The hearth. The center of the home, the center of domestic life. For our ancestors, it was where food was made, stories were shared, textiles were crafted and mended. Eminent scholar of medieval traditions and folklore Claude Lecouteux writes: "Hearth is a generic term for designating the place where fire burns. The hearth can mean different things depending on the era and the region; it ranges from the simple fire pit of primitive dwellings to the more modern earthenware and cast-iron stove, and includes the open chimney, the fireplace, the oven, or the furnace" (The Tradition of Household Spirits, 69). So when I refer to the hearth, I mean the place where the fire dwells and provides warmth and sustenance.
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There is a cookbook titled The Joy of Cooking. It was the go-to book in my mom’s household when I was growing up. Don’t know how to make something? Go look in the book. It had everything from how to cook nearly any kind of meat, [I believe I recall frog legs!] vegetables, pastry, desserts, aspic and an assortment of other things. When I moved out, mom gave me my own copy, and at my request, she gave me another when I got married many years later.
I’m not sure how much she actually felt joy about cooking. She’s an artist and has ADD, and cooking is not one of the things that grabs her attention. In fact, she can find it difficult to remember to eat, with the exception of sweet baked goods. Such was my introduction to cooking. Ie. I learned how to make cookies and bake bread, but had to teach myself to make a pot of soup. I don’t blame her for this lack. She did make food everyday, and if it wasn’t fancy, it was nourishing and I did eat some things that scared my friends: sea food was a regular at our dinner table in Pennsylvania, as was calf’s liver. But she didn’t teach me to cook any of it myself. I don’t think she had the energy, as a single mom, she wanted far more help from me than she got, and she didn’t have the will to fight with me once I hit my teens....
I wish you a wonderful winter season.
May you get enough rest.
May you get enough fun.
I’m always nervous when I need to write about an unknown divinity and especially when it comes from a culture where I have to rely upon transliterated information. Kojin is the next deity from the atheist’s graveyard. I find him interesting in that he is a male divinity of the hearth.
(Mother Holle art by Florence Harrison)
My life has taken a rather domestic turn, lately, with my kids back to homeschooling and taking college classes, and with a concerted effort to organize the household and prepare everyone individually and as a family for the next transitions (driving, college, growing up, moving, etc.) It has been busy and maybe a little bumpy, but now it’s starting to run smoothly, thanks to the effort everyone has been putting in toward the plans we’ve made. Add to this the return of Spring, and I’m also feeling my sap rising and I have the energy to meet the challenges and expand my involvement in things both inside and outside of home. The urge for Spring cleaning is helped by the unseasonably warm weather we’re having, so I’m ready to throw open the windows and take care of business… scrub down the cottage, start some seeds, maybe mow the lawn (while planning to replace the lawn with a cottage garden when resources allow.)...
I sort of spent my twenties fighting against who I really was in oh so many ways. I didn’t want to be a kitchen Witch. I thought that was the least impressive, most Holly Hobby branch of magic there is.
Jow and I were talking about why I fought this yesterday, he said it doesn’t make me lesser. But I said, it does. I’ve just grown not to care and to honor who I am. It makes me LESS formally educated, LESS full of hermetic/goetic/golden dawn occulty goodness, LESS theory based magic, LESS plugged in to having 24/7 chitchats with my gods, LESS inclined to have some kind of formal magic fancy dance, etc., etc....