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Gather Your Tools
1) Make a list of things you’d like to use in your practice. Go through your kitchen/home and check off the items on the supplies list that you have. Now look at the items you do not have and decide what you think you can substitute or do without and what you may have to buy or borrow. Once you have what you need, it may be a good idea to give everything a quick wash and put it all away in an organized manner.
2) Keep an eye out for your hearthstone, as this is a family symbol, you may want the family to join in on the hunt. Stones can be found or bought. A great place are aquarium stores that well sell large pieces of attractive stone, such as rose quartz, for a surprisingly low price.
3) Once you have your wooden spoon you may want to start preparing it to be made into a ritual kitchen tool. Make sure to wash and thoroughly dry it once you bring it home or dig it out of the kitchen drawer. You may want to find a special place to store it, or find a piece of fabric or a towel to keep it wrapped up in. You can start planning how you want to personalize it while still making sure it is a useable and washable working tool.
3) Once you have a plan for how you want to make your new spoon special, go for it!
4) You may bless, dedicate, or do anything you feel the need to do to help make your spoon special to you.
Ready Your Recipe Book
1) Find a book for your recipes and notes. Make it yours by beatifying it as you please. Do keep in mind that any book in the kitchen needs to be practical first and cool looking second! Once you are happy with it, take a picture (if you can) share it with us.
2) You may bless, dedicate, or do anything you feel the need to do to help make your Hearthcraft book special to you.
Creating a Kitchen Safety List
1) Make some time to sit down and think about what kind of kitchen safety procedures are necessary for your home. Do you have kids, pets, roommates, perhaps elderly family members in the home you have to think of? Do you have young people in the home that may be learning how to cook? Are you on your own?
2) Printout or write up a kitchen safety list that is right for your household, post it up in the kitchen or place it in your Hearthcraft book.
3) Fire safety: Make sure you add baking soda and such things to your shopping list if you do not have them.
4) Print out, or write up, a list of tips on how to deal with a kitchen fire and find a place to post it in your kitchen or in your hearth craft book.
6) Will you make any changes to how you operate in the kitchen now? Why?
Dressing Up the Kitchen
1) Have a look at the Green Living Tips and make a list of ones you already do, and ones you would like to try.
2) Make time this week to clean your kitchen and hearth.
3) Before you begin cleaning, and then again afterward, say the prayer in the lesson.
4) Don’t just clean psychically; make a point of trying to clean out the negative energies in your home as well.
5) Give smudging your home a try, especially mirrors and windows.
6) Make a list of things you can do to make your kitchen more welcoming and comfortable.
7) Start planning and doing the little things you can to make your kitchen feel like a more special place.
Finding the Ancient Hearth in a Modern Home
1) Have a walk through your house, look at the places you find yourself the happiest in. Spend sometime in each area thinking about the good memories you associate with that area.
2) Choose what shall be your hearth. Is it the stove, the fireplace, a corner of the bedroom?
3) Begin planning how you want to signify that your chosen hearth is special.
4) Begin planning for your kitchen shrine. Think about any difficulties and ideas you may have. Perhaps you share a kitchen or need help keeping the cat off the shelf? Will your shrine need to be in a box and brought out when need, or can it become a permanent fixture in your home?
5) Gather some small items, like family mementos and items with sentimental value, go through them and select a few for your hearth shrine.
Gods in the Kitchen
1) Read through the list of household gods; are there any that spark some interest in you? Are there any hearth, home, family gods we missed?
2) If you do have a patron god or pantheon already, wonderful. If not, perhaps you should take some time to do further research into household gods and see if you may wish to honor one of them in your kitchen.
3) You do not need to be elaborate nor poetic to speak to a household deity. Next time you are home alone, strike up a conversation, out loud, with your chosen deity. Discuss chores and things about the home.
4) Once you have your shrine set up, you may want to make an offering to your chosen god. Milk and bread are common offerings. Ask for nothing in return, sometimes we forget to give with expecting a return.
Inviting Household Spirits
1) Think long and hard about whether you wish to invite a household spirit into your home. If you do, what kind would you want to invite?
2) Do you feel that there may be some sort of spirit in your home, or may have experienced something like that?
3) We will not be expecting you to invite a brownie right off the bat! Instead, once you have your shrine set up you may choose instead to pay respects to your ancestors. It is okay of you do not know who they might be etc, we all share common ancestors if you go far back enough, so you can think of them in terms of humanities ancestors of you are more comfortable with that.
3a) Once you have your shrine set up, start leaving something small in the dish ever night for the next week, and then once a week after that. A single cookie, a cracker, a cup of milk, a dinner roll, etc. When you do so, stop for a minute to ground and center.
