The Cauldron- Sacred Symbol & Tool of the Witch

What comes to mind when you see a cauldron? Witches casting spells, a bubbling potion, or perhaps a hearty stew cooking over a fire? The cauldron is historically both a very mundane and mystical object that continues to be a powerful symbol of many things. It is one of my favourite tools as a Witch and a representation of my practice and path.

In celebration of The Cauldron Goddess’ birthday month (we are one year old!), I thought I’d share a bit about my own reflections and experiences with the cauldron- as a symbol and sacred tool of the Witch.

The Hearth & Cooking

At its most mundane, the cauldron is a cooking pot. A staple of our ancestors far and wide, this portable and durable vessel has served humanity for generations, providing nourishment, and sustaining life.

The pot cooking over the fire conjures deep memories of comfort, warmth, family, and home. It is for this reason that the cauldron is a strong symbol of the hearth. For nomadic peoples, I imagine the cauldron felt like an anchor of home while on the move. For those rooted to place, the cauldron held a central position to the home and served as faithful provider of nourishment and comfort.

The cauldron is the container where raw, unintegrated ingredients come together to create something delicious and sustaining for our work and growth. Cooking may seem very mundane yet cooking always involves a transformation of energy and materials. There is creative energy and magick weaved into the process.

Cooking has historically been deemed ‘women’s work’ because of its nurturing and domestic properties. Patriarchy has devalued these qualities and therefore the healing or magickal aspects of cooking are less valued than its artistic or competitive forms. There are currently so many competitive cooking shows taking centre stage, that it almost seems that for this ‘woman’s work’ to be valued, it must fit into the capitalistic/patriarchal paradigm, along with other art forms that have become more about competition than soul-nourishment and love.

There’s nothing wrong with refining one’s skills, of course. But, I suppose I think of cooking as something soulful, as our original magick, the mother of all rituals and witchcraft. It is where one thing becomes another and serves to heal and nourish us. We can add intentions, prayers, healing herbs and energy medicine into our culinary creations. There is power in the cauldron. It is here where we can connect the cauldron to the Witch.

The Witch

The Witch is the one who nourishes and sustains life, who heals and transforms, who makes magick and serves their family and community.

Healing and Witchcraft are deeply intertwined. Through history, the village Wise Woman was the healer and midwife everyone would call on when ill or in labor. With the influence of patriarchy, colonization and modern medicine, folks who followed the old ways, the Wise Woman ways were punished, ostracized or even killed. They twisted the healing, life sustaining Wise Woman into something evil, a repulsive and fearful death-bringer or spirit of chaos- a ‘Witch’ in the negative sense of the word. Yet the Witch is and always was simply a Healer. The word Witch is connected to ‘wit’ and wisdom, implying that witches were also sacred knowledge keepers.

Women’s power as healers and community leaders has been diminished over centuries and we are still in the process of reclaiming this power within ourselves. For me, using the cauldron is one way that I reclaim my power as Witch and Healer.

The cauldron remains a powerful symbol of healing and witchcraft to the modern psyche. Since we don’t use cauldrons much anymore, it also represents something ancient and mysterious from the past. We associate it with spells, potions, witches and some other mysterious things related to the sacred feminine…

The Womb & Creativity

The cauldron can be seen as representing the Mother energy. It contains, nourishes, sustains, and protects the creation within it. The pagan chant ‘one thing becomes another, in the mother, in the mother’ is one of my favourites to chant over my cauldron as I make a brew or do a spell. The cauldron is resonant with the womb, as a vessel of nourishment and protection of new life.

Within our womb space, in our pelvic bowl lies the energy of creation. Our sensual, sexual energy and our creative ‘flow’ stem from here, whether or not we have a physical womb. Those of us with wombs can also physically carry life here.

The pelvic bowl is very much like our own physical cauldron which holds our creative power.

