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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in house-spirits
Stones, Bones, and Blood: Rituals to Prevent a House Fire

If you’re familiar with household folklore and traditions, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a lot of concern about housefires. While fire was a necessary element for survival – keeping warm, cooking food, boiling water to make it safe to drink and clean wounds with – it was also a hazard, especially in homes made of wood and thatch. Lightning could strike during a storm, and the roof would be set ablaze. An accident or malfunction could happen in the hearth, and the house would be consumed from within. Loss of a home spelled disaster, just as it does today, although fire codes and emergency response units have reduced risks for many of us.

Fiery Gods and Devils

Many household spirits were associated with fire. The German kobold is one example. Kobolds, like alps, were often described as fiery spirits that dwelled near or within the stove and, if they were treated poorly, could cause housefires in vengeance. Feeding the kobold regularly, refraining from speaking ill of him, and keeping the house clean and tidy were good ways to keep him happy and supportive of the household.

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Posted by on in SageWoman Blogs

Do you believe that homes (houses and apartments) speak to their occupants? 

I do.

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Snake Spirits: Health and Wealth

"Snake, snake, come swiftly 
Hither come, thou tiny thing,
Thou shalt have thy crumbs of bread,
Thou shalt refresh thyself with milk."

-The Brothers Grimm, “Stories About Snakes: First Story”

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Kobolds: Household Tricksters

Household spirits fascinate me. Not too surprising, given the subject of this blog. Modern popular paganism tends to focus so much on the greater deities and the wild spirits of the forests, bodies of water, mountains, etc., that spirits of the home tend to be overlooked or shrugged off. Perhaps house spirits seem less interesting because they occupy the same spaces we live in day after day; perhaps they seem too domestic, too banal. Or perhaps, like many, many other spirits known to our ancestors, we have just forgotten about them. Whatever the reason, I can say that household spirits are just as mysterious, rich with character and personality, and even dangerous as other types of spirits. They offer just as much spiritual value and the potential for material reward. They are just as vital to our lives as they were to those who came before us.

One of these spirits is the kobold, a German spirit of the home as well as mines and ships. It is a helpful trickster, one that can come into a family in a number of ways – including choosing the family itself – and promises a fruitful (if complicated) relationship that can last a lifetime.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Protecting the Threshold

Just as a field has a fence or hedge, and every forest an edge, so does every household have a boundary, a liminal space in which, for perhaps no more than a split second, one is neither in nor out. One is in between.

Power lies in these in-between, or liminal, spaces – power that can be benign or malign. Scholar Claude Lecouteux describes the house as a "protective cocoon, one that is sacred and magical" (48). As ancient homes tended to be passed down from generation to generation, it was common for a man (as women often joined the homes of their spouses when they married) to be born in the house in which they lived and to die there. This means that inherited homes were also the places in which one's parents, grandparents, and so on had been born, lived, and died.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • J'Karrah
    J'Karrah says #
    We have two Foo lions who guard our front door (male and female) and an iron dragon who watches the back. We also painted protect
  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife says #
    Very nice! I also have a bindrune written beneath our threshold that I created for protection. Love your guardian figures as well.
  • Tasha Halpert
    Tasha Halpert says #
    Informative and interesting, Thanks!
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    My parents kept a wreath on the door most of the year. Theirs was just decoration I'm sure but the habit probably grew out of ear
  • The Cunning Wife
    The Cunning Wife says #
    Thanks for sharing! Very cool that your parents carried on that tradition with their wreath. I'm not very familiar with Jewish or

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
The Healing Hearth

Continuing with my first post’s examination of the significance of the hearth in a home, we’ll look at the lore regarding the healing and protective powers of the hearth, its fire, and an important hearth implement, the chimney hook. Unless cited otherwise, the information below comes from Claude Lecouteux’s excellent book on household lore, The Tradition of Household Spirits.

Before we can appreciate ancient and medieval European traditions of healing, it’s important to understand what ancient and medieval Europeans believed about the nature of illness. In Witchcraft and Magic in Europe: the Middle Ages, it’s stated that:

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Things That Go Bump in the House

You could call him the house-wight. I first encountered him directly in a dream last year. (And yes, he's a he, whatever that means.)

That's how I learned his name. His name says a lot about him (and, probably, something about me, as well). When you know someone's name, it's a bond. Whether you will or whether you won't, it makes a relationship which, like all such, needs ongoing maintenance.

These last few days, I've been hearing things fall in the house. I get up, I go look: nothing. It isn't Craig: he's not here. It isn't the cat: he's asleep on the bed. Yes, the house vibrates when buses hit big potholes on Lake Street, but it's not pothole season yet. (Ah, the joys of urban spring.) Yes, the house ticks and pops when the temperature falls below zero. But those sounds I know, and this isn't them. Ice falling from the eaves? No, these are indoor clatters, I'm sure of it. I'm hearing things fall in rooms where nothing seems to be falling. If we call it the house-wight, that makes as much sense as anything.

A little guy with a beard and shining eyes? Shadows sliding in the far corners of vision? My human mind connecting up stray incidents into patterns that don't exist? A subtle way of externalizing my mental and emotional relationship with my environment? All of the above?

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Anthony Gresham
    Anthony Gresham says #
    Back when I still lived in my parent's house I would notice sounds when I was in the house alone. Thump noises like something fel
  • T-Roy
    T-Roy says #
    Some of them prefer oatmeal with a pat of butter.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Ah, yes: it makes sense that the preferred offering would vary from wight to wight. (We have our preferences, why wouldn't they?)
  • Anne Newkirk Niven
    Anne Newkirk Niven says #
    Well, of *course* you didn't give away his name. (He would have given you a lot of trouble for doing that.)

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