When you see the Hearth as a portal to the Otherworld and domestic practices as potent Magic hiding in plain sight, there really is nothing mundane about it.~Jenn Campus, Author
This is the first post of the new year, 2021. January is the perfect time to talk about Hearth Magic. Most of us, especially those in the Northern Hemisphere, spend more time indoors. Even if we are not experiencing winter right now, January is generally time to get things in motion for the New Year. Pandemic aside, a lot of the planning takes place at home.
Simple Hearth Magic
When we want to honor the Old Ways, it has to start at home. Hearth Magic is commonly known as the Magic of the Home.
Frankly, Hearth Magic has been watered down and relegated to the realm of Domestic Goddesses and Kitchen Witches. It’s become a catch-all identity umbrella for spiritual people with magical practices who enjoy spending time cooking, baking, engaging in handcrafts, or gardening. Many of us are Mothers and caretakers.
Instead of seeking the deep, dark woods to commune with the Old Powers, we often prefer to do it from the comfort of our own home.
Needs Based Magic
Hearth Magic practices are activities that create safety, security, warmth and nourishment. The Hearth is the place where all our basic needs are met. We must have that foundation if we are to move forward with our lives.
The inherent magic of nourishing others, growing other humans from our bodies, and creating a sanctuary and refuge for rejuvenation and comfort is not lost on me. But there are layers to this type of magic. I want to share in hopes that it will allow you to deepen your spiritual practices. Perhaps it will even allow you to see Hearth Magic in a new light.
The Hearth is a Portal
In reality the Hearth is an everyday, accessible portal to the Otherworld. There is nothing mundane about it. I don’t want to jump ahead, so let’s break it all down a little bit first.
It All Comes Back to the Hearth
I struggled with how to describe this topic. I don’t like labels or absolutes. Yet, many people are familiar with the term “Hearth Magic”. Since that is essentially that’s what it is, I’m using the descriptor.
A dear friend of mine, Ingar, and I have regular Zoom chats. We catch up about our personal lives, but as fellow foodies, teachers, and spiritual seekers, we also check-in and give feedback to each other about work-related endeavors. We’ve known each other for over a decade and have oddly followed each other around the world. She runs a women’s circle and has a private energy healing and nutrition practice that she runs out of Eindhoven, in the Netherlands, called Light Haven, Eindhoven. In one of our recent talks, she told me, “it always comes back to Hearth Magic – whether you’re talking about the Ancestors, Herbs, Food & Culinary History, or Spirit, it always comes back to the Hearth with you.”
Hearth Magic is Complex
I found it immensely useful to hear how my dear friend condensed all the varied work I do under this one heading…something I have a lot of trouble doing…and it felt true.
So, I sat with what she said for weeks. It really stuck with me. First, because although the concepts around Hearth Magic sound outwardly simplistic, it’s so complex in practice. I felt others would benefit from knowing this, which compelled me to share some of the complexities. The second reason I sat with this conversation for so long was to sort out all the negativity that often surrounds this type of magic because it’s based so much on concepts of gender. It rubs a lot of women the wrong way.
I used this question as a direction to explore the topic of Hearth Magic for myself. I came to some surprising conclusions.
Homemaking or Magic in Plain Sight?
For some, Hearth Magic sounds dowdy and outdated. Re-wilding or some such sounds sexier and more liberated than digging deep into what appears to be all about the drudgery of homemaking.
Homemaking has been the work of women for a long time. Using magic in the open has not been safe for a long time, too. It could get you tortured or burned. Yet, much like the spirit of women, magic has persisted.
What do you do with the most precious thing you have? Our ancient Grandmothers knew. They kept our birthright, our Magic safe for us, by hiding it in plain sight. They used the most mundane tools to wield it and domestic activities to send it out into the world to do its work.
Also, Hearth Magic connects us to our past. It may be the easiest way for many people to access the wisdom of their Ancestors. These practices are life-affirming and incorporate the way humans have lived since the very beginning. One of the best ways to connect with our Ancestors is to engage in work that they participated in too when they were alive. For example, preparing, eating, and OFFERING them Ancestral Foods. More on that topic:
Hearth Magic might also be the easiest way to connect to the spirit world, and the Old Powers, too. Not only those who have apparent connections to the Hearth, either.
What is Hearth Magic?
Many people describe Hearth Magic as activities and rituals performed by Kitchen Witches.
In other words, people who use their kitchen gadgets and implements as magical tools. Or people who use intention, visualization, or herbs with specific metaphysical properties that they wish to impart. Then serve the resulting spells in the form of food to themselves or others.
Kitchen Witch might even describe someone who consciously thinks about where their food comes from and how it’s processed. Some Hearth Magic practitioners might work to reduce their consumption and use of non-renewable products. Others might weave their spells and magic into fiber work or use their garden to grow their intentions.
These are all beautiful practices, and yet it only touches the surface of Hearth Magic.
