Trance is an umbrella term that includes meditative states, flow states, hypnotic states, ecstatic states, post-traumatic shock, compulsive rumination, texting-while-driving, and any state that diverts us from mundane, pragmatic, grounded awareness.
It’s a big umbrella.
Hedgeriding, the witch’s trance, is the art of skillfully and intentionally entering specific types of trance that change your state of being, sensing, and behaving in ways that are conducive to spiritual and magical communication, exploration, and transformation.
It’s common for folks to think of hedgeriding as another word for journeying or spiritflight—to see it exclusively as a method of sending one’s awareness into the Otherworld.
But, around here, the “hedge” in hedgeriding refers to all self-imposed or socially-constructed limits, boundaries, and enclosures. Yes, that includes the line between the realm of matter and the subtle realms of spirit—temporarily escaping the enclosure of my flesh. A hedge could also be the boundary between normal, predictable dancing and frenzied, chaotic dancing. Or the gap between my mundane voice and my sonorous, spirit-weaving ritual voice. How weird am I willing and able to get?
How many hedges must I cross in order to shapeshift into a bear? It’s not just about putting the spirit of Bear on—it’s also what I have to take off. Tables manners have to go. A perception of oneself as clothed or naked is out. Any resistance to shitting in the woods is decidedly un-bear-like.
It’s not just about getting weird in ritual. Our day to day choices and behaviors are influenced by our relationship with hedges as well. Can I skillfully ride beyond easy, socially-acceptable self-love (like bath bombs) into harder, heretical self-love (like ignoring the latest diet trend)?
Hedgeriding is a way of turning questions into transformative experiences.
Unfortunately, because hedgeriding is so often conflated with journeying, and because journeying has become increasingly conflated with hypnosis…a lot of witches are left trying to sit still, silence their minds, and sleepwalk into the work.
Even if that were possible (and it isn’t for all human brains), I am here to encourage folks to build a foundation of embodied, active, conscious trance skill that more naturally fits into all of the witch’s important waking activities: like rituals, spells, readings, and, honestly, most spiritwork and spiritflight! I don’t want to go make deals with elder gods while zonked! Cunning requires consciousness.
A witch is meant to have their wits!
And that’s why, here at Ren+Spiritwork—the first step of the journey is:
Hedge+Riders. Accessible trance training for folks that want to learn how to fly like a witch (regardless of whether you identify as a witch) so that you can have those meaningful conversations and relationships with spirits (spiritwork), participate in some cultural and cosmic dogma-breaking and magic-making (witchcraft), and learn how to confidently make any working or ritual transformative for yourself and your community through the power of trance (hedgeriding)!