Still Learning ~ Keys and Incense

I spent most of yesterday meditating on keys. No surprise there since the key is one of the primary symbols of Hestia.

Some of you may know that I recently got a new tattoo on my arm of a key, to symbolize my devotion to Hestia.

The top part of the key, within the circle (the circle being the artistic liberty of DO who designs and applies all of my inkwork) is a symbol we found online connected to Hestia, representing the hearth-fire.

This is probably my most meaningful tattoo to date. I wanted it somewhere I could easily see it because it represents, not only my devotion to Hestia, but my devotion to my home and family as well as my path as a Kitchen Witch.

In my meditations yesterday, I asked myself what keys specifically symbolize to me.

I remember the very first key I owned as a child and that was a very small key that came with a diary I was given for Christmas one year. That key symbolized privacy and the keeping of secrets.

A common symbol of keeping a secret as a child was to mimic the turning of a key over your mouth and toss the key away.

The next key I owned was a key to my childhood home. If you’ve been following the Facebook page, you probably know I’ve been dreaming a lot about that house recently. Perhaps it’s because of the thinning of the veil, perhaps it’s because I’ve been thinking so much about keys, and that house was the first place I owned a key to. For me, that key symbolized maturity and sanctuary. I had been deemed “old enough” to be responsible for a key to “home”. I could never be locked out or denied entry.

Another key from my childhood that I did not own but that I had access to, and was very important to me, was a key to what we called “under the house”.

Not a basement  really. You couldn’t stand upright and the floor of it was dirt. It got smaller as you went deeper in. This was the home of the hearth fire. The furnace, with the pilot light that was forever going out when you opened the outside door or a gust caught the gap at the back porch just right. It was also home to my most prized possession, my bicycle.

That key symbolized both the freedom my bicycle offered and protection. The safe-guarding of my bike was my first lesson in protecting the things that mattered to me.

Moving through life, keys have been a sign of status, a symbol of protection, a representation of holding the key to someone’s heart (remember the necklaces that were a heart and key), a symbol of safety and security, and a symbol of secrets.

We only “lock up” things that matter to us, things we wish to protect. We lock our cars and homes to prevent theft, we lock our doors to protect ourselves and those we love.

We lock up anything of value, including ourselves and our hearts, sometimes.

I realized that keys have played a major role in my life since my earliest childhood memories.

I also took some time last night and this morning to study the making of incense (a study that is on-going), another thing that has held much meaning in my life.

I have a thing about smells, both good and bad. My mother had the nose of a bloodhound and was all about smells. I’m sure that’s where I get it from.

Some of my other early memories are of my mother obsessing over smells. I was what my family called a “yard child”. Growing up, we weren’t allowed to sit in the house all day like kids are now. I was also a tom-boy. One of my mother’s first commands was “go take a bath, you smell like sweat and yard” or if I’d been playing with someone’s pet “go take a bath, you smell like wet dog”. She could tell where I’d been and what I’d been doing with one sniff.

She was just as funny about house smells. She was forever cleaning and being in her twenties in the 70’s, she was always burning incense.

I grew up with incense, lava lamps and bead curtains, some of the things I still love.

Even I find it surprising that I never learned to make incense. I’m really not sure how that skill passed me by other than because of the ease of simply purchasing them nearly everywhere until recently.

However it once escaped me, I decided one of the things I wanted to include in the shop next year (and make for myself) was incense and I’ve made it my business to start researching it. It’s a good thing I started early because I’ve gotten rusty on some of the associations for things outside of my spice cabinet in the kitchen, so part of that learning curve will be to familiarize myself with those associations again.

It’s been busy, as you can tell. I’m realizing that it’s a blessing in some ways that I haven’t been able to jump head-first into the store. This time to think and plan may very well end up being the difference between success and failure for me.



All I had to do was ask…

Finances have been topping the list of “things we’d rather ignore” in the Lair, as of late. There have been mixed rumors about how long Draco’s overtime would last and the holidays are coming. The company will be closed 2 days for Thanksgiving and since Draco is currently a temp, he won’t get paid for them. Needless to say, it’s had me a little concerned.

This morning, out of the blue, Tiger calls me. Looks like we’re back in business. I’m so excited I can’t see straight.

Honestly, it couldn’t have come at a better time for us.

It takes so much worry off my mind as well as giving me something to do. Between this and the Etsy store, I might find myself working damn-near full-time, but doing things I enjoy rather than punching a clock.

