I’d never heard the term “hedgecrossing” before Gordon mentioned this posting in his must-read weekly digest of magic blogging awesomeness (hey, that’s the way he would put it). But I instantly and instinctively knew what it meant: the act of passing into the psychic realm of experience beyond the physical.

And immediately I was reminded of a fairy tale that once caught my fancy. You see, I have a gaggle of children, so I have spent the last ten years or so reading classic fairy tales nightly. It started with Grimm’s and moved on to Serbian tales, and collections of mixed central European tales, and tales from all over the world. Good stuff. If you’re not already raising your kids on this stuff, then you should start as soon as you can. This is food for the soul.
I won’t go into all of my collected knowledge, ideas and theories about fairy tales here, because I’ve already written extensively about them in an eight-part series of essays on my other (now mostly dormant) blog. If that sort of thing interests you, then follow that link to the blog and click on the label “fairy tales”. Start with “Evolving a Relationship to Fairy Tales -Part I” and work your way forward. Even though I begin with the obligatory psychological, historical and literary criticism angles, as the essay proceeds it gets more and more mystical. I’ve been told it’s a good read.
Rudolf Steiner said that many fairy tales are a retelling of psychic experiences. He also says that much of the wisdom of the human race is encoded in our fairy tales (which is part of the value of reading them to children; they plant important seeds in their subconscious). During my ten years of reading tales aloud, I’ve come to recognize those tales. If you know your arcane symbols and some qabbalah, some of them read like alchemical allegories, or like thinly veiled initiatory rituals.
Steiner also says that there are all sorts of teachings to be found in fairy tales about how to cross between the worlds.
The fairy tale that immediately came to mind when I was introduced to the term hedgecrossing was “The Three Heads in the Well.” In one part of this tale, a princess on a journey is confronted by an old man who asks her for food. When she shows her good heart by sharing her meager provisions, he tells her:
“There is a thick thorny hedge before you, which you cannot get through, but take this wand in your hand, strike it three times, and say, ’Pray, hedge, let me come through,’ and it will open immediately…”
The first time I read this passage aloud, I paused so long in amazement and deep thought my children had to prod me to continue.
I promised myself right away that I would think of a way to use this technique for passing between the worlds. I think it would work like this: close your eyes after you are comfortably in bed, relaxed, and on the edge of sleep. Visualize yourself approaching a hedge at the edge of a field, magic wand in hand. When you get to the hedge, you tap it three times with your wand and say (inwardly) “Pray, hedge, let me come through.”
I’ll let you know what happens.