The Hedge Druid’s Craft, by Joanna van der Hoeven
The subtitle for this Pagan Portals booklet is “an introduction to walking between the worlds of Wicca, Witchcraft and Druidry”, and it forms one part of a larger work of booklets from Moon Books that outline the concepts of many pagan pathways. Released in 2017, this is based on a review copy received at The Druid Network.
The book begins with descriptions of the three traditions JvdH calls on in this work, which would be useful for anyone without any exposure to those traditions. Overall, it seeks to find a roving and inclusive path between Wicca, Witchcraft and Druidry that harnesses the core practices of all three and tailors them for a reader less interested in labels and more interested in connections.
There are elements of the old almanacs I read in my youth, filled with occasional insights into herb lore, weather and eco-systems that can bring new relevance to accustomed understandings. Examples of ritual and ceremony are underlaid with an experiential awareness of the multiple layers of reality often overlooked.
Through the practices developed in the booklet, the principles of shamanic journeying are gently revealed, and the active spiritual process of “hedge-riding” or moving between the realms without losing a shoe on the way are both valuable and practical.
All through the book there is an implicit assertion of the presence of other than human sentience. Some of it sat comfortably within my own view of the worlds we live in, while some of it was on the edge of my perceived realities. When there was a divergence it took me out of the book and, like the grit around which a pearl materialises, sent me on a quest for new understanding.
As with almost any book of this nature, it is a view into the author’s worldview. In this case I was happy to walk into Jvdh’s world and discover interesting side trails to my own wandering. This title is perfect for anyone stepping onto the trail for the first time, looking tentatively into the dark and shady woodland of earth based spirituality.
You can find out more about Jo van Der Hoeven at her web site http://www.joannavanderhoeven.com/ and you’ll find the entire Moon Books Pagan Portal series at http://www.moon-books.net/ You can buy it from Amazon by clicking this link, which works even better if you’ve selected The Druid Network as your preferred charity at Amazon Smile
Reviewed by bish September 2018