Monday, February 19, 2018

Hedge Riding Series: Realms of the Otherworld

Hedge Riding Series: Realms of the Otherworld

Now that you have some sense of what hedge riding is, it is time to discuss the realms of the Otherworld. When hedgewitches hedge ride, they travel to the Otherworld to communicate with spirits, animal guides, and/or ancestral and spirit guides, or simply as a form of relaxation. To be honest, sometimes I travel to my Garden to get away from the stresses of day-to-day life. It is incredibly beautiful and relaxing there.

While not all hedgewitches will enter the Otherworld the same way, many believe it contains three realms that can be accessed through the World Tree, known in Norse mythology as Yggdrasil. Why the World Tree? Well, most of us can easily envision a tree, making travel easier. Second, the World Tree connects to all three realms. It reaches deep into the Earth, allowing access to the Lower Realms, is present within the Middle Realm with its trunk and reaches into the sky allowing access to the Upper Realms. The World Tree is typically considered to be an Ash that stands close to the hedgerow, the thin veil between our world and the next, making it easily accessible to those who know where to look.

Hedge Riding Series: Realms of the Otherworld
"The Ash Yggdrasil" (1886) by Friedrich Wilhelm Heine
In Norse mythology, there are nine total realms: three Lower, three Middle, and three Upper. If you would like to incorporate all of the realms into your practice, go right ahead. I prefer to use a simpler model, focusing on one of each: Lower, Middle, and Upper. However, if you would like to learn more about Yggdrasil, check out the following links:

The Lower Realm

The Lower Realm is where I visit most often, existing close to our own realm. The Lower Realm is wild, with unsullied terrain and life. I have, however, found a house once on a cliffside overlooking an ocean. The house resembled that of the mansion in Practical Magic, but it did not feel safe and inviting. In fact, it felt forced and out-of-place. I have avoided that area ever since. Other than that, the Lower Realm is a beautiful, rustic land that can be every season at once or none at all. I have encountered high mountains, vast deserts, lakes and rivers, dense forests, open plains, and frozen tundra while visiting the Lower Realm and encountered a number of animals while there.

Hedge Riding Series: Realms of the Otherworld

The Lower Realm is where I have met both of my animal guides, Meka and Rocar. If you are looking to meet and communicate with your animal guides, the Lower Realm is where you should travel. It is uncommon to meet them elsewhere, especially in the Middle Realm. You can also meet ancestors, spirit guides, wise women and men, nature spirits, and faeries in this realm.

The Lower Realm is sometimes referred to as the collective unconscious, a reservoir of accumulated knowledge that has been passed down from generation to generation. This is where I travel to seek advice, look for archetypes, seek hidden messages, and ask questions of those who live there. Furthermore, it is easy to access and relatively safe in comparison to other realms.

Below the Lower Realm is the Underworld, a place I have not visited as of yet. It isn't that this realm is dangerous per say, but more because I have no desire to go there. Shamans, who tend to do psychopomp work, are more likely to travel to the Underworld in Shamanic Journeying than hedgewitches are during hedge riding.

The Middle Realm

The Middle Realm is located at the trunk of the World Tree and is our world with a spiritual overlay. This is where your Garden exists, a spiritual safe haven if you will. However, I almost never travel outside of my Garden when visiting the Middle Realm. This is by far the most dangerous realm to visit as it is essentially our realm, but with spirits roaming the streets as well. Be careful of anyone you meet while in the Middle Realm. They are often deceitful. If you meet an animal while visiting, do not let it convince you it is an animal guide, unless it finds you in your Garden. Ask for it to visit you in the Lower Realm. If it truly is an animal guide, it will meet you there without hesitation. Despite this, the Middle Realm is a great place to travel forward and backward in time regarding your own life and that of your ancestors. If you are looking to evaluate your past choices or contact your ancestors, this is the realm to do it in.

Hedge Riding Series: Realms of the Otherworld

If you are inexperienced, I do not suggest travel into the Middle Realm in current time. However, traveling forward and backward tends to be relatively safe, especially when meeting ancestors because they have your best interest at heart. When traveling back and forth through time, make sure your intent is well stated, so you don't end up getting lost, or worse, running into some less-than-savory characters. If you do, make sure you stay calm and follow some simple etiquette tips to be discussed in a later post.

The Upper Realm

Honestly, I don't spend a lot of time in the Upper Realm either. I prefer the Lower Realm or my Garden because they are where I feel most at home. However, you may find the Upper Realm the most inviting. This is a magical realm, where the Sun is always brightly shining and the landscape is perpetually in bloom. There are blue-green waters, lush tropical forests, and cloud forests aplenty in the Upper Realm. Honestly, the golden-glow is a little too bright for my tastes. It is in the Upper Realm that the "higher" spiritual beings dwell; think angels, goddesses and gods, and other spirit-like beings (ancestors, guides, etc). Your animal guides can easily follow you here. I have seen lots of birds in this realm as well, including golden eagles and hawks. I have also seen griffins soaring overhead in the Upper Realm.

Hedge Riding Series: Realms of the Otherworld

If you are seeking divine knowledge or healing, the Upper Realm is the place to go. You can also meet your spirit guides in the Upper Realm, the wise women and men of the past sent to guide you through this life.

This is of course only a simple look into the realms of the Otherworld. Furthermore, each person experiences them slightly differently. That's the wonderful thing about our mind and the Otherworld. It tries to present itself to us in a way we can understand, making it accessible to all those wishing to travel.

Interest in the rest of the series? Make sure to keep an eye out for upcoming posts!

Hedge Riding Series

Looking for more information on hedge witches? Check out my posts on the topic:


  1. I'm really enjoying this so far! Getting excited to read the rest of the posts in this series. Thank you for taking the time to share with us!

  2. Wow Willow. I'm so grateful to have come across your site and for you being so open about your journey. This is the first time anyone's put what I've experienced into words and given it a name. THANK YOU! Now, I'm off to read all the books to try and get some control over this before I end up somewhere I don't want to be. Thank you again! - Bree


Have something to say? I would love to hear from you!