The Hedge Revival: wisdom from the margins

It’s a funny creature, the word ‘hedge’: like all the best words, it’s something of a shapeshifter. In one sense we use it to convey a boundary, something which closes us in. Think of the modern suburban hedge: regimented rows of neatly clipped, soulless leylandii; privet which has been so harshly treated that it forgets how to bloom. But in another sense, we use the word ‘hedge’ to indicate something quite different: the wild margins which surround the cultivated fields. Think now of the gnarly old hedgerows of Britain and Ireland: thick, richly flowering, berried hawthorn and elder, blackthorn and hazel. An abundance of food and shelter for wild things. Secret places, where treasure might be found, where birds might speak to you, and foxes sing to the stars. An ancient hedge is a place where anything might happen. A liminal place, where the wisdom of the wild margins is available to all. Hedge wisdom. Read More

Myth and story as an act of placemaking: the transcript

For those of you who requested a transcript of yesterday’s audio file, here it is.

It’s not quite dawn in this green, fertile valley; there’s just the faintest glimmer of pink in the sky to the east. The moon is waxing, its light silvering the river which winds through the land, soft like the curves of a woman’s body as she stretches out to dip her toes in the sea. At the crossroads, three hares are sitting quite still in the middle of the road; they scatter when they become aware of me, tails flashing white in the moonlight then fading into the dark. Read More

The re-enchantment of psychology: or, why we are not imagining myth, but myth is imagining us

My psychology studies didn’t begin well. In the first lecture I ever attended, a sardonic disbeliever-in-everything thoroughly and mockingly debunked the idea of hypnosis, demonstrating how to fake the Human Plank Feat to a lecture theatre full of mesmerized (sorry) students who were already beginning to wonder what on earth they’d let themselves in for. Read More

Why enchantment matters

It seems suddenly to have become fashionable — or was it always fashionable? — to turn one’s nose up at the mention of words like ‘enchantment’ or ‘re-enchantment’. It seems that men in particular don’t like these words, as though they’re just not gritty enough. As though enchantment is somehow about distancing you from the earth rather than connecting you to it. I find that idea perplexing. Once upon a time I used the title ‘Re-enchanting the Earth’ as an overall banner for my work, and although I don’t use that title any more, my work is still very much about re-enchanting. How could it not be? Read More

Moments of enchantment

I live in a wild, remote and beautiful place where opportunities for enchantment come thick and fast. But sometimes, still, there are unexpected moments that take my breath away. Read More