An Embodied Cauldron Practice

In the Irish bardic poem, ‘The Cauldron of Poesy’, three internal cauldrons found within the body are referenced. The Cauldron of Warming, the Cauldron of Motion, and the Cauldron of Wisdom. I created my own personal grounding practice with these 3 cauldrons, even before I had heard of this poem, so I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered it.

The Cauldron of Warming sits within our pelvic bowl, where our creative ‘fuel’ resides. I like to think of this cauldron sitting within my pelvic bowl with its 3 legs energetically reaching to the earth like roots from my sitz bones and coccyx. I meditate on this cauldron, imagining its contents as fluid creative energies within me. I notice if they are stagnant, clouded, toxic or flowing, vibrant and well. I feel my connection the Earth Mother and imagine that healing energy flowing through my cauldron. I chant ‘oooohhh’ here, while connecting to the energies of the land. Chanting helps to transmute any negative energies.

The Cauldron of Motion sits in the heart centre. Here, we experience what ‘moves’ us, such as art, poetry, music, love, relationships, sorrow, and grief. I imagine this cauldron’s legs energetically connected to the cauldron below it, and its contents fluid again. Ideally, the energies flow clearly and vibrate with love. Chanting helps to transmute the energy. I chant ‘eeeeee’ here while connecting to the energies of water and sea. The combination of ‘ooohhh’, ‘eeee’ and ‘oooo’ sounds are one way to connect with the Awen- the Divine inspiration that flows through all life.

The Cauldron of Wisdom sits within or atop the head, and I imagine it open, facing upward to the skies above as a direct link to Spirit and the Awen- the divine inspiration that flows through all life. I imagine it receiving inspiration from above and its contents are the energy of flowing light. I imagine my thoughts cleared and stagnant energy released. Through this meditation I become a channel for the Awen, for divine inspiration, for the healing energy of the goddess Cerridwen- my matron goddess to come through. I chant ‘oooo’ here to transmute the energies.

Doing this practice helps me to become a channel for creative energies on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels.

Cerridwen- The Cauldron Goddess Herself

Cerridwen is one of the main goddesses I work with, and she is the classic Witch from Welsh myth. I share her story and some of my thoughts on it here. Cerridwen is famous for her cauldron in which she brews a potion of Awen- divine inspiration and knowledge for her ugly son, Afagddu, for whom she wants a better life. The potion takes a year and a day to complete. After all this hard work it accidentally ends up going to a servant boy, Gwion, who through a process of initiation and transformation becomes the most inspirational of bards, Taliesin.

Cerridwen’s cauldron is important because her role is that of Wise Woman, Witch, Healer and Mother. Her cauldron is like an extension of herself.

When her potion went to the wrong boy, Cerridwen was quite angry her spell went awry. The cauldron cracked and broke, turning the potion to poison. Its breaking could symbolise Cerridwen’s emotions, or a forced breaking of her old self and initiation to a new level of spiritual growth. It could represent the laws of magick being broken, or the appearance of fate taking over.

Cerridwen is also an initiatrix of change and transformation. Not only does she push Gwyion to become more than he ever thought he could be, but she too, is transformed in the process.

There is much symbolism in Cerridwen’s story- about power, fate, the wise use of magick and the emotional intensity of motherhood. The cauldron can represent any of this as well.

Transformation & Rebirth

I think of the cauldron as symbolic of the transformational events in our lives. Those challenging times where we must change or be changed. Those times where we must surrender to a power greater than us to carry us forward. When we must let go of who we are to become who we are meant to be. The cauldron is like a crucible- an agent of change, transformation and rebirth. What goes in comes out as something new.

Can you think of a time in your life where you underwent deep internal changes that left you feeling like you died and were reborn? That’s a cauldron experience. I think these can also be felt as smaller and less dramatic as well, like when we are pushed out of our comfort zone and make changes to adapt.

I feel like I am undergoing some kind cauldron experience most of the time, in at least one area of my life. Some cauldron experiences are slow boiling and take time, like Cerridwen’s brew, for a year or several. Others are more fast-acting and short term.