Hearth Magic is for Everyone
Indeed, Hearth Magic goes so much deeper than that. Hearth Magic may seem simple, but it’s often difficult to put into practice. It requires you to find strong magic in what most of the world categorizes as mundane. Or worse, tries to avoid at all costs.
Heath Magic is a deep practice of taking the simple and every day and diving deep with it to discover the mysteries held within.
The beauty of the practice is that everyone alive has access to everyday things. It’s just a matter of perspective whether you see the inherent magic therein. If we want to live in our magic and see it all around us, we have to start where we live.
Our Ancestors did this. They knew that life, no matter how challenging or difficult, is a gift. That’s why they might often be our greatest teachers when it comes to uncovering everyday magic. They are, after all, the ones who found ingenious ways to protect it for us.
Sacred Hearth Keepers
Hearth Magic can mean infusing mundane life with magic, intention, and vision. Yet, it’s fundamentally about living with the belief that the simplest things in life are the most nuanced, potent, and yes, magic.
In the Hearth Magic podcast episode, I talk about how the Hearth Keeper must be informed and practiced in working with the elements, and the spirit of the home. If they are not, there can be a lot of problems experienced by the people who live there.
Hearth Magic is foundational for creating an environment of love and comfort. It’s even needed for creating the right conditions to call in abundance. Its magic is making sure those who live in the home are Nourished in Mind and Spirit as well as Body.
Through remembering and upholding the tradition of the Sacred Hearth, and the holy duties of the Hearth Keepers, or Matriarchs, or Patriarchs (the good kind), we begin to see the work we do daily as something sanctified. The work takes on a certain beauty and not the drudgery that the standard narrative dictates to try to put us in our place. We fool them at their own game by remembering the magical gifts and symbolism that our Grandmothers passed down to us in such resourceful ways.
What is a Hearth?
The Hearth is the heart of the home. Everyone knows this. It is a prevalent idea in many cultures the world over. In days long past, every home had a fireplace that people used to prepare food, like Medieval Chickpea Pancakes. The Hearth also kept the house warm. It served as a central point for the family to gather around and discuss the news of the day, or relax and listen to stories, play music, do handwork, or create art.
The importance of the Hearth to pre-Christian cultures cannot be understated. It meant home, and it meant safety and security. People created shrines in their homes to Hearth Goddesses and House Spirits. People also said their prayers at the Hearth and asked for protection as they banked the fires before bed.
I believe that the ancients saw the Hearth as a gateway to the Otherworld. This makes it one of the most spiritual and magical places not only in the home but in general.
How is a Hearth a Portal?
We use the Hearth to give offerings to Ancestors, Gods, and Wights. Through burning offerings, a common practice amongst pagans, the smoke travels through the chimney and enters the air. It acts as a messenger to bring our prayers, hopes, and gratitude to the Unseen ones.
In January’s seasonal guide: The Heart of Winter, I talk about the element of Air and how to use wind as a divination tool. Wind is a messenger in its own right.
We also receive messages from the Otherworld through the Hearth. It can be through scrying and other fire divination or through supernatural visits from the Old Powers, who might bring gifts of their own to us, like Santa Claus and Befana.
Through Hearth Magic, we connect to the Wights, or Spirit of Place. Many pre-Christian cultures believed it to reside in the Hearth or chimney. It is vital to have an understanding and good working relationship with the spirit of the home. Otherwise, the results could be just as detrimental – items lost, people or pets sick all the time, etc.
Our relationship with our House Elf is an entry point to begin to come into right relationship with all those we inhabit our space with – seen and unseen, and to start relationships of reciprocity. This relationship often begins at the Hearth.
House to Home We Keep Our Inner Hearth Fire Burning
When we understand the inherent magic of the Hearth, it’s hard not to see our Kitchens and then our homes as extensions of this magic portal to the Otherworld. This understanding turns House to Home, living space to Sacred Space.
What if I Don’t Have a Hearth?
The Hearth and, therefore, the Home is just an extension of ourselves. I always say that the state of my home reflects my inner world. If things are a mess and scattered, it’s almost certain that’s exactly how I feel on the inside.
So, if you don’t have a physical Hearth or fireplace, use your own inner fire. For anyone familiar with meditation, astral travel, or other types of spiritual journey work, you know your body is essentially a portal exchanging information from the Otherworld. Just like a Hearth.
The Magic of the Hearth is Belonging
You can always return to your Inner Hearth. You know you’ve found it when you feel lit-up. It calls you with a hum in your veins, or when you receive a sign you’ve been hoping for. It’s knowing that you are loved and supported by the Gods and your other spiritual allies.
Your inner hearth fire stays lit when you live a life that allows you to be the best version of yourself. When you live in alignment with your truth doing the work you are here to do. The physical place where this all takes place is inside yourself.
You are the magic, always.
? Working with Elementals is Housework.
? Chimney Sweep Lore – why are sweeps considered lucky?
?Witches & Broomsticks – Why are witches depicted flying on brooms? The answer might surprise you.