Also, it gives me an excuse to spend more time with Tiger, who I have seriously missed since we moved out. Sounds like a win-win to me.

I’m not sure how much of an effect this will all have on my recent plans for blogging, if any, but I do still have a house to run in addition to any work I do as well as having time for myself, my hubby, my spiritual path and just general down-time. I suppose that part I will just have to play by ear.

As for now, I have to go do dinner prep because I have to pick up Draco in an hour.

All in all, I can seriously see Hestia moving through my life, helping me bring security to my home…and all I had to do was ask…


Taking a moment ~ Sunday Dump

Well, at least I can say I don’t feel as “out of whack” as I did a week ago. Not that life hasn’t been eventful. Quite the opposite.

I think I’m finally seeing the other side of the spiritual shift I mentioned before. For those who didn’t read my post on being passed around by deities, I basically got handed off from Hecate to Hestia this week.

Don’t fret, it really is a positive thing, although I think I may have panicked for a second.

This new connection is turning out to be a good match. My life holds enough similarities to Hestia to give us things in common, but she also embodies some traits that I don’t possess, but wish I did.

I haven’t quite figured out what vibe our relationship is going to take on (if it’s going to be more friends, teacher/student, Deity/Follower or parent/child…although I doubt the last one and suspect a combination of the first two).

As with any new relationship, I’m taking it slow. I feel that I’ve learned about all I can about her via resources. The rest, I will have to learn directly from her.

There isn’t much out there, that I could find, about working with Hestia directly, so I’m pretty much flying blind at this point (please, if you have worked with Hestia and have any information/advice/pointers to offer, I’m all “ears”).

My other relationships seem to be mostly working themselves out now, too. My spiritual stability obviously has a direct effect on the relationships in my life. I’d come to assume as much but this last shift seemed to prove it.

As for right now, I feel like I’m just trying to catch my breath.


How I became a Witch

When I began writing this post, it was with the intention of linking it to the Which Witch Blog Hop, but I soon realized that I’d never really told the story of how I found my path here and this post didn’t really address the topic of the hop, so it became a prelude to my blog hop post…

My name is Crystal and I’m a Hestia-following Kitchen Witch.

For those who are unsure what that means, let me explain.

I was going through a hard time in my life. My marriage had turned into a nightmare and we were divorcing. My ex-husband and his family were taking my only child and to say I was suffering a crisis of faith was an understatement.

I’d always known I was different. I’d never felt comfortable in main-stream religion. I’d always felt that I didn’t belong. I had an almost unnatural relationship with animals and nature. I sometimes saw, and often heard, spirits. Strange things seemed to follow me everywhere I went and I was shunned by my peers and adults alike.

In spite of all of that, I’d always been intensely spiritual, constantly seeking a connection with the Divine. Unlike the others in my life, I felt that connection most strongly when I was outside, not in Church.

After my marriage fell apart, I had a chance meeting with an old friend from high school. Her and her then-husband spent a lot of time listening to my drunken rambles about loss of faith and martial nightmares.

Eventually, she handed me a book I’d never seen before. The book was Wicca: A Guide for the Solitary Practitioner by Scott Cunningham. I was 20.

I’d never heard of Wicca. I’d never heard of paganism. I’d grown up in the Bible Belt of the south and it was 1995 (for those doing the math, I’ll be 40 on my next birthday).

I read that book cover to cover, then read it again. I knew before I finished it the first time that it was like something inside me stood up and applauded. It made sense in a way nothing else ever had. It didn’t take me long to begin identifying myself as a Wiccan.

I performed a self-dedication ritual and committed myself to my path and to the God and Goddess. I also began searching for others like me.

I don’t know what life was like for other Pagans, in other places, in the 90’s, but in the South, it was practically unheard of. If there were Covens, I couldn’t find them.

I resolved that alone or not, this was my path and I intended to heed the call of my heart.

In the years that followed, I found others here and there. Other solitaires that thought they were the only ones, too. We celebrated Sabbats together and I began to teach our children the path. I suppose in some ways, we were like a Coven, but there was no real structure, rarely did we practice together, it was just companionship for the most part.

The Wheel has turned many times since then. I’ve read many books by many authors. I’ve found more Pagans since then, especially since the internet has exploded.

I read a book back in the late 90’s on Magickal housekeeping and it resonated with me. I’ve never been one for involved and detailed rituals except for special occasions and that book helped me understand that for some, complex rituals aren’t necessary.

