Otherworld Well Hedge School

Otherworld Well Hedge School with Seán Pádraig O’Donoghue

What is the Otherworld Well Hedge School?

When my Irish ancestors were living under occupation, their language, their stories, and their history were outlawed. How did they keep their culture alive? The keepers of the seanchas, the old ways, gathered children under hedges and on the banks of streams to pass on the knowledge that had survived the destruction of the old Bardic colleges, fragments of an oral tradition reaching back to at least the Bronze Age. These gatherings were called Hedge Schools. (I first learned of the Hedge Schools from an essay Julie McIntyre wrote that Stephen Harrod Buhner included at the end of The Lost Language of Plants.) 

We, too, live in a time when the language that speaks most deeply to our souls is forbidden. The culture around us tells us that the wild and the dead have no voices and cannot speak to us. Our bodies know otherwise. They know that the rhythm of our ancestors’ heartbeats echoes in our own. They know that the wind in the Pines and the scent of Spruce on that wind carry messages that speak of our kinship with them.

It is imperative that we remember the language, culture, etiquette, and stories of the wild.

This is the purpose of The Otherworld Well Hedge School -- to pass down some of what I have learned from plants, from ancestral traditions, from elders, about how to heal ourselves and each other and enter into deeper relationship with the living world.

John Moriarty wrote that:

"To learn to speak is to learn to say 'our river has its source in an Otherworld well,' and anything we say about the hills and anything we say about the stars is a way of saying 'A Hazel grows over the Otherworld well our river has its source in.'"

We must learn again to speak in such a way. And to listen to all that is speaking to us. The Otherworld Well Hedge School is my effort to aid in that restoration.

Seán Pádraig O'Donoghue


Live Online Classes with the Otherworld Well Hedge School

Seán Pádraig O'Donoghue is now offering weekly live online classes through the Otherworld Well Hedge School exploring the ways we can connect with wild plants, ancestral traditions, and the land to heal ourselves, our community, and our world.

Each week's class will be held on Sunday evening at 7:00 PM Eastern with access to a recording of the class offered for 1 week after the Sunday evening session. Classes will be infused with Seán’s unique blend of science, history, folklore, magic, spirit, and poetry. Each class lasts for 2 hours, including Q&A time with the teacher. The format is a webinar-style classroom, in which the students can see the teacher, but cannot see one another. Students can participate freely via chat and, on occasion, we may open up audio for a more interactive Q&A.

At times during the year, Seán will also offer a series of Thursday night classes to the weekly schedule. These classes will take place at 7:00 PM Eastern with access to a recording of the class offered for 1 week after the session. Register for these classes individually or access them as part of a monthly subscription.

Details about each webinar are on the registration page. Classes will be conducted via Zoom. Make a free Zoom account with the same email address used for class registration to attend the webinar. Look for webinar link emails from Zoom.us (check your Spam or Junk mail folder) which will also have more details and help. Webinar link emails will be sent 2 days, 1 day, and 1 hour prior to class. No passwords are required to join each webinar -- simply sign in using the same email and Zoom account password with which you registered.

Paying students can attend live webinars:

  • Single Class ($20) -- choose to attend one live webinar (Sunday evening or Thursday evening) or view its recording for 1 week following that live webinar session. Registration details for each class will appear on this webpage and in Seán’s email newsletter.
  • Monthly Subscription ($55 per month) -- attend any live webinar classes within your billing cycle. Includes Sunday and Thursday evening classes. This is the best way to take part in every class! Click below to purchase a monthly subscription. Subscriptions may be canceled at any time.

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If you have questions or problems with registering for classes, please email:  support@otherworldwellhedgeschool.com


FREE Class - Wild Hope

Wild Hope

Check out this free class from Seán!

We are living in frightening and overwhelming times – but there is hope to be found in the wild world around us. 

"Wild hope" is the hope that emerges when we let go of our certainty about what comes next and trust the process of life unfolding, the inherent creativity of the living world.

We can connect with wild hope by connecting with our wild kin – the animals, plants, and fungi who are our ancestors and our relations. They live in this same world, their anatomies and chemistries are more like ours than we have been trained to believe, but they live outside the assumptions and conditioning of our culture. And our own bodies evolved to be in communication with theirs.

➡️ Watch the FREE Video


Upcoming Otherworld Well Hedge School Classes 

Shapeshifting
Thursday, December 1 at 7:00 pm ET with 1-week recording available

Shapeshifting

From Gods to sorcerers to werewolf warriors, Irish lore is full of shapeshifters. Join Seán for an exploration of the magic and spiritual ecology of shapeshifting in the Irish tradition.

Registering for this class means that you are enrolling in the live webinar, with access to this recording for the week following the live session.

 

 

 

 

➡️ Register for this class     *Need financial assistance? Click here

➡️ Sign up for a monthly subscription (includes this class):

 


**Special Online Intensive**  Psychedelics and the Rewilding of the Spirit
Saturday, December 3rd from Noon - 5 pm EDT
$66 - Includes access to the live class and 1-week access to the recording

Psychedelics and the Rewilding of the Spirit

Our consciousness did not arise alone. Consciousness is the fruiting body of a vast mycelial organism whose tendrils entwine with the roots of ancient trees and ephemeral wildflowers. Songs and poems are spores on the wind, carrying all we have known and felt and been to new soil where life might begin its wild fractal branching again.

