Friday, April 13, 2012

H is for Hearths - The Heart of the Home

We've all most likely heard of hearth magick - and it is often bunched in together with kitchen witchery and the like. The idea stems from the historical notion of the hearth being the center of the home (quite literally if one goes back far enough in history).  The hearth was where the majority of daily life took place, you cooked your food here, socialized, stayed warm and participated in spiritual practices.  Perhaps the most famous of the hearth deities would be Hestia(Greek)/Vesta(Roman).  An offering would be made to Hestia/Vesta at each meal.  The fortunes and successes of Rome were intricately linked with the workings of the cult of Vesta.  In fact throughout most Western societies you see a great deal of importance placed on the hearth fire in general (I speak of Western societies because I don't know may of the Eastern traditions that well).

Of course today things are a little different.  Lets face it, few of us still cook around the home hearth (unless you count your stove as your hearth), and a lot of us don't even have a fire place of any description and so we forget about the importance of the hearth.  What is key to recognize here is that the hearth is more than just the fireplace, it is the center of the home, the place where the family gathers, it is the heart.  You don't need to have a fireplace to have a hearth, all you need to do is set up a space where you can create your home's heart.

Some people will put up a mantle on the wall and decorate it like a fire place but you don't have to go that far if you don't want to.  You could use a shelf of some description, a table top, etc.  Get creative.  What do you put on it?  There are so many options here - although I find simplicity for a hearth is the best way to go.  Something that represents fire is a logical start.  You could place something symbolic to a hearth deity (or an image of one).  Crystals that would promote health, abundance and love for your household.  An offering bowl or something similar.  A family photo.  The options are endless.

The important part is to take the time to set aside a place that is central to your home, a place you can see that symbolizes what is important in your home.  Somewhere you could meditate or make offerings at.  A focal point.  If you have household deities you may also choose to set up a place here for them to reside.

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