For some, like me, Magick and ritual are performed in everyday life without a bunch of bells and whistles being necessary.

My home is my temple and my kitchen is the heart of my home. The Greek Goddess, Hestia, and her brother Zeus, rule both with an occasional appearance from the Fey.

Loki, who is my husband’s patron God and a host of dragons, who are my husband’s totem spirits round out the mix.

I find that for me, elaborate rituals are unnecessary. I live Magick in everything I do from making dinner to sweeping the floor.

When I do find a need for a little something extra, I turn to my very simplistic use of candles, oils, herbs, incense and the moon. That’s pretty much it.

So, now you know how I became a Kitchen Witch and what it is I do in my practice.

Next week, I will be posting my response for the Which Witch Blog Hop which will give my answer to what makes a Witch, a Witch.


When “aha” feels more like”duh huh”

For the last three years, since the death of my mom, I’ve worked with Hecate. I was always a little uncertain about our relationship though. It always felt temporary and situational.

After 20 years as a Pagan, I admit, I’ve often despaired of ever finding a true patron, often wondering if I was meant to walk this life alone, without the spiritual bond with a deity that so many others seem to have.

I’ve been going through a lot of personal stuff lately that’s sometimes made focus on my spiritual path hard.

Recently, I’ve even felt as if I were starting over.

I’ve been an Eclectic for most of the years I’ve called myself Pagan, wandering from one path to another, one pantheon to another, never really feeling rooted or grounded. It’s often seemed that the only spiritual stability in my life was my love and passion for hearth and home. Keeping a Magickal household has always been very important to me.

Not having many social skills, I’ve always felt most comfortable at home. The world around me stressed me out at times to the point where I didn’t want to leave home. Home was safe, the world was not.

For those familiar with the Greek pantheon, some of this may be sounding familiar. I am familiar with the Greek pantheon and all of my life, the connection escaped me.

Yesterday, I had an epiphany of sorts. I crossed a huge hurtle with my childhood, my past and my relationship with my mother. As I crossed that hurtle, I could feel Hecate’s connection fading, almost as if she were saying goodbye.

Today, I’ve felt lighter in a lot of ways. Unburdened from my past, but also at loose ends from the absence of Hecate.

I made a lot of decisions today, most importantly, to refocus on my home and my family. To make those things a priority once again. I felt good for the decisions for the first time in a long time.

Tonight, I was reading and came across a name I was familiar with but couldn’t remember who she was. The name was Hestia.

I immediately started googling, wanting to know why suddenly my heart was pounding and my hands were shaking. Why it seemed like I could feel my soul sighing in relief.

It turns out, there’s not a whole lot of information on Hestia.

She was the first-born daughter of the Titans, Cronos and Rhea, sister to Zeus and the other Greek Gods and Goddesses. She was the last of Them to be regurgitated by Cronos, giving her the title of oldest and youngest (a position I hold in my own family associations), first and last.

She chose to remain unmarried and a virgin to keep the peace between two of the Gods who tried to court her. As a reward, Zeus gave her the keys to Olympus and charged her with caring for her family and their home.

She was quiet, unassuming, rarely leaving her home, and took pride in her responsibilities.

She is the patron goddess of hearth and home.

She offered refuge to those in need and although she was never patron of a particular city, she fostered a sense of community and fairness and she was honored with both communal and home hearth fires.

This sense of caring for home and family resonate strongly with me. I feel as if I have been honoring Hestia my entire adult life without knowing it.

I took some time to discuss all of this with Draco earlier. I was afraid that this instant and sudden connection with Hestia might be all in my head. I read him what information I could find (most of it is repetitive since she preferred to stay out of the lime-light, unlike her siblings). He began digging through one of his boxes while we talked and presented me with a key on a chain. He said he would get me a more decorative key later (this one is simply an old key we no longer remember what it goes to – I’ve long had an issue with throwing away keys and we often have a stash of them somewhere). Even though it is not the kind of key you would normally associate with sacred keys, it will always be special to me now.

Tonight as I wind down and prepare for bed, I feel a kind of inner peace that is foreign to me. I’m really not used to feeling at peace in my life. I give Hestia full credit for it. I feel as if her peace and calm are settling over my life and I feel extremely grateful.

My life is changing and it’s a welcome change. I feel as if I finally know where I’m going and what I’m doing.

I truly feel blessed.