Yeah…Yeah…I’m still here, I know I’ve been a bit quiet lately but I’ve been somewhat distracted! We have been looking for a new home since around August 2015 and finally being able to buy a house of our own, the time to move on and out of rented couldn’t come soon enough, however the quest has been a long and arduous one…I was starting to think the holy grail would be easier to find!
However, by the spirits good graces (and special thanks to St Joseph) we have at last found our new house and all being well, in a few months we shall be moving from suburbia and settling into village life.
I’m sure it’s not just my cancerian sun speaking here but home is a special and magical place for me. The home is an extension of the Witch but also a point of convocation and a point of reference within the land. I have come to understand over the last few years that the home is as the compass round, with its four walls supporting its skyward pointing roof, its deep dark foundations all surrounding a central hearth, probably harking back to the days when houses were round with its central fire place where meals were cooked and the family gathered to eat, tell stories and bond with both the living and the dead. Homes were often built upon the bones of the dead, and later, homes were inherited and passed from parent to child through the generations, each home retaining the memories and absorbing a little of everyone who came before. Sadly the days when most people inherited their homes from their ancestors are long gone however, for most if not all Witches, the home remains an important focal point within the landscape where the spirits of the beloved dead can once again meet, guide and watch over the living. Whilst the hedgerows, stone circles, high windswept hills and dark brooding woodlands are vital places of power for me here in Kent, the hearth is just as vital, just as magical. Imagine you stand in the centre of your home; the home is also part of the community, town or village, itself surrounded by farmland which in turn is surrounded by wilderness. Like worlds within worlds, each concentric circle of ‘place’ has its special role to play in the practise of Witchcraft. It’s easy to assume that Witchcraft is just about getting out there into the wilderness, heading for the hilltops to work under the stars, buffeted by bracing winds, but the act of simple and quiet communion with the spirit of our own homes, our own families also has its place within old craft tradition. Whilst inside our homes we may be safe and secure from inclament weather but that doesn’t automatically mean isolated or separated from the land. This is not to say that being just a home body will achieve all ends for the Witch, but there is a time and place for everything. For me, the home is what gives the land context (and vice versa), often it is because our house is built upon and within a certain landscape which deepens our connection to it…home…it’s where the heart is.
Witches do and have always sought to exist on the threshold between the physical and spirit worlds and equal to the ancient hedge or ebbing shoreline, the home can be one such liminal place where the worlds intersect to such a degree that even the most insensitive of guests sense something other about the home they have stepped into, a sense of coziness, or perhaps hostility. Having looked at over 50 houses in the last few months I can say with some certainty that houses definitely have a life and soul of their own which both enhances and can be enhanced by the families dwelling within, for good or ill.
Because, just like the broader landscape, the home has its own spirits and its own persona, its own ‘genius loci’ which over time we get to know and can work with for all kinds of magical assists. The home represents protection, like our bodies, the bricks and mortar are really just the outer skin for the spirit that resides within. The home is where we eat, sleep, bathe, seek peace and solitude and can also be our temple, our working space where the Ancestors and Gods are called upon. It’s true that a house is just a material ‘thing’, a possession filled with other things and other possessions but, just like the Witch’s compass (and of course the actual Witch), the home can be something else, something deeper which goes far beyond the structure. There is a well documented tradition of hearth side witchery and many of the old cunning folk and ‘magical peddlers’ operated and traded from their own homes. I am instantly reminded of the many exhibits at The Boscastle Museum of Witchcraft, so many of which centre around the magical household.
Over the coming months I shall be writing a series of blogs around the Home Magical as I bid farewell to this one and settle into the new…emotional and exciting times ahead!