The Hedge Craft – Connecting to the Upperworld

In those lofty realms of the sacred bile, the world tree of the Celts, is the
realm where the gods are said to dwell. It is often said that the ancestors
belong to the Underworld, we are in the Middleworld, and the gods
reside in the Upperworld. Of course, we know that all beings can move
about from one world to the other, and often do, using those liminal
times and passages, using ritual or their own innate power to move from
one realm to the next. In the Hedge Druid’s Craft, we learn the
techniques for doing so, through journeying, through herb, plant and
animal lore, through ritual, spells and charms.
The Upperworld is often seen as reaching the highest spiritual state.
When we travel there, we open our awareness to The Big Picture, to the
grander overall patterns of the universe. Here, we don’t deal with the
trivial matters; this is the place where we find deep integral wisdom,
where we learn the lessons of the universe in total, utter being. It is a
state of grace, one reached often through ecstatic ritual. It is the place of
wisdom, knowledge and prophecy. It is the realm of the celestial
heavens, the stars, sun and moon.
When we view the tree of life as our very own being, the roots are our
roots, reaching deep into the soul, grounding us, allowing us access to
the ancestors, to our blood roots, to the land. The trunk is our body in
the here and now, interacting with everything, and with all the worlds.
The branches are our consciousness, reaching ever higher. We often hear
this equated with the realm of spirit.
Reaching out our own consciousness towards the Upperworld, we
expand our souls. We come to the realisation that everything is energy.
We learn the lessons of transformation, of integration, of wholeness.
Rooted in our previous work, and awake to the present moment, we
move towards a state that is not a state, into utter immersion with the
universe. A word that is often used is transcendence. It is the place of the
Higher Self, of the soul in its purity, untainted by shadow.
Often the Upperworld is equated with the destination of the soul’s
journey. It is the ultimate truth. It is also the place of the future. With
our minds, we create the present and map the future. That future exists
in the Upperworld, waiting for our intention to bring it into
manifestation. The Upperworld is also the place of creativity.
Working with the Upperworld, we can literally change our lives. It is a
place to change perception, for from our higher vantage point we may
be able to see that what we thought was true was only part of the truth.
We can look deeply and honestly at all aspects of ourselves and our
work, and see the reality and the truth behind the veils of illusion that
we create. We see through expectations and false perceptions. We are
like the hawk, circling on high, seeing all below with a detached mind
and then choosing to strike where and when we see fit. In the
Upperworld, we ride the winds of change.
We live our lives with perceived, immutable truths. Most of these are
simply opinions that we have repeated back to ourselves over and over
again until we made them a truth. When we work with the Upperworld,
we see that we are all simply stories, and no story holds an immutable
truth. Every story has perceptions, perspectives. When we look beyond
these, then we begin to see the overarching pattern of being, which is
not beholden to any perspective.
We must gain a clarity of vision, releasing shadow perspectives in
order to see the world anew. With fresh eyes and a new perspective, we
can change ourselves. In changing ourselves, we can begin to change the
world. We can use our guides which we have met in the Lower and
Middleworld, to help us find this new perspective, and then perhaps to
let go of all perspectives entirely and just be. Though we all work
through the lens of our own perception, we can become aware of this
lens, and work to see beyond it as much as we possibly can.
We have the ability to create and change our worlds to some extent.
Yes, there are overriding factors in everyone’s lives that have a bearing
upon what it is that we are able to do. However, our perception is
something that is entirely under our control, if we have learned to work
with our shadow aspect (that which is “hidden” or unconscious) and
have received guidance from our teachers and guides in this realm and
in the Otherworld.
We’ve heard the term “the sky’s the limit”. Here we see resonance
with the Upperworld. We may carry a vision of who it is that we wish to
be, and that image resides in the Upperworld. It is up to us to manifest
that here and now, in the present moment. Otherwise, it will live forever
just out of reach. It requires hard work and dedication. It requires us to
look deeply at ourselves, and to move beyond outdated and outmoded
patterns of behaviour. It requires us to want to change.
