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The Hedgewitch Way

December, 06, 2004



Artist (c) Marc Potts: Hedgewitch II

			
  The HedgeWitch: A Hagussa's Tale
	
	Hedge rider, Swan maiden, 
	Bone moon sister, sun's gold keeper:
	Hand me the light, your arm so bright
	Loose the vein, athame's light:
	Tap it free, three by three, 
	Human dread leeching, binding spells
	That holds thee back, awful power
	Of living dead who walk between
	The worlds of night and day; 
	Reveal the play, the ancient rite:
	The scattered myths, druidic sight;
	In pools of blood, plunge ecstatic: 
	Dreams all bittersweet, Maker's treat: 
	Power and might, dark and light, 
	The goal tonight your Self's bright light;
	The simple truths we gather here
	All measure tears, dispersing fears;
	And if you hold your vein real tight
	You'll feel the blood of gods inside:
	The horned one, curled one, 
	Sea bold, too; the quick eyed, 
	Wood eyed deft one move:
	The goat-god, green man, 
	Spotted toad: mushroom, 
	Toadstool, antlered fool;
	Nightmare, white mare, 
	Selkie's brew:
	Dark elf, light elf, 
	Winter's Hag, 
	Raven sister, wolfblood singer;
	Mab's defender;
	And you will find the goddess enter:
	Green vine crier laughing spinning 
	Mistress of Whipperginney, 
	The measured world, the marker's furl;
	And all these gods and goddesses
	Passing through your blood tonight
	Hold the promise of you're power, 
	The blessing of their might: 
	Scarlet treasure, blood feast giver;
	Know the gods within your breast:
	The running tiger, simurgh flyer, 
	Fiery dragon brood of night;
	Eagle scryer, cold owl diver;
	Werewolf howler, mad warg lier:
	All bloody labors of an hour;
	For all the elementals flowing now
	Within your bright green seed, 
	Raise the music of the stars
	Regain the balance in your eyes
	And dance upon the blood red moon, 
	Faerie blossoms halo round your hair:
	For you are Queen of Night and Day, 
	Mirage's Sister, Echo's Twin, 
	Ocean's Daughter, Mountain's Mother, 
	Wooded wielder of the Wild Man's blade; 
	Giver of our dark and light, 
	Maker of our love so bright;
	And if the hour comes round at last, 
	Tell the keepers of the gate:
	I AM Blest: "I'M HOME AT LAST!"
	
	- Earthwizard, aka, Steven Craig Hickman
	(c) January, 6, 2004
	

	

Recently I became embroiled within a friendly and open discussion upon what it means to be a pagan. A poem was published on one of the Yahoo poetry boards that castigated paganism and brought forth a sense of urgency within my heart to defend our ways openly before all. Having been raised in America I know what bigotry is. I also know the fear and dread most feel about the way many of the patriarchal religious zealots speak of our pagan religious views.

As a Hedgewitch, I have followed a solitaire path for some years. A Hedgewitch is a path within a tradition that is somewhat shamanic in nature, for lack of a better term. There are many different titles that those who follow this inner tradition are called: Hedge-Rider, Hedgewitch, Night Travellers, Myrk-Riders, Gandreidh, Badbh (name of a Goddess as well as a title), and Walkers on the Wind. These ones engage in spirit flight, and journey into the Otherworld. In folklore, we are taught of the Hedgewitch as a being between the worlds: a creature out of the old "hagazussa", the Hag on the Hedge, which separated the village from the wilderness... According to Hans Peter Duerr, Dreamtime, she was a being who participated in both worlds of the living and the dead; a half-divine, half-daemonic being, a sorceress who practiced ancient sejdr (seething); she was the arbitrator between the wild world and the safe world of the village and the hearth. In early times she was considered the "Ijakel”, the animal mother of shamans, shapeshifter and rider of the tree of life into both the realms of light and darkness; she became whole by knowing the wildness at the heart of nature, thereby finding the true power of her own humanity.

I was recently given a message from a fellow pagan, that as pagans we should seek to reconcile ourselves with these patriarchal religions and their people. It went something like this:

“Spirituality is NOT a competition. Looking down on another's spiritual beliefs does not elevate one's own. One is only looking down, comparing, and judging from one's already ensconced position. Are there not more useful things to do with one's creative energy and spirituality? ( Didn't Jesus say something about throwing the first stone? --Even poets are not without sin.-- Why not build a bridge with stones instead? )”

My answer came as follows:

“No, Spirituality is not a competition. The traditions of our ancestors teach us that the realms of the spirit surround us on all sides; and, in fact, permeate all aspects of our daily life. In the elder times, men and women worked the fields, tended the soil and animals, and hunted the forests, gathered herbs and medicines from the rich store of the surrounding vales. Spirituality in those times was a part of life, not something separated from it; it shaped ones whole vision of reality: the social and the family nexus.”

