The third weekly theme for July, as proposed by our channel editor Jason Mankey, is Why I am a (insert religion/trad/practice here). I have more than one label in my Paganism, but I have probably already discussed the hows and whys of Hellenism and Hekateanism a fair bit already. The Hearth witchery though, which my blog is even named for, doesn’t get discussed a whole lot – except in passing. And even there, it’s mostly the what I do instead of why I do. So, here is why I am a Hearth Witch.
What is a Hearth Witch
We should probably begin with this most obvious of questions – what is Hearth Witchery? I think it’s probably easy enough to guess. The hearth being, once upon a time, the centre of the home, makes Hearth Witchery the witchcraft that revolves around the home. It is very similar, and in some cases identical to, Kitchen Witchery or Domestic Witchcraft.
It is all about domestic things, cooking, cleaning, family, gardening (unless you’re black thumbed like me), DIYing, decorating and the like – even parenting and homeschooling have been incorporated into my Hearth Craft. It’s the craft of infusing magic, your will, the power and magic of the world around you (and more) into those domestic tasks.
It’s often super simple in nature though, it doesn’t require elaborate spells and incantations. A lot of it is seemingly incidental and, on the surface, extraordinarily mundane. It’s when your mixing spoon is your wand, your broom is your staff (and sword), your carving knife is an athame (or boline probably). It’s an art of adaptation and making things up as you go along. It’s a natural sort of magic, rather than a formal one. But it’s no less effective for all that.
I Could Never be a Hearth Witch
Although I had never heard of Hearth witchery when I was child, if I had, I could have told you straight up that I could and would never be such a thing. As a child and early teen I went through a long stage of rampant derision for female stereotypes. I was adamant I would never cook or clean or have children or wear dresses or any of that because that is what stereotypes expect of women.
I have no idea where this came from, it just existed.
As a teen witch my interest was far darker and much less mundane than it currently is (though I still tend towards the darkness). Back then I was perhaps closer to a Hedge Witch, more into crossing and pushing boundaries, contacting the other side, and mixing up poisons and potions (okay mixing those is also Hearth Witchery). I was also a healer. But sweep a floor? Ha! You’re crazy!
But Then I Had a Child
Obviously something changed in me and I did have a child when I was 21 years old. Cooking and cleaning, changing nappies (diapers), talking in non-existent baby languages became central to my existence. Then I had another kid and it got worse. Then I started homeschooling those kids, and then had another kid and….
Back when I had my eldest I was in that stage where I refused to use the witch label at all. Instead I was a Pagan, an Eclectic Pagan actually. At some point after having my son I began to label myself an Eclectic Domestic Pagan. The Domestic part is actually still part of my Paganism, I just don’t use it as a label any more. Essentially I used my domestic roles within my religious practice, I used my house as a sacred area and my domestic tools were my religious tools.
I learned of the term “Kitchen Witch” of course, but I didn’t like it very much at all. My role as a Pagan (but never a witch!) wasn’t limited to the kitchen so I couldn’t possibly be just a Kitchen Witch.
Finding The Hearth and the Witch
It was when I was around 24 years old, maybe 25 – I was on the Pagan Veil by this point anyway, and that was from 24 onwards – that I discovered the term “Hearth Witch” and learned what it meant. I fell in love with it right away, what a lovely label – it was the word “hearth” that really did it. It’s just a beautiful word.
I was resistant though, as I had trouble letting go of my spite for the witch label. But researching the label lead to me to the realisation that my Domestic Paganism was nothing more or less than Witchcraft. Sure it might also be Paganism, but it was most definitely Witchcraft no matter how I tried to avoid the word. I also realised how stupid I was being, I knew that witchcraft and Wicca were not the same thing, and the Wiccanate Witchcraft annoyed many other Pagans as well, so the grudge I was holding was just a wilful hindrance.
So I let go and embraced the label of Witch, Hearth Witch.
So Why Hearth Witch?
Whatever label I would choose, I am and have been for a long time, a Hearth Witch or Kitchen Witch or Domestic Witch. It’s something that just happened naturally – I never actually chose to infuse magic into my domesticity, it is something that I just did without thinking about it. I could deny the witch label all I wanted and still it is what I was and am.
So the why is simple, I am a Hearth Witch because that is simply what I am. There wasn’t really any choice in the matter, just a recognition and acceptance of what already was true. I mean, it’s not a normal person who prefers to sweep the carpet with a straw broom rather than use a vacuum cleaner.
Besides, hearth really is an awesome word and there is no such thing as an Inglenook Witch.