When creating a rite to enter into the Upperworld, we might
beforehand research the local gods of our area, to see if we can find their
names, such as Andraste of the Iceni tribe near to where I live. We might
come up with our own names for the gods of our local deities of valley
and hillside, of the city or the seaside town after having spent much time
reaching out towards them, if their names cannot be found, or they
might also wish to remain unnamed. What matters most is that we make
the effort to know the gods of these places, so that we can deepen our
relationship to the land and in doing so, better serve it in our Druidry.
To enter into the Upperworld, go to your special, liminal place where
you begin all your hedge riding work. Assume the Druidic pose, the onelegged “within this world and the other” posture described previously, or
simply place your non-dominant foot forward. When you are ready, say
the following or similar words: I walk between the worlds with the World
Tree as my guide;
May my roots reach deep,
May my core be strong and centred, and
May my inspiration reach towards the skies.
I now venture into the Upperworld
To understand my highest potential,
To seek the inspiration to guide me,
And to connect with the Shining Ones (or gods).
In the realms above I seek my divine truth
To bring it back into the Middleworld.
May I be aided in this endeavour
By those who are attuned with my intention.
Turn around counter-clockwise three times, and then state: By the power
of three times three,
This is my will, so may it be.
You can now proceed with your working, knowing that you are now
between the worlds. Go to the World Tree, and open the doorway to the
Upperworld as you did with the Lowerworld. When a doorway appears,
you see a staircase leading up, and slowly you begin to climb, following
the light that is neither daylight nor starlight. Take a moment and orient
yourself to this new world. You take your hand and place it upon the
trunk, and call to the Upperworld to reveal to you your guide in the
Upperworld, whether that be the gods or the Fair Folk of the
Upperworld (The Shining Ones).
A mist appears around you, and slowly clears revealing a figure
standing before you. You take a moment to look at the figure, and bow
deeply towards it. You can ask the figure if they are to be your spirit
guide in the Upperworld, and whether they are from the realm of the
gods or the Shining Ones. If the answer is yes, then you can proceed to
ask them further questions, and get to know them. If the answer is no,
then you can ask them to direct you to your guides. One will appear.
Once you have met and spoken with your guide, you give your thanks
and then return to the Middleworld. Place your hand once more upon
the trunk of the tree, and a doorway appears. You travel down the
stairwell back the way you came, the light of the Upperworld receding
behind you as another light beckons you back towards the Middleworld.
You step out from the doorway into the Middleworld, and the doorway
closes and vanishes back into the tree. You say a prayer of thanks to the
World Tree, and then return back to your original starting point.
Once at your starting point, say these or similar words: I now return
from walking between the worlds.
I honour my time spent in the Upperworld
And seek to bring its wisdom into my being.
May I walk the realms in beauty and in truth
And may my eyes be open to the possibilities.
I honour the gods (or Shining Ones) and my work.
May I be the awen.
Turn three times clockwise and state:
By the power of three times three
This is my will, so may it be.
Take a moment to settle back into this world. If you can, eat and drink
something to ground you in the present moment. You might clap your
hands three times, or pat the earth three times to signal your full return.
You can also say your name loud three times. Journal your experience as
soon as you are able.
Working with religion, spirituality and philosophy will unalterably
change your life. I hope that walking the path of the Hedge Druid’s
Craft, riding the hedge and working with the World Tree will have
meaning for you and that you will be able to see and achieve that vision
of yourself which you wish to achieve in this lifetime. Moving through
outmoded perspectives, we can change the pattern of our lives for the
better. Working with the Upperworld does just that. We recognise the
patterns when we work with the Lowerworld. In the Middleworld, we
change our behaviour in order to change the pattern. And the end result
of working with all the worlds is that we become the pattern of the
universe itself.
I hold a vision of myself that is linked to the Upperworld. This vision
of my self is untainted by shadow aspects. I work with the Lowerworld
to uncover the shadow aspects of myself, and in the Middleworld change
my behaviour and my life in order to release these patterns of behaviour
that are holding me back from achieving my vision, the Hedge Druid’s
Craft that I wish to follow. That vision is mine alone, holding my highest
aspirations for myself and the world. In reaching out toward it, from the
highest branches of the world tree, I stretch myself beyond my own
seeming capabilities, and letting go I am able to touch and become that
vision. I am connected to that vision of myself through the tree, rooted
deep and stretching tall, allowing all three worlds to move through me,
to nourish and sustain me.