“As for sin: I am not sure out of what traditions you come, but sin does not exist in my book... this is a concept foreign to all know pagan traditions; especially Witchcraft.”

As for art and poetry. As, Walter Pater, one of the great critics of the Aesthetic Age said: "Some spend this interval in listlessness, some in high passions, the wisest in art and song. For our one chance is in expanding that interval, in getting as many pulsations as possible into the given time. High passions give one this quickened sense of life, ecstasy and sorrow of love, political or religious enthusiasm, or the 'enthusiasm of humanity'. Only, be sure it is passion, that it does yield you this fruit of a quickened, multiplied consciousness. Of this wisdom, the poetic passion, the desire for beauty, the love of art for art's sake has most; for art comes to you professing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass, and simply for those moments' sake.

from The Renaissance

I have always upheld the troth of my ways in truth and honor before the community and will always do so. I, am a bard, a man who will defend the spirit and integrity of my ancestral world and its ways to the hilt. And, if any choose to attack it: I will use the only tools a poet has available: pen and ink, mind and spirit. As for building bridges: ask the thousands of Witches and Heretics, Gnostics and Cathars, lepers and other outcasts that have been burned, put to the stake and tortured through the centuries for their feelings about such reconciliation. No, not in this world or the one to come will I neither forgive nor forget the atrocities; nor, will I white wash it with some new age rigmarole that seeks some ill defined peace.

Wake up my friends, the society around us is filled with such bigotry and hatred as existed during the burning times. I neither look down nor castigate another’s beliefs, but if they choose do so against my own or any other pagan base religious vision, then yes I will not sit idly by and talk a fickle peace: it is time we had courage of our convictions to stand up tall for what we believe in, to take a hold of the horn and broker for our rightful place on this wide earth. To be free to worship as we choose without fear of reprisal or any measure of harm coming upon us for doing so.

If you would seek peace, then dig in a fight for your rights to be able openly to walk in the public eye as a pagan: in the work place, in schools, in government. Do we have this right? No! Will the majority give it to us? No! when will we begin to awaken from this slumber of passivity and change the world into a place where all people can share equally in the beauty and power of the light of spiritual well being without fear or hatred cutting us down?

Below you will find the poem I used to defend the integrity and honor of our witching ways:

May we all appreciate the bards who have shaped the language of our native ear! May the crafters of old inform your breath with speech of poetic might! May the gift giver bestow on you the green mantle of bardic light!

I share my views in the spirit of equanimity and fellowship, not as a flame, but in the spirit of public debate: which as in ancient bardic circles the poet met poet in battle of their tribal gods, upholding the honor of each other's stance by showing only the power at the heart of poetry to say the truth as each poet will: letting the community decide the way, for each to follow...


The Witching Ways


I stand here in amazement of this bright earth
knowing that no religion has the corner on truth:
that the earth is beyond all decisions I may calculate;
it is: and in this it begins to speak its own truth.

The pagan earth is but a dream of yours
my friend, the myths of druid magick
a thing of the past: the light within my eyes
holds troth to the living present of this light;

Mother earth is but a symbol for something richer
than evil spells can deliver; for our magick is alive;
the poet once said: "all gods reside within 
the human breast." No secrets left: we stand revealed;

Maybe you would wear black robes,
skyclad I was born to go; but blood
is not to my taste, and for phallus' I have 
no worship, but incantations only for my goddess;

As for the spirit dragons of the faeries:
beware the silliness we sing, for it portends
a power not thought of in your hollow God's creeds:
the earth is magickal, divine; and will not suffer


easily the dark forces of a dark god
who would raise himself above all other gods:
the god you worship bled upon a cross,
my goddess lives within my deepest light:

to her my troth be true, for she
above all gods and men is true:
her life the life of this bright universe;
this dream of earth her only paradise;

for round the Great Wheel we spin:
our fires in slow growth, flame brightly;
for we know the wisdom of the ages:
we are the Children of the Goddess.

     - Earthwizard, aka, Steven Craig Hickman
        (c) January, 16, 2004
  

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 - Earthwizard, aka, Steven Craig Hickman
      Celeborn Heruquendi - Silverlord of the Gray Elves
may the goddess find you healthy
may she bless thee with plenty
may her magic touch your life forever
Go raibh beannacht na ndéithe agus ár sinsir ar sibh,
May the blessings of the gods be upon you!
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