Psychedelic compounds that plants and fungi evolved to help grow those networks of consciousness can help us reweave ourselves back into connection with the living world.

 

 

In this intensive, we will explore:

  • the neurobiology of how compounds like psilocybin can facilitate connection with the living world
  • the importance of right relationship with the plants and fungi that produce psychedelic compounds
  • rewilding set and setting: creating your own bioregionally appropriate ritual framework for working with psychedelics
  • what we risk losing and what we stand to gain by working with psychedelics to connect with the wild

Two 15-minute breaks will be integrated into the session.

Registering for this class means that you are enrolling in the live webinar, with access to this recording for the week following the live session.

Note: This is a special online intensive course that is offered separately to the monthly subscription to Sunday evening classes.

 

 ➡️ Register for this class

 


Imbas: Poetry, Prophecy, and Transformation
Sunday, December 4 at 7:00 pm ET with 1-week recording available

Imbas: Poetry, Prophecy, and Transformation

In ancient Ireland, the role of the poet went beyond crafting words that stir the soul. The poet was one who ventured into the wilderness to connect with the Otherworld on behalf of the Tuatha, the tribe, through the cultivation of imbas, the "poetic frenzy" described as a "fire in the head." The poetry that emerged from this process revealed truths about the past, present, and future and had the power to change lives and worlds. In this class, Seán will share his own approach to reanimating this tradition, and the role that visionary plant (and fungal) allies play in helping him cultivate the fire in the head.

Registering for this class means that you are enrolling in the live webinar, with access to this recording for the week following the live session.

 

➡️ Register for this class     *Need financial assistance? Click here

➡️ Sign up for a monthly subscription (includes this class):

 


Herbs and the Respiratory Tripledemic
Tuesday, December 6th at 7:00 pm ET with 1-week recording available

Herbs and the Respiratory Tripledemic

Despite the many and frequent proclamations that the pandemic is over, COVID is still with us, and likely to surge again this winter. Meanwhile, we are looking at an especially challenging strain of the flu, and a variant of the respiratory virus RSV that is especially dangerous to children running through our communities.

 

 

 

 

In this class we will:

  • Explore the similarities and differences between these infections
  • Discuss strategies for keeping yourself and your family safe during the "tripledemic"
  • Talk about herbs that can help mitigate symptoms of these infections
  • Look at the effects viral infections like these can have on the brain and the heart and ways of addressing these impacts.

Registering for this class means that you are enrolling in the live webinar, with access to this recording for the week following the live session.

 

➡️ Register for this class     *Need financial assistance? Click here

➡️ Sign up for a monthly subscription (includes this class):

 


Sacred Kings
Thursday, December 8 at 7:00 pm ET with 1-week recording available

Sacred Kings

In Irish tradition, the King weds the land at Samhain, devoting his life to the land and the people, and tying his fate to theirs. Join Seán for an exploration of the lore of sacred kingship in the Irish tradition, and the relationship between the king and the health of the land.

Registering for this class means that you are enrolling in the live webinar, with access to this recording for the week following the live session.  

 

 

 

➡️ Register for this class     *Need financial assistance? Click here

➡️ Sign up for a monthly subscription (includes this class):

 


Wild Joy
Sunday, December 11 at 7:00 pm ET with 1-week recording available

Wild Joy

The late Barbara Ehrenreich wrote:

"To this day, and no doubt for good reasons, suffering remains the almost exclusive preoccupation of professional psychology. Journals in the field have published forty-five thousand articles in the last thirty years on depression, but only four hundred on joy." 

We herbalists, too, speak more often about alleviating anxiety and depression than about nourishing joy. Come learn about "cordials," "joy tonics," and other herbs that gladden the heart including Borage, Lemon Balm, Angelica, Albizzia, and Damiana.

Registering for this class means that you are enrolling in the live webinar, with access to this recording for the week following the live session.

 

➡️ Register for this class     *Need financial assistance? Click here

➡️ Sign up for a monthly subscription (includes this class):

 


The Wild Hunt
Thursday, December 15 at 7:00 pm ET with 1-week recording available

The Wild Hunt

In England, Wales, Scandinavia, and parts of Scotland, tales are told of an Otherworldly Hunter and his spectral hounds who rides through the night sky in the dark of the year, guiding the souls of the dead along the Milky Way and into the Otherworld. Join Seán for an exploration of the nature, meaning, and role of the Wild Hunt in its many forms.

Registering for this class means that you are enrolling in the live webinar, with access to this recording for the week following the live session.

 

 

 

➡️ Register for this class     *Need financial assistance? Click here

➡️ Sign up for a monthly subscription (includes this class):

 


Winter Solstice
Sunday, December 18 at 7:00 pm ET with 1-week recording available

Winter Solstice

For thousands of years, people have marked the dawn that follows the darkest night as a time of hope and renewal. Join Seán for an exploration of the myth and magic of the Winter Solstice, and the plants whose medicine bring brightness to the season.

Registering for this class means that you are enrolling in the live webinar, with access to this recording for the week following the live session.

 

 

 

➡️ Register for this class     *Need financial assistance? Click here

➡️ Sign up for a monthly subscription (includes this class):