The Concept of The Hedge (How to Balance Your Life as a Witch While Living in the Mundane)
By Elizabeth Chapman & Su Weber
In times past when the world was populated by a series of small villages, the Hedge was seen as a dividing line or boundary between safety within the confines of the village and the wild parts of the world which were thought of as unsafe or downright dangerous. Have you noticed that the old fairy tales, such as Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretel, depict a person who ventures into the woods and encounters all sorts of dangers? There is the wolf or the witch who wants to eat you and, of course, the hero gets lost in the woods first and then is saved by someone brave from the village who escorts them back to the safety of the known. The women wo had knowledge of herbs and healing often lived outside the Hedge and were viewed as a necessary evil and often called witches.
Nowadays many of us live in cities and even most of those who live outside of them are connected to the rest of the world through various types of technology. The old barriers to keep out the “frightening or different” are long gone. However, the concept of the Hedge still stands as a way to differentiate between the magickal and the mundane for those of us who practice magick regularly. Those who follow our path need to be able to walk that dividing line between these worlds successfully, spending time in both or each as needed. After all, a Hedge is porous; leaves do not make a solid boundary like a stone wall would. Part of our practice is to work to maintain a sense of whatever side you are not on at any given moment while on the other side.
It is important not to spend too much time immersed in one side without spending time on the other. If you focus too much on the mundane, you may lose the sense of magick and joy you need. Conversely, if you focus too much on the magickal you may lose the grounding you need from the mundane. I like to think of it as learning how to create practical magick; in order to generate the changes we need in the mundane world, we need to use the simplest magick possible (which is very difficult to do at times) but we also need to take the actions we need in order for it to come to fruition (fancy word but I like it). An example is if you work magick to find your ideal job but go to no interviews or job fairs or never submit your resume anywhere, you won’t find a job. You have to do the footwork!
Working with the concept of the Hedge is all about balance, that pesky perennial theme that shows up all the time and often in unexpected moments in my life and my practice even when I want to ignore it. At its most basic, we need to learn to work towards the balance necessary to walk the line of the Hedge and gain wisdom and knowledge of both worlds.
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