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Hearth & Home Witchcraft, by Jennie Blonde

Hearth & Home Witchcraft: Rituals and Recipes to Nourish Home and Spirit, by Jennie Blonde
Weiser Books, 1578637737, 211 pages, September 2022

A balm. A comfortable chair that offers you the ability to relax in order to dream, to conjure, to recharge. A friend, a companion, a motivator. This is what Hearth & Home Witchcraft: Rituals and Recipes to Nourish Home and Spirit by Jennie Blonde, the self-proclaimed “Comfy Cozy Witch”, was to me. I’m sure it will be the same for you.

Blonde succeeds in combining witchcraft for the hearth and home with hygge, the Danish and Norwegian lifestyle concept that translates loosely into “hug.” I’ve often written on the topic of hygge, so it was a quite “coincidence” to begin the book by reading how Jennie incorporated hygge into her practice to create something “comfy, cozy, and witchy.”1

This wonderful, informative book guides the reader into finding and practicing comforting and nourishing hearth and home magic for every season. As with hygge in general, one is asked to keep in mind that what is comforting and cozy to you may not be the same to another person. You are called to create a home and hearth that reflects you, that nourishes you, and comforts you. Jennie also reminds the reader that “everyone’s idea of comfort within witchcraft differs.”2

Blonde has been practicing witchcraft for over two decades. In addition to this book, she has a podcast called… you guessed it: Comfy Cozy Witch. She writes in a way that is both informative and casual; she writes as if we are sitting in her kitchen talking over a cup of tea. The book is “a blend of story-telling, witchcraft, and warmth…accessible to any witch, at any point of their journey. A book filled with information, personal anecdotes, rituals, spell work, and recipes to nourish yourself, nourish your home, nourish your spirit.”3

Hearth & Home Witchcraft is divided into seven sections, each focusing on places (hearth and home, kitchen, garden and nature), one’s self, and everyday rituals. Also included is a reference to the book’s rituals and recipes as well as a glossary of terms and references for future reading. The Wheel of the Year is detailed with corresponding delicious, easy to make recipes including mini bread loaves (Lughnasadh), honey butter (Imbolc), and sangria (Litha). The recipes ensure this is a book to keep out year-round.

Readers are introduced to the concept of choosing a household deity (if one feels so inclined) to work with. Blonde offers a few suggestions for household deities, such as Hestia, Vesta, and Brigid but leaves open to choice what resonates with the reader, noting it could also be a spirit of local lands of an animistic deity. There is a corresponding house goddess ritual too. 

There are also suggestions on ways to make one’s home both magical and homey, inviting and nourishing. There are magical cleaning tips, everyday magical items with which to “work,” and suggestions for making areas of your home both reflect and sustain you. Here Blonde focuses on the basic tenants of the home of a hearth witch:

“Hearth craft begins and ends in the home, there is a focus on cleanliness, there is positive nurturing energy with subtle touches of magic, and there is a respect for all of nature.”4

In turning one’s attention to the hearth, or kitchen, Jennie writes about the kitchen altar, herb and tea magic, as well as kitchen rituals for meditation and balance. There is a large focus on food and recipes, for as she writes, “the kitchen of a home is a place of gathering. Food, in and of itself, is magic.”5 Some of the ones I’ve tried so far are the pumpkin chocolate muffins and herby biscuits, which were both delicious.

Imagine tales in which the witches toil over a cauldron to create magic – Blonde helps the reader create similar magic in a modern kitchen with tried and true items such as tea, cinnamon, honey, and mint. There are sprays and rituals for things such as energy cleansing and lessening anxiety, which I made for one of my daughters. It was simple to make, yet I felt the potency of the mixture as I blended it together. So far, she’s loved the calming effects.

Blonde encourages the reader to set up one’s own sacred space – be it in the home itself or on the property surrounding the home. “A sacred space is personal in nature and the location varies depending on who you talk to.”6 One can engage in “witchy self-care” in these sacred spaces – ways to ground, relax, recharge, and reconnect. For extending the interior space to the natural world, there are tips for setting up a witch’s garden, and working with Fairies. I am especially looking forward to trying out the Ancestor Honoring Ritual for Samhain.

Overall, Blonde helps the reader identify ways to find “magic in the everyday things, no matter how big or small.”7 The biggest suggestion is to find time – no matter how small – to participate in one’s rituals. She reminds us to find the magic that surrounds us, and that “It isn’t the length of a ritual that matters, it’s the quality.”8  To settle into the magic so that it supports us, comforts us, grounds us and activates us, Hearth & Home Witchcraft is the book to read. It’s the small things we do with meaning that matter. I highly recommend this book to settle into the comfy, cozy routines of your life that make it magic.

Finding Home within the Heart of the Earth, by Eagle Skyfire

Finding Home within the Heart of the Earth: Creating a Harmonious Space with the Energy of the Earth, by Eagle Skyfire
Llewellyn Publications, 0738760067, 231 pages, November 2020

Finding Home within the Heart of the Earth: Creating a Harmonious Space with the Energy of the Earth by Eagle Skyfire felt more to me words to be practiced rather than a book to be merely read. It provides guidance to creating a “harmonious space” in your place of dwelling or working that works in concert with the earth’s energy. A trained shaman, Skyfire is well-positioned to share with the reader what she’s learned from Native American teachers with whom she’s trained – with their permission.  

