margaret. She knew she was dead and was fairly happy doing what she did. She told me that she knew she was capable of moving on when she chose but stayed behind to comfort the spirits of several children that died in horrific ways in the castle that couldn’t yet move on. I offered to do what I could to help but these spirits were so traumatized that they were beyond my help. I often meet Margaret when I cross the hedge and she’s become somewhat of a mentor and role model for me.
My experiences with Hedge Riding: A possible Future
One thing that is possible with the art of Hedge Riding is being able to see glimpses of potential futures. The future is not written in stone, we cannot see a definitive future. Instead, what we can see is one or more possible outcomes.
This came in very handy several years ago. I was journeying in the middle world and decided to try and check in some of my family and friends’ homes. I checked in on my mother’s house and all was well. I then visited one of my friends and saw there were three houses, all identical to my friends house at first glance.
The first house seemed perfectly normal, the second seemed to have a dark energy pulsing in one of the children’s’ bedrooms and the third house was engulfed in flame.I returned to my normal waking state and called my friend and told her to check her son’s bedroom as I had a feeling something was up.
Her husband called me back a short while later to tell me he had found the son’s fish tank somehow had a small crack near the back and water was slowly dripping down next to the electrical outlet. Crisis averted!
My experiences with Hedge Riding: Just for fun
I feel like I may have painted a picture of Hedge Riding as being a very serious subject, well it is a serious subject but that doesn’t mean you cannot have fun with it. Once you become proficient it’s advisable to cross over on a fairly regular basis. If for no other reason than to hang out and be with your guides or ancestors. Just like people, other entities will have their own personalities, likes and dislikes, moral code etc. Get to know them, some are wise, some are strong, some are just downright funny. Remember that the relationship with your guides is a two way street, don’t only contact them when you want something, they like it when we pop in to say hello.
Go on adventures with your guides, explore the other worlds, see things, grow and learn. There is an immeasurable amount of secret information out there. My guides once led me to what looked like a library. Inside there was a single book standing on a lectern in the middle of the room.
I approached with great care, tingling in excitement thinking some great occult knowledge was about to be bestowed upon me. I opened the book with trembling hands and once I saw what was inside I was stunned into silence…
It was a book detailing the most embarrassing things that ever happened in my life. I stood there cringing at the memories and heard my guide’s muffled laughter.
Though it seemed like a prank it still taught me a valuable lesson, most of the time the only person that remembers that cringe inducing thing you said or did is you. Learn to laugh at yourself and you’ll find embarrassment becomes something that no longer affects you.
In recent years I started to discover that other people knew of my type of practice under the name Hedge Riding. I of course soaked up every bit of literature that I could find so I could compare notes.
One thing that seemed a common theme from several authors was that a Hedge Witch is usually a certain personality type. Blunt, brash, straight to the point, etc. To me this sounded like an excuse to act like a “Mystical Karen”.
The funny part is that these traits quite accurately describe how our shadow aspect works. It’s connected to the ID (inner desire). It doesn’t reason, it doesn’t negotiate, it wants what it wants and it wants it now.
Connecting with your shadow can bring the shadow closer to the surface and if you don’t retain control it can make you seem like an unpleasant person. On the flip side if we connect AND control our shadow we can harness its power without letting it take too much control.
To sign off I will tell you the most basic rules for Hedge Riding. Rose had a few basic rules, these are especially important to those new to the practice. I follow them as I was taught to, I can only ask that you take heed of these rules for your own wellbeing, over time you will create your own set of rules.
“Rules” (in quotation marks)
– Ask your guides for their names. Ask every time you cross to be certain they are your guide. Sometimes trickster spirits may try to imitate your guides.
– Never share your spirit guides names. Names can have power on the other side. If you wish to refer to your guide to a third person use a nickname.
– Don’t take everything you see at face value, probe deeper and learn to distinguish between truth and deceit.
– Never invite anything back with you unless you are incredibly experienced and know what to do should anything go wrong.
– Always be respectful to all you encounter on the other side – respectful but not weak. If something is making you feel uncomfortable, scared or threatened simply thank them for their time and leave. Your guides will be there to keep you safe.
– Be sure you are mentally prepared for Riding the Hedge. Sometimes we will find ourselves with very little control on the other side and sometimes we have to face our own darkness, our trauma and those things that chill us to the bone in order to conquer them.
So that’s all for this series. I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of my experiences and I wish each and every reader the best of luck with practicing their craft.