There have been several occasions where I have evoked the concept of being a Hedge Druid both in defence and defiance to requests from people who are not familiar with the concept. I have used it as a means of retaining an aloof identity online, and in particular I have written about it as a concept that I espouse and adhere to. But what actually is a Hedge Druid, and why is it so important to me?
For me, the term “Hedge Druid” contains the several aspects of my spiritual path that make me feel most at home in this most uninhabited of places. Ii have sometimes talked about what it means to be a druid, and in this treatise I will turn my attentions to the concept of the hedge. Let’s start this exposition by revealing the ways in which I define The Hedge.
The Hedge is the wild borderland, the untamed division between other fields. It is also the boundary between areas of cultivated land – a middle ground that serves a purpose but which has little value to those who seek only to profit from Nature. In terms of natural magick the hedge can be seen as a metaphor for being at the edge of what is acceptable, known and “real” to most people. The hedge is regarded by many as a barrier, a means of preventing access to somewhere, or a way of keeping something hidden from the casual regard of passers-by.Let’s take a closer look at each of those concepts in turn.
The Wild Edge
The hedgerow is full of life. It is teeming with the movement of Nature, but it is mostly devoid of the sight of humans. So the human that decides to make the hedge a home will have to fit in and make good company with everyone else who’s already there. Where is “there”? It is a bustling household, a place of unpredictable results, something out of one’s control. That is how it seems to one who observes from the outside. Inside the hedge one has to accustom oneself to the patterns of Nature in order to feel comfortable in that in-between space that seems to have no rationality. Nature’s “tooth and claw” are waiting for the unsuspecting. Wits must be kept alert and live, and yet it is possible to completely switch off when one has gained sufficient trust from the surrounding spirit energies.
Between The Fields
If we take the word “field” to mean an area of research, a topic, then in my research this means that I often inhabit spaces between traditional arguments. The idea of being between the arguments needs explaining. What I mean is, the hedge druid’s position is that which unites, not divides. It is that which builds, not destroys. It is the solution that progresses, not regresses or makes no progress at all.
The hedge position is often mistaken as the position that is a compromise point, but this is so completely NOT the case. That position is frequently stagnant. Yes, in order to arbitrate in a dispute such a compromise position may make the best progress, but the hedge position is more a concept of being the result that is neither the black nor the white of the argument. It is not any colour in between either! It is the no colour and all colours at the same time argument! It is the position that reconciles the extremes by being both their positions and neither at the same moment! It is the paradox point. It is the ariel view of two points on the map, seeing also everything all around and between those points.
In another sense, the field is the flat cultivated land, tamed and unnaturally manicured. The hedge in comparison is between such open spaces. It is dark, secretive and unkempt. Being in the hedge is being in the midst of the wildness that is the “force that through the green fuse flows” as Dylan Thomas put it. Feeling comfortable in that flow involves a couple of mental shifts:
a) The hedge druid must accept that they are a barely significant expression of the whole of Nature, and know their place in the grand scheme. Some call this a sense of perspective, but that’s too human a phrase – when you expand that perspective out to the size of the planet, then that’s the perspective that gives a flavour of the correct sense of scale. With a correct sense of scale comes the humility to form the correct relationships with Nature’s sentient expressions.
b) The hedge druid needs a sense of purpose, a good motivation. Whether this is an evolved sense of duty or a revelatory new ideal; whether it is a moral fibre, or a desire to do well. It is a non-competitive force that motivates the hedge druid to push through the inevitable frustrations, diversions, difficulties, and oftentimes downright dull or dangerous moments that fill every moment in the hedge between the safe open fields that surround it.
A Cloak of Thorns
One of the finest advantages of being a Hedge Druid is solitude. With solitude come a number of benefits – it is easier to meditate, one can go as deep and as far as one is able to, and there is no-one else spoiling that, or reigning it in. Progress feels rapid under these conditions, and being in the hedge between worlds often gives on a certain self-assurance and confidence through accustomedness. Being acclimatised to the unusual atmosphere of the hedge gives the trainee druid the platform from which to launch into whatever strange activities he should wish to pursue, with confidence and without ridicule. Something much to be values in the stale atmosphere of the “fitting in” folk who inhabit the cultivated fields around like so many crop plants – straight, organised, chemical-fed, regular and regulated.
In the hedge the druid can disappear from the normal world. The rules do not apply. As long as he stays hidden he may follow his path freely and fully. This is why I aspire to be a Hedge Druid.