When Martin Luther was finally pushed to the point where there were no squares on the chessboard to move to he is supposed to have said, “Here I stand. God help me, I can do no other.”
Well, I’m not comparing myself to Martin Luther but I am looking for a place to stand. For a spiritual place to stand where the feminine is respected, where men are comfortable as nurturers, where there is a place for the fellow travelers on this planet to find their voices, where all the earth is considered holy ground, where the evidence of science is not dismissed as a trick of the “devil.”
While Rae Beth uses the term hedge witch in the titles of her books, I prefer her term wild wood mystic. With work it might be fitted into the older Christian traditions of Meister Ekhart and Hildegard of Bingen. I’m not that far yet, I’m still taking baby steps. Whether I can find a way to stay within the traditions I was raised in or if I find myself moving on I would like to be in the words of Rae Beth’s cunning man.
“One who speaks for the tree roots and stones. Who speaks with the tree roots’ and stones’ voices. One who speaks as the grass and rivers. One who speaks as fields and woods and hills and valleys and the salt marshes and waves and tides. Yet who speaks as what is close to home. With the mouse’s voice or the seagull’s or the fox’s or the badger’s. One who speaks in cadences that go beyond the darkness and beyond stars, encompassing what is unmeasurable. One whose entire being vibrates to the spirits’ words in nature, like a reed at dawn in a pool where trout swim.
Is she really channeling the words of a village wise man who lived more than a thousand years ago? I don’t know. I don’t know that she’s not. But, the words and message fill an empty place in my soul. So, I will continue to visit little cottage by hedge, or the medicine lodge, the achorites cell or the thicket by the river. I will read, I will listen and I will see where the path leads me.