Hob & Broom: Household Lore & Traditions

An exploration of the old spirits, symbols, customs, and crafts of the home.

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The Cunning Wife

The Cunning Wife

The Cunning Wife is an animist, writer, diviner, crafter, witch, and spirit worker and traveler. Her work has been published in a number of online and print magazines, including Witches & Pagans and Hagstone Publishing's Stone, Root, and Bone ezine. She gets excited about scholarly essays and books on folklore, magical tales, and ancient spiritual practices, and is passionate about sharing that information. She is also an avid crafter of magical and mundane items. She believes that there is magic in the mundane, just waiting to be remembered.  
Cleanliness is Next to Godliness: Bathroom Spirits & Traditions

I have a few shrines around my house: an ancestor shrine on the hearth mantel; a "winter shrine" in the corner of the kitchen for my home's land spirit; and a shrine in the window of my bathroom. This last one might seem like a strange location for a sacred place, but peoples around the world have understood that the places where we clean and care for our bodies are hallowed places, housing certain powers.

 

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A Little Folklore of Light & Shadows

We often find ourselves yearning for light and warmth during these last winter months in the northern hemisphere. We grow tired of being bundled up, of shivering, of staying indoors. Yet, if we look carefully, we begin to notice that, little by little, the light is growing. Situated in the fading of winter, the holidays celebrated on February 2nd -- Groundhog Day, Imbolc, Candlemas -- feature an interplay of shadows and light as we approach revitalization in many forms.

 

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Perchta, Winter Goddess of the Alps

The Yuletide is a season of wonderment, with warm food and drink, songs of joy and peace, the soft lighting of hearth fires, candles, and strings of electric light, gifts and blessings. But there's a darker aspect: the nocturnal Wild Hunt, when the fierce spirits of the wilderness roam.

 

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The Last Harvest: Martinstag, the Räbeliechtliumzug, and Thanksgiving

We went out the door, wrapped in coats and scarves, with our paper lanterns lit. The streets were dark, but ahead of us, we could make out the shadows of other children and their parents, their faces softly illuminated by their own lanterns hung on sticks. The lanterns swayed gently as we walked. We went up the street, up the long hill, through the little Bavarian town we were temporarily calling home. It was the eve of Martinstag, November 10, and our neighbors who lived in the flat below ours had invited us to come along.

It wasn't a solemn ritual. There was laughter and chatter, an air of excitement. On the main street, a crowd gathered on either side, the lanterns brightening the darkness. A parade advanced and thundered down the street, roaring with music, vehicles decorated like ships, horses, and other modes of travel. Costumed celebrants called out, "Halloo!" a traditional battle cry, and tossed out candy that we scrambled for and stuffed into sacks.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    I visit my sister Barbara and her family for Thanksgiving. She serves sparkling cider. She and her husband finally decided last
  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife says #
    Thank you for sharing your Thanksgiving traditions! Brussel sprouts sound like perfect fare for a late fall feast.
The Turning Wheel: Folk Tradition and Myth

 

There’s a house across the hill from mine that has a wagon wheel mounted on a post in their front yard. It’s painted white with eight spokes, and in front of it is a small garden bed with flowers. I’ve seen wagon wheels in yards and even mounted on house exteriors before, but I never thought much about them until recently. When I noticed this particular wagon wheel on the way to my son’s school one morning, it struck me as one of those old traditions that have been practiced consistently for so long that people have forgotten what they mean. But still they use them, out of superstition (a code word for lingering belief in folk magic and religion), a love of tradition, or both.

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White Storks in European Traditions and Stories

"I know the pond in which all the little children lie, waiting till the storks come to take them to their parents."

-Hans Christian Andersen, "The Storks"

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    The local library used to have a book called Australia Dreaming. If I remember correctly it mentioned that the spirits of the unb
  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife says #
    That's fascinating!
Not Only Lammas: Other August Harvest Holidays and Traditions in Europe

Grains are goldening, apples and other fruits are ripening, and beehives are thick with honey. The harvest season has come and is rapidly maturing. While Lammas and Lughnasadh have passed in the UK and Ireland, other harvest holidays are still just beginning. Each festival celebrates the culmination of hard work and good luck, and marks the turning of the year, the slow fade of summer into fall, and the gratitude that people still feel for the benevolence of their lands.

Grains, Apples, and Honey

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