3b) Then, speaking out loud if you can, say the words “This little offering I give freely to those who came before me, my/the ancestors who watch out for me.”
3c) Each morning remove the item and dispose of it with respect. Giving it back to the land is best if possible, but basically the spirit of the offering will likely have been taken and its no longer needed.
1) Make your shrine!
2) Once you are happy with your shrine, you may also want to invite any gods, ancestors and spirits as well and re-affirming your invitation to the hearth flame as well.
3) Then ask the invited parties to witness the blessing of your altar.
4) Smudge it with incense and sprinkle it with salted water. Saying in turn it is bless by Fire and Air, by Earth and Water.
5) Say a few personal words about your intentions to make your home a more magickal and spiritual place.
6) Say the words “This shrine is blessed!” with will and intent and joy.
7) Thank the invited entries and bid them farewell but not goodbye.
8) Allow the candle to burn itself out if possible.
9) Now do your best to spend a little time every day, even if its just a minute here and there, to stop and stand before your shrine. Think about what it means to you. If you have a patron or are searching for one, now is the time to acknowledge this with a few heartfelt words.
10) It is time to choose your hearthstone and to begin planning how you are going to decorate it. You will be painting or otherwise marking your hearthstone with a chosen symbol. Something that is personal, symbolizes your home, family and ancestors. A family crest, Clan motto or even a few chosen runes are all good ideas.
It’s the little things that count
1) Take a minute or two before each meal, either before you eat or before you cook, to thank the plants and animals for their sacrifice.
2) Say a blessing before each meal, even if it’s only a few words in your head.
3) Spend a little time thinking about where your food comes from, and if you could be a little more ethical and Earth friendly in your shopping practices.
Correspondences: Figuring it Out For Yourself
Many years ago, people had no microscopes or laboratories to tell them what to use a certain plant for. They relied on shamanic practitioners and their own daring to discover the properties and uses of the plant life that grew around them. Here is an exercise to help you see what it must have been like for early humans learning about our world.
1) Choose one culinary herb, your choice, fresh if possible but dried is fine. It will be best if you choose a herb you do not know much about, just head on over the grocery or fresh greens shop and choose a bundle of fresh (or dried) herbs that strikes your fancy.
2) You will want your notebook handy. Take a moment to clear your mind and relax. Gently touching the herb, feel free to say any prayer, blessing or charm in gratitude for this gift from the earth. Now take some of the herb in your hands and close your eyes.
3) Breath slowly and deeply until you are relaxed. Try to turn as much of your focus and attention on the herb. With respect, ask the herb to share with you its nature, it’s energies, its purpose. Be still and calm and just let any feeling impressions and such drift across your consciousness for a while. Remember to keep your attention focused on the herb. Write down any thoughts, feelings and impressions you have about the herb.
4) Put some of the herb in your hand and just look at it for a few minutes. Go ahead and write single words, anything that goes through your mind about the herb. Feel free to draw if your are an artist.
5) Spend sometime considering what the lifecycle of this plant must be, where it might like to grow, what sort of soil it would prefer?
6) Rub a few leaves against your cheek and through your fingertips. Write down any thoughts, feelings and impressions you have about the herb.
7) Now smell the herb a few times, taking slow deep breaths. Pinch some and rub it between your fingertips as you smell. How would you describe the smell? Any feelings associated with the smell, or when breathing in the herb’s scent?
8) Put some of the bruised herb on your tongue, and move it around your mouth. Focus on how it tastes. (You can rinse your mouth and spit it out if you want) How would you describe the taste? Any feelings associated with having the herb in your mouth?
9) Crush some of the herb and mix it with a small amount or warm water. Mix into a paste. Now rub that paste on the inside of an elbow. Leave there for as long as you like (at least a few minutes), and concentrate on that area with the herbs on it. Then wipe off. Feel your skin there, your energies there. Write down any thoughts, feelings and impressions you have.
10) Boil a small amount of water and then add your chosen culinary herb to the water, making a tea. You can use a tea ball or some such thing, or just let a small amount of the herb float in the cup. Once the tea is steeped, drink it. Going through the same observations, as before, how does it taste, would it be better with honey or sugar? Would you ever drink it again? Write anything down.
11) Thank the herb for sharing its lore with you as its last act. With the remnants, you may eat them, compost them, give the back to the land in some way, make incense etc…
12) Can you find it growing or planted anywhere? From your backyard, to the woodland outside the city, to a planter in a garden store …
13) Now go and research this herb! Compare what you felt in the exercise with what you discover as you research.