To begin, Skyfire introduces the reader to the “Heart of the Earth” method, a way of living in harmony with the earth. The purpose of the book is to be a “hands-on, step-by step guide in order to enhance harmony, wellness, and overall greater sense of well-being in many environments.”1 To be clear, it is not a Native American interpretation of the Chinese practice of feng shui. Heart of the Earth is a system that Eagle developed which is a “synthesis of Native American spiritual principles and shamanic practices, current resources, wisdom gained from experiences in the field, and intuitive gifts.”2

I remember when I took Home Economics in high school (is that even still a part of secondary curriculum?) and the teacher advised us to always read the recipe in full before starting to cook or bake. It was a way to make sure that you had the correct ingredients and cookware and that you followed the steps in order to have the recipe turn out correctly. Just like my Home Economic’s teacher, Skyfire rightly recommends reading the book in its entirety to familiarize one’s self with the concepts discussed, the methods described, and the explanations behind the principles before beginning to incorporate the principles to design or re-design one’s space.While it was a bit challenging to hold off diving into the exercises, I did follow the advice. 

The book is divided into two parts. Part One is an introduction of basic concepts of why we need to connect with nature, universal Native American spiritual principles, energetic principles, and being aware of the lay of the land including physical features, human-made features, and nonphysical features. 

In this section, Skyfire encourages the reader to remember that we are children of the earth mother, that we are affected by the cycles of the seasons, and that feeling the “current of sacred energy and the cycles of natural time”3 is empowering. I recommend taking one’s time in reading Part One as there is a lot to digest and familiarize one’s self with, especially if one is new to these concepts, such as the Good Red Road and the Seven Arrows, as I was. These concepts form the basis of actually creating one’s space that is the focus of Part Two. 

Especially meaningful to me in Part One was absorbing what Eagle wrote about understanding that there is an energetic landscape that surrounds us, which we inhabit. Attitude and core beliefs play roles in how we view ourselves and the world. Change is the only constant in our lives as is true with nature. It’s easy to notice the physical landscape that surrounds us, but idea of an energetic landscape that one could tap into… of course! Why hadn’t I ever made this connection of the existence of an energetic landscape? I was aware of the energy contained within a physical space like a home or office – but not to an energetic landscape per se. 

This section also contained exercises to facilitate connecting with one’s inner child, remembering what made us excited and lit us up! She writes that “in order to know what you want to create for your well-being, you must understand yourself better.”4 This was a fun exercise to do – but also very revealing as to how far I’ve strayed from what truly excites me, buried beneath reason and adult obligations. Another exercise asks the reader to reflect on what truly makes you happy, discerning whether this happiness comes from one’s heart or mind.  Also exercise shared in Part One I enjoyed is the Waterfall Meditation, which I found very relaxing, receiving sacred Power in my heart and returning it to the earth, much like the cycle of water

My favorite chapter in Part one was the Lay of the Land in which Skyfire write about natural elements such as bodies of water (above and below the ground), trees (my favorite) and wildlife, stones, and crystals, and the air. She opens our eyes to man-made surrounding that the effects they have, such as buildings, roads, power lines, parks, and graveyards. Nonphysical features include sacred ancestors of the land, nature spirits, and one’s own sacred ancestors. Part One increased my awareness of my surroundings, made me look deeper within, made me look higher up, and below the surface, made me listen, and see, and feel energy.

Part One concludes with a guide to looking at the indoor features where one lives or works – the layout of rooms, whether they are serving their purpose (for example, is the bedroom relaxing?), and whether they are clutter free. Taking stock of the spaces, actually taking a physical inventory of what the spaces hold, and then identifying if the space is serving one’s needs was a much-needed eye-opener.

Part Two covers the actual creation of one’s space based on the evaluations taken in Part One using the Heart of the Earth method. There is a lot of information covered such as “the qualities of each of the directions…and the function of each room in relation to the five elements.”5 Ultimately, one will “learn how to set the Heart of your place, which sets the energetic tone and maintains the health of your home or workplace.”6

Eagle asks the reader to understand how one’s core beliefs provide a “framework of energy that causes people and things to be attracted to you”7 and that understanding your core beliefs is necessary to designing your space. She encourages one to “work with your nature and not against it. You need to embrace yourself for who you are and from that choose what you need in order to thrive.”8

Part Two offers “the necessary information to see what you are working with in order to build your space in harmony with your own desires, as well as those of the land you are on.”9 To realize that we are not separate from our surroundings and that our needs or wants do not supersede that of the earth mother is vital. The steps outlined involve notetaking, use of a compass, and organization. As Eagle points out, some of the initial steps are “tedious” as one advances to the more enjoyable activities that incorporate creativity.

Topics covered include “gridding” one’s space, use of color and light, how to set the energy of a space, and decluttering. To be most effective, one should do all of the steps and exercises. And, if you are feeling overwhelmed or out of your element with the concepts, I recommend taking a pause. Give yourself time to digest what is being asked of you – and then carry on. I found the need to take breaks and re-group before proceeding with the next step. As Rome wasn’t built in. day, please don’t expect to be able to absorb and then accomplish everything that the book offers in one reading or in a finite amount of time. Give yourself latitude and you will make great strides. It’s been about a week of me actively shifting this energy, and I’m only getting started.

The Heart of the Earth method is truly an agent of change. I highly recommend Finding Home within the Heart of the Earth as a way to bring “abundance, peace, and contentment”10 to your spaces. It puts you in harmony with “nature and your Sacred Self.”11 It can sometimes be a heavy carry to understand and absorb the concepts and principles outlined. The self-centered exercises are beneficial and if one is truly honest with one’s self, they will put you on the path of creating beneficial spaces. The steps provided to work with one’s space that involve instruments such as a compass or grid might take time and dedication. But all in all, the Eagle’s Heart of the Earth method offers the reader a path to harmony, peace, and abundance.