Blessings of the Hearth
"One may have a blazing hearth in one's soul and yet no one ever comes to sit by it. Passersby see only a wisp of smoke from the chimney and continue on their way." Vincent van Gogh
Part of my family traditions are , as with most families, our foods.
The celebrations and sharing that take place over a fabulous feast with family and friends is priceless. Add a little good ol` fashioned Kitchen Conjure and you have the making of a time honored tradition of serving those we care for and expressing faith and culture through feasts and celebration.
From ancient times to the present families, friends, and communities have gotten together over good foods and great company. Whether your here to look recipes that help you turn the Wheel or the "secrets in plain sight" of Kitchen Witchery, you can be assured that what is on this book is authentic and genuine praxis of a genuine kitchen witch (among a few other things)!
The Hearth or the Heart of the Home
A hearth is a fireplace or oven. Before modern heating and cooking, the hearth was used for cooking, light, and warmth. Because of this, it served as an integral part of the home where people gathered. Traditionally it was made of brick or stone.
The Hearth was indeed the Heart of the home. Families and extended family would gather at the hearth for not only warmth and a good meal. but for the stories. Often the elders of the family would revel in retelling the fabulous folk tales and family lore, this was and still is what authentic Family Tradition is.
The stories told were colorful, full of spirit, and usually a moral lesson or a lesson about nature and gods or spirits of the lands. This time honored tradition can be alive and well in your family at your heart today.
The hearth was considered to be the heart of the home. This is because without the hearth flame "beating" heart of the home , nothing will run quite as it should. It was sacred , it was a responsibility, it was tradition.
Keeping the hearth was a daily chore. Making sure there was wood, oil, or coal to keep it going. Tending to the hearth fires was a huge responsibility and allowing ones hearth to go out was a sign of negligence, that trouble was afoot, and unpreparedness. To do so meant both the mundane and practical and the spiritual and ancestors were being neglected. Without a good hearth there was not hear, no food, and no retelling of the stories and family lore. A hearth with no flame was a family with no focus, no center or unity.
In Old Ireland, the only time the hearth fire was allowed to go out and be the source of angst was at Beltane, Mays Eve. On this night a huge main fire was lit at Tara, Ireland's spiritual center, all other household fires were literally or symbolically relighted from this main fire. It was a lovely way to show unity throughout the land.
Today in the modern urban world I live in, we express unity in many ways. From large political activist groups to small special interest associations. The truly most heart wrenching tradition we have lost as community is that of the Family Hearth. Today, your family may not have a large stone fireplace to gather for warmth, food, and fables- but most of us have a kitchen table, or patio hearth, or even a park we can get together in for feasting , fables and old fashioned fun. The type of fun that strengthens families and communities.
We may not be able to solve world peace with a family feast at the hearth, but we may be able to soothe the teenage broken heart, learn from the aging elder, assist the young mom with some wisdom, and share our great foods, family, and our faith.
I have a had family members shy away from invites to a open ritual, however I have to say none objected to the "Welcome Spring Family Brunch"- with spinach (fresh from the backyard) quiche, warm croissants, Orange juice, maple sausages and lovely cinnamon rolls with a triple goddess atop made from icing, all arranged on a cutely decorated spring table with a lovely hearth in the center ( a center piece of a 3 wick candle).
No, no one complained that the eggs were wicked or the juice tasted like it had a mojo on it. No, what they did discuss was my garden, the lovely candle on the table, the time one of the grand-kids hurled hard boiled eggs like balls at innocent bystanders, a few were upset at their kids for being rude and saying the did not like spinach, grandma told a few tales of nostalgia, kids ran a muck outside and everyone ate , drank and were happy when the left.
Did the Spring Brunch Orange juice have a little mojo? Why, of course it did! As did the eggs, the cinnamon rolls, the sausage and well the whole house for that matter!
You can revive the family hearth or start your own. You can use hearth blessings to bless those you love and celebrate the turning Wheel with some none the wiser too!
So, go be blessed and make some good food!