The Joy of Kitchen Altars

The Joy of Kitchen Altars February 23, 2020

The kitchen is the hearth center of the home, a place where we spend lots of energy, time and magick. It’s a place of creation, comfort and security. Whether your kitchen is more of a pit stop on the way to the living room, or the center of your home, the kitchen remains a focal point in most cultures. It is where we make our coffee and tea, prepare our meals, and stare in wonder at our refrigerator, opening the door several times, waiting for food to appear (do you do that, too?) For witches especially, it is a place of creation and magical intentions.

Photo by Lisa Wagoner

For many of us, there are fond memories of times spent with grandparents, making some sort of meal, and sitting around the table, cozily chatting. For myself, I have so many memories of my grandmother cooking and baking, followed up by sitting at her table, regaling us with her memories and spirited conversation. Even my mother, not the best of cooks (she didn’t inherit my grandmother’s skills and was a resentful cook) loved making a huge pot of a meal, satisfying all of us momentarily, as we nosily chatted around the table.

I recently rediscovered the joys of kitchen altars when I moved in with my partner. This kitchen is much more spacious than my little apartment one, and cooking is more often an event now, rather than a hurried make-do repast. It brings to mind all the kitchens of my youth, which I associate with the sights and smells of family, home and comfort. Growing up, I remember little kitchen altars, and both my mom and grandmother had kitchen witches, as was customary in our German-Austrian heritage. Theirs usually consisted of a cutting board, some salt, an herb sprig or two in a jar, and other assorted kitchen knick-knacks and photos.

I’ve tinkered with a few these last few weeks, and have discovered they all share similar elements that I feel are important for kitchen witchery.

Nature: Some sort of sprig or greenery is always on my altar. Reminds me of the world outside, and is a joy on gloomy, rainy days.

Candle: For light and warmth. I tend to avoid scented candles, but I have enjoyed a rosemary and sea salt candle I was gifted. Candles are always a cozy accompaniment to cooking.

Salt: Salt is life. It is the most basic form of earthiness I can imagine, and is grounding.

Symbol: Whether a card from one of my decks, or a goddess statue, I love the representation of my spirituality in the kitchen.

Mortar and pestle: Not only useful for grinding herbs, it is a symbol of pride, and reminder of the love and healing energy I like to put into my cooking. It is a visual reminder of my intentions, and never fails to bring a smile to my face.

Food: I always have a bulb or two of garlic and a few onions available, as they are the basis is most of my cooking. If there are certain herbs you always use, add those. I also love the many uses of bay leaves, so will usually add a leaf or two as well.

Do you have a kitchen altar? What items do you have on yours? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

 


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  • Cindy Cummings

    This is the first time that I have heard about a kitchen altar. You have given me something new to consider. Thank you. ***Cindy***

  • “both my mom and grandmother had kitchen witches” I think you mean “altars”?

    +1 for the garlic, though, love it and will cook with three entire bulbs or so in an hour or so…

  • Amy Meert

    A kitchen witch is like a little witch doll on a broomstick that you keep in the kitchen. The kitchen witch is supposed to ward against cooking mistakes and other mishaps in the kitchen. Sometimes they’re made out of corn husks, sometimes they’re made of cloth with little painted or stitched faces. Check it out on google.

  • Oh indeed, these seem to be part of folk culture in parts of Germany: https://www.dregeno.de/figuren/mehr/kuechenhexe-auf-besen-geschnitzt-zum-haengen-25058

    As this surprised me during reading, maybe the wording in the article could be updated, at least by a footnote reference or something?

    Turned out to become four entire bulbs of garlic, by the way. But my guests *loved* it!

  • turtlewoman1039

    Looks like a charming idea –

  • Lisa Wagoner

    Thanks for letting me know, Cindy! Send me a photo when you get yours done.

  • bonmots

    No, kitchen witches are usually a decoration, and altars are a specific place. A kitchen witch can certainly be part of the altar, however! They were usually hung up somewhere. With you on the garlic! So beneficial for your health as well.

  • bonmots

    Thanks! Do you have one?

  • bonmots

    A footnote about kitchen witches? Not sure I understand.