This summer we completed the refurbishment work on the building that houses The Hedge School. It’s a lovely little thing, as you can see below. It’s just as lovely inside, but we still have some painting to complete before we’ll be ready to share the interior with you as well – so watch this space.
After an incredibly busy year during which I miraculously managed to complete my new book, The Enchanted Life, on time, I’m now beginning to turn to my dreams for The Hedge School. And there are quite a few of them. None of them, however, can be completed without help; my time is entirely taken up with writing, and with running the courses which contribute to my part of the household bills. If the Hedge School is to grow and to become the resource that I believe it has the potential to become, then I’m going to need to be able to call on – and pay – others for their help. And so, after much thinking and agonising, I’m taking the advice of a number of good friends and launching a Patreon page, to make it easy for those who would like to support our work to do so.
If you don’t know about Patreon, it describes itself as ‘
I’m a writer, and like most writers, I can’t make a living from writing alone. The courses I already offer at The Hedge School help to pay the bills. But my primary aim is to offer more free resources, to make what we do accessible to everyone. I’d like to make The Hedge School website an authoritative source for people looking for accurate information (and there is so much misinformation on the web!) about Celtic myths and folklore, and the other native traditions of these islands. I’d like to offer articles by guest experts, and podcasts. A database of useful articles on a per-topic basis, reading lists and lists of useful links. I’d like to encourage other writers and teachers to join me there, as contributors, co-conspirators, co-creators.
I’d like also to think about the possibility of producing relevant books and other occasional publications. I founded, and for many years worked unpaid to champion the work of others at, independent literary publisher Two Ravens Press (which The Herald newspaper in Scotland called ‘a quiet publishing revolution’) before we passed the company on in 2013. In 2012, I founded EarthLines Magazine, a unique full-colour publication for writing about nature, place and the environment described by Jay Griffiths as ‘a deeply intelligent publication’, by George Monbiot as ‘a rare combination and much needed’, and by Robert Macfarlane as ‘a real point of convergence for many thought-tributaries and philosophical paths’. I’d like to bring those skills, and that passion for curating the work of others, to this new initiative.
But, as a writer, I don’t have the necessary skills to continue to do everything myself. And even at its current level of operation, the burden of administration at The Hedge School takes me away both from my writing, and from teaching. If The Hedge School is going to deepen its offerings and reach more people, then I’m going to need help. So that’s where, I hope, Patreon comes in. To help provide the funds to pay others to create content, maintain the website, and expand our outreach – as well as to maintain the virtual and physical premises which The Hedge School occupies.
If you’re reading this blog, I’m guessing you already resonate with our mission. But I’d like to spell it out again here. This is what we’re working towards, in words taken from our website:
We’ve only just begun our work, but our plan is to offer academically sound, up-to-date resources which are free to all, as well as personally transformative teachings in the native culture, folklore and traditions of the Celtic lands. The Hedge School is steeped in what we call ‘applied mythology’: it’s about practical guidance for living well, living authentically, connecting with our places, and finding a deep, embodied sense of belongingness to this wide, beautiful Earth.
… We believe that what we offer at The Hedge School is deeply needed in these challenging times. In Western societies we are seeing more calls for a return to native wisdom, but we can’t live by the worldviews of other cultures which are rooted in lands and histories that have little relationship to our own. Fine as all of those other traditions are, we don’t need to look to the myths and traditions of others for role models, or for guidance on how to live more authentically, in balance and harmony with the planet on which we depend. We have our own guiding stories, and they are deeply rooted in the heart of our own native landscapes. We draw them out of the wells and the waters; beachcombing, we lift them out of the sand. We dive for them to the bottom of deep lakes, we disinter them from the bogs, we follow their tracks through the shadowy glades of the enchanted forest.
It’s time to reclaim those stories. They ground us, and teach us; they show us how to find the trail of breadcrumbs which will lead us to our own unique calling.
If you’d like to join our community and work with us to make The Hedge School the best possible resource that it can be, then if you are able to do so, please head over to our Patreon page and support us. You can do so for as little as US$1 per month, and there are small rewards, such as access to private posts and updates specially created for all of our Patreon supporters. This will give you an insider’s view into our daily lives here at The Hedge School, with photographs and anecdotes that are more personal than those we share more publicly.
And if you feel inspired to share what we’re doing – we’d be even more grateful.