The Hedge School was founded in 2017 by award-winning writer, psychologist and mythologist Dr Sharon Blackie. Her highly acclaimed books, articles, online courses and residential retreats are focused on the development of the mythic imagination, and on the relevance of our native myths, fairy tales and folk traditions to the personal, social and environmental problems we face today.
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.
The term ‘hedge school’ has its roots in Ireland; it dates back to the seventeenth century and attempts to force Irish children to attend schools designed to train them in English language and customs, and the ‘true religion’. Rather than submit to such indoctrination, the Irish went back to the hedge, and created their own schools. No institutions, just a healthy respect for the old ways. In 1655 Oliver Cromwell called them trainings in ‘superstition, idolatory and the evill customs of this Nacion.’ We’ll go for that.
Our Hedge School — a physical location as well as a virtual space — has a similarly subversive intent. No institutions, no dogma, no prophets or preachers: just the wisdom of the hedge, and of the land. The wisdom which the wind blows down from the jagged peaks of the Connemara mountains, which the sea salts away in the vast network of rocky tidal inlets which characterise our coastline. The wisdom of the old stories, of the old ways.
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