It’s Okay to Have Cheat Sheets
1) Pick 1 to 3 herbs, fruits, veggies (etc) and some research on them. Find out a few magickal correspondences, or perhaps some healing properties, maybe a bit of folklore. And share with the class, so everyone can benefit. Here are a few suggestions, but you can choose any food that strikes your fancy: Salt, pepper, sugar, honey, rosemary, vinegar, sage, oregano, orange, milk, dill, beans.
2) Set aside a section of your hearth book for any “cheat sheets” or lists of food properties and info. This will be a great resource for later.
3) Add the list below to your book:
Spice Rack Magick by Ana Hawthorn
Allspice – Healing, Luck, Prosperity, Winning a discussion
Almond – Prosperity, Abundance, Treasure, Wisdom Anise- Protection and Cleansing, and for Ancestral meals
Arrowroot – To bind things together or to make a relationship ‘gel’
Basil – Sort of all purpose drawing Love, Money, Protection and even Exorcisms
Bay Leaf – Increase Psychic Abilities, Healing, Protection, Increase Power
Caraway – Increases powers of Protection, Health and for Lust
Cardamom – Aphrodisiac properties and for Love
Celery – Increase your psychic powers and to induce Lust
Chamomile – To bring Peace, to open one to Possibilities, Sleep, Love, Money
Cinnamon – Almost all-purpose used for Healing, Success, Psychic work, Protection, Love and Lust
Clove – To get rid of what you don’t want, and to bring you riches in Love and Money
Coriander – used to induce Lust, to Heal headaches and to increase Intelligence
Cumin – To Keep what is yours- whether a person or an object, Peace of mind
Curry – Protection against evil influences
Dill – for Increase with either Money or Lust and to turn away Jealousy over prosperity
Fennel – Warding of evil spirits and ill health
Fenugreek – Money and attraction
Garlic – Protection (of- course!), Exorcisms, and Healing
Ginger – Abundance of what you wish for in all matters Lemon- Cleansing, Love and Healing
Lovage – to increase your Attractiveness
Mace – To increase the powers of the mind
Marjoram – All-purpose- Love, Money, Happiness, Protection, Healing
Nutmeg – To induce Lust, also for Money and Luck
Onion – Healing, Purification, Protection and Money
Orange Peel – Happiness, for seeking answers and for Abundance
Oregano – Money, Abundance
Parsley -To get rid of negativity and to induce Lust
Pepper, Black – Protection and Exorcisms
Pepper, Red (Ceyenne, Chili, etc.) – Hex- breaking, Issues of Fidelity nd ove, Lust
Peppermint – Increasing the abilities of the mind, Healing, Love, Sleep
Rosemary – Purification, Love and all Mental/Magickal Workings
Saffron – Strength of the Mind, Love and Lust, Power
Sage – Purification, Healing, Wishes, Contact with long lost friends, Wisdom
Sorrel – Healing
Thyme – Health, Mental Powers, Courage, Love, Purification
Turmeric – Purification
Vanilla – Love and Lust, Mental abilities
Need some ideas of what sort of info to look for? Below is a list of suggestions, you can go as in depth as you’d like. A good place to start is just by putting the chosen food and the info you want such as “Peach parts used” or “Rice Cultivation” into a search engine.
Botanical or Scientific Name:
Genus and Species:
Type (tree, flower, herb etc):
Climate and Habitat:
Places Commonly Found:
Places I have Found In Wild:
Safety and Warnings:
Aromatherapy and Essential Oil:
Mythology and Folklore:
And an example below (you do not have to go to quite such thorough extremes as myself) feel free to add to your hearth book or your herbal (or both):
JuniperCommon Name: Juniper (common)
Botanical or Scientific Name: Cupressaceae Juniperus communis
Other Names: Western Juniper, Rocky Mountain Red Cedar, Dwarf Juniper, Mountain Common Juniper, Old Field Common Juniper (there are many names, for many species of Juniper)
Genus and Species: Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae.
Type: An evergreen coniferous shrubby tree of the cypress family. There are many, many different junipers in the world.
Physical Description: A wide and low tree with an irregularly rounded crown. A knotty, twisted trunk. Often has a “bonsai” look to it. Can be a small tree or a low shrub.
Needle (leaf): Small (1/8 inch), scale-like and tight against the branches. Backsides of needles bear inconspicuous glands. Pale, yellowish green when young, greyish-green, green or blue-ish when mature. Appear in pairs, overlapping but covering the twig in four rows.
Form: Small tree or large shrub; shape is variable but often short with a round crown.
Size: Rocky Mountain Juniper can reach 13 metres in height
Flower: Dioecious; both male and female flowers are small (1/8 inch) and occur at branch tips; males oblong and females nearly round. Males are nearly yellow, females greener.
