Thursday, 9 June 2011
Review: Hedgewitch ~ Rae Beth
Back in the mid 1990s I came across a book that changed my entire outlook on life, Rae Beth's Hedgewitch. At the time I was living deep in the Welsh countryside, a mile from the nearest village, and the nearest street light. My cottage was aged in centuries, having been converted from stables and school-room associated with the chapel next door.
Rae Beth's book is a wonderful and gentle introduction into the path of a solitary witch, she writes in the form of letters to two people, of different backgrounds and with different motivations for exploring the path. She takes us through the Wheel of the Year, with a little background information as to what witches do, and why they celebrate the times they celebrate.
She provides enough detail for a beginner to start properly on the path, giving some simple rituals, some seasonal activities, certainly enough to be a good grounding in the Craft and to spark further investigations and learning. She even gives an example of a solitary initiation ritual for the end of the first year. She goes on to describe some further trancework exercises, making the point that meditation work and ritual work are two sides to magical working, the former, inner, subtle and feminine, the latter active and masculine, thereby bringing balance to our work.
Although it had been many years since I read the book, and I have moved on and developed my own prefered methods, I still held fond memories of this book. It was always more in tune with being out in Nature, with simple rituals and tools, rather than the more theatrical ceremonial magic. So for those who aren't comfortable in groups, or are just looking for something that they are able to do on their own or with just a partner, this book is an ideal starting place. It opens up a new world and encourages you to follow your own path, use your own words.
Now that I have read it again, it is a lot more structured than I remember! But as I have the confidence of my own experience now, but I still, to this day, use some of the simple ideas suggested in the book in my own work. I will always treasure this book for enlightening me and guiding me at the "beginning" of my journey on this path.
Love and hugs
Hedgewitch, A Guide to Solitary Witchcraft: Published by Robert Hale, London
Hedge Witch is sold in America as The Wiccan Path. These two titles are the same book. Published by The Crossing Press INC