In old England, villages ended where the forest began, with a hedge marking the boundary between the two. Just beyond this hedge you would often find a woman (or sometimes man) living in a small cottage. She was typically some combination of healer/herbalist, midwife/birthkeeper, spiritual advisor, life counselor, provider of both ordinary and magical solutions to everyday problems, and general rabble-rouser ;). Sometimes called a wise woman/man, sometimes "cunning folk", these individuals lived close enough to be of service to their community but just far enough away from those in authority to avoid regularly invoking their ire.
In more recent years, these 'cunning folk', who tended to walk their own unique spiritual paths and often had a family of their own, came to be called hedgewitches both because of their proximity to the literal village hedge, and their connections to the natural & spiritual worlds and how they sometimes 'travelled' between the two. Their practices (though very much individual, not formalized or communal) have become known as "hedgecraft".
I was raised as a devout evangelical Christian but that is no longer my path. I am an agnostic theist omnist. I don't know for sure what's out there, I'm comfortable with mystery, I think we're probably all held together by a Divine source of Love, and I believe that pieces of beauty and truth can be found in all religions.
I am also a hedgewitch. Not the pointy hat hooked nose witch in black you see in movies, the fearsome witch who lives alone deep in the forest, a modern-day Wiccan, a devil-worshipper, or as part of a coven, but a women who sees "all of life as an abundant opportunity to discover, realize, and express the Divine." (R.Larue); who sees the magic in the everyday, and who strives to heal and serve her family, her community, and the earth to the best of her ability with the tools and gifts available to her.
I am a wife (2008), and an unschooling mother to two boys (Levi was born in 2011 & Lutka in 2015). Levi is autistic, specifically PDA Autistic (Pathological Demand Avoidance is part of the Autism Spectrum) and Lutka is an undiagnosed ADHD'er. I am self-identified as neurodivergent, specifically PDA Autistic. When going through the diagnostic process with Levi I discovered myself in those pages and evaluations.
Our family (& my herbal business!) began and spent 10 years in a very small one bedroom home next to a Provincial Wildlife Area outside of Brighton, Ontario. In September 2018 we moved to a 150+ year old brick house near Wooler, Ontario, across the road from 100 acres of "Crown" land. The land we call home is part of the traditional Ho-de-no-sau-nee-ga (Haudenosaunee) Territory and we strive to care for it, knowing it is only ours to care for at this time because it was stolen and subsequently sold by white colonizers.
For many years I was a birthkeeper (doula) - a term that the late Jeannine Parvati Baker created in reference to Birth Workers who are also Earth Keepers (those who value the wisdom of the Earth). I attended my first birth in 2003, supporting a dear friend through the complex and early birth of her daughter, which ignited within me a passion for the wellbeing of birthing people & infants in the childbearing year. Along the way I've learned about &/or worked in a number of other areas including youth & family support work, reflexology, yoga nidra meditation, placenta encapsulation, therapeutic touch, and eft/tapping. After 14+ years as a doula I stepped away from attending births professionally in order to lessen the strain on my own family, but also to focus on my work as an herbalist and to put more time into writing.
While I no longer attend births I remain committed to remembering the sacred nature of birth and earth and I believe, as Jeannine did, that we can "heal the earth one birth at a time". I believe that in order to dismantle the systems of oppression which plague our world and cause untold harms, we must go back to the beginning - to birth and to earth. I believe we must find ways to LEAN OUT of systems that are causing harm so that they collapse, and just, loving systems can be built in their place.
I believe the knowledge of what is essential to our well-being, what we need to be happy, healthy, and whole, is encoded within us. On both a cultural and individual level though (speaking as a white person) we have forgotten what we know to be most true; we allow systemic oppression to harm some while granting privilege to others; we accept cheap comforts in place of true nourishment; we pay for quick fixes in place of deep healing. Our intuition and healing ability have been corrupted by systems of belief that make us see ourselves and "others" as inherently toxic or incomplete, and in need of cleansing or rescuing by a hero/expert. We constantly try to fix brokenness and overcome weaknesses, losing sight of the beauty, wonder and strength in our inherent wholeness, gifts, and soul desires.
I believe all people deserve to know, be, and share LOVE, and to be treated with kindness. I believe that when we know better we have the potential to do better and we're all doing the best we can. I believe that systems of oppression which grant privilege to some and harm to others must be consciously identified, rooted out, reconciled, and healed. I believe that to truly live in our light we must also face our shadow. I believe that you are here - now - for a reason, and I look forward to supporting you through my products, services, and writing.
A Medicine Woman's Prayer by Sheree Bliss Tilsley
I will not rescue you,
For you are not powerless.
I will not fix you,
For you are not broken.
I will not heal you,
For I see you in your wholeness.
I will walk with you through the darkness,
As you remember your light