Fruit: Round, bluish berry-like cones (1/3 inch in diameter), covered in glaucous bloom, mature in two seasons. Green when young, bright to dark blue with a whitish bloom when mature, located at the ends of the branches
Twig: Covered in green scale-like needles, later turning light brown.
Bark: Thin and quite scaly with long narrow ridges, reddish brown but turns gray when aged and weathered.
Wood: Reddish colour, hard, durable, fine-grained, often knotty, distinctive “cedar-ish” odour.
Climate and Habitat: Rocky canyon bottoms, dry rocky southern facing ridges, and along lakeshores and streambeds. Rocky Mountain juniper often occurs in pure open groups of trees, but it can occur mixed with ponderosa pine on south and west facing slopes, or with Douglas fir on north and east facing slopes.
Soil Preference: Dry rocky or sandy soils
Places Commonly Found: Juniper grows wild throughout the northern hemisphere.
Places I have Found in Wild: Okanagan Valley, BC. Near Jasper, Alberta. Traveling through Kansas, Colorado, Utah, Washington and Oregon.
Parts Used: All but roots
Poisonous Parts: n/a
Safety and Warnings: Juniper is an irritant, and best used with other, more soothing herbs, and should not be used during pregnancy or when suffering from a kidney disease or infection. People with asthma and breathing conditions may not want use it in incense. Handling the needles can cause a slight irritation of the skin, allergic reactions are common, as such they are not recommended as Yule Trees.
Bouquet: Peppery, woody, almost fruity, some people claims its smells like cat piss, and others say it smell of violets. Fragrant and flowery, combining the aromas of gin and turpentine.
Flavour: Bittersweet and peppery with some pine flavour
Magickal Gender: Masculine
Celestial Bodies/Zodiac: Sun
Sabbats: Samhain, Yule
Medicinal Uses: Juniper is primarily used in the treatment of urinary tract infections such as cystitis and urethritis. It is a useful remedy for gastric conditions and gastrointestinal infections, inflammations and cramps. The bitter action aids digestion and relieves flatulent colic. Juniper is often used in the treatment of rheumatism, arthritis and gout. Applied externally, the diluted essential oil penetrates the skin to help relieve joint and muscle pain and neuralgia. It warms the tissues by encouraging blood flow.
Medicinal Actions: Antiseptic and diuretic properties, improving digestion, stimulating the uterus and reducing inflammation. Diuretic, increasing the elimination of acid metabolites; urinary antiseptic, carminative, stomachic, antirheumatic, uterine stimulant, anti-inflammatory.
Magickal/Ritual Properties: Protection, love, purification, underworld, manifestation, and prevention of theft.
Aromatherapy and Essential Oil: Clears the mind and is a good detoxifier, especially of uric acid, making it an excellent choice for treating arthritis, rheumatism and gout. The scent and heavy smoke is excellent for creating a ritual mindset.
Culinary Uses: The berries are used to flavour pickling brine, sauerkraut, stuffing’s, game, ham and pork. Juniper extracts are used to flavour gin, beer and liqueurs. Traditionally used by Native Americans, and by Ancient Europeans as a famine food.
Cultivation: The berries are harvested in the autumn of their second year when they are bluish-black in colour.
Preparation: Juniper berries are at their best when they are still moist and soft to the touch, squashing fairly easily between one’s fingers. They should be dried carefully to preserve the volatile oil. The fresh berries can be made into a syrup. It is possible to make a purée from juniper berries or to extract the flavour and aroma by macerating them in hot water, but as all parts are edible and the texture is agreeable, it is usually just as well to use the entire fruit, split or crushed.
Storage: I have found air drying on a screen and storing in a glass jar is most effective for both berry and needle. Whole branches are stored in a paper bag or wrapping to catch the dried needles as they fall off. The plain wood stores just fine on a shelf in a dry room.
Mythology and Folklore: It is said that ‘he who cuts down a juniper will die within the year’. Planting a juniper by the front door discourages thieves. There are some theories and myths connecting juniper to the world tree. Juniper was burned in the Middle Ages to ward off Plague.
Constituents: Contains phenolics, flavonoids, catechol tannins and polysaccharides, as well as an essential oil which contains a- and b-pinenes, sabinene, limonene, terpinen-4-ol, borneol, geraniol and sesquiterpenes.
Other Uses: Carving, cooking, disinfectant, air freshener, in sweat houses, smoking hides, tea, cooking. Juniper branches were a popular strewing herb.
Other Notes: Juniper often develops massed outgrowths of branches called Witches’ Brooms. Makes great bonsai. A personal favorite of mine, Rocky Mountain Juniper grows all over my area. I like to use it in smudge bundles with cedar, lavender and sage.