Some cauldron life experience examples are: Undergoing an intense course or learning program where you learn new skills and change as a person; Becoming a mother or a parent; Losing a loved one and your sense of self being changed from the loss; Divorce or separation; Becoming ill; Healing from illness; Being in a relationship that tests you; Moving to a new place; Changing Careers, etc.

One thing about the cauldron is that what goes in comes out differently, in a new form. Our transformational experiences remake us anew. We are not meant to stagnate or stay the same forever.

The cauldron is the mother that pushes us to grow and become who we have the potential to be. She is also that safe container who enables us to be vulnerable while the change is happening.

I explore the relationship between the cauldron and holding safe space for healing & transformation in this post.

How to use the Cauldron as a Witch’s tool

The cauldron may not be used in everyday cooking anymore, but we can use it as a magickal tool to enhance our own personal healing and transformation. Cauldrons come in every size, from large dinner-size cauldrons to tiny purse-size cauldrons. I love them all. Here are a few ways I like to use them:

Smoke cleansing: The cauldron makes an excellent holder for herbs and resins. You can place a piece of charcoal within it and burns your smoke cleansing herbs on it or, you can place the herbs directly into the cauldron and light them. The smaller cauldrons are great for this.

Grounding practice: The cauldron is usually made of iron and therefore an excellent grounding tool. You can use it like I do in the above grounding ritual or make up your own!

Burning spells: The cauldron is a safe container to burn pieces of paper with words written on it or other objects that are part of your spells.

Scrying: The black cauldron is a perfect backdrop for scrying. Fill the cauldron with water and take your time to ground and centre before gazing into the cauldron to see visions. This works best with a medium to large cauldron.

Potions & Cooking: Use a larger cauldron to hold your potions or healing soups, the old-fashioned way. I purchased a couple of beautiful large cauldrons from Bristow Iron Works, including the stand and hooks for this purpose.

An altar in itself: The cauldron can make a wonderful keeper of sacred energy. A large cauldron can be filled with crystals, herbs, beautiful images, and objects to anchor the sacred into your space. A small cauldron makes a great travel altar- fill it with herbs and crystals to uplift your energy while away.

Salt Bowl or Centrepiece: I have used a cauldron as a salt bowl and centrepiece for my dining room table. I filled it with salt to absorb negative energies, and with herbs and crystals to help bring harmony to my dinner table.

Symbol: You can use the cauldron as a symbol on your altar, your desk or bedside table for anything we discussed in this blog- symbol of your inner Witch or Wise Woman, the womb, the sacred feminine or Mother energy, transformation & rebirth, etc. Keep it as a reminder of your magick!

If you are interested in the symbolism of the cauldron and its connections to myths, I highly recommend the book The Witch’s Cauldron, by Laura Tempest Zakroff.

What does the cauldron symbolise for you? Do you use one in your practice?

May the cauldron bring you the warmth and soul-nourishment you need in these transformational times.

xo

Serena

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

What is a Hearthwitch? + Tips for Sacred Housekeeping

What is a Hearthwitch?

A Hearthwitch is a home-centered Witch who focuses their energies on creating sacred space and weaving the magickal into the mundane. They do not usually feel the need to equip themselves with fancy tools or do elaborate rituals and like to get creative with what they have in their own kitchen or garden.

They like to craft things for the home, such as candles, sewing projects, witchy home décor, protective amulets or anything that enhances daily living or serves to create sacred space.

Many think hearthwitches need to live in a little cottage in the country, but you can be a hearthwitch anywhere, including the big city. Urban hearthwitches have to contend with the energetic challenges of scarce wilderness, noise, construction and many humans in close vicinity. For us urban witches, our craft is a little different than countryside witches, but no less powerful.

my hearth

Hearthwitches share some qualities with Kitchen Witches, Green Witches and Hedgewitches, and these can sometimes overlap within the same witch. Their practices all carry an earthy, folky quality, including a love of using herbs in cooking or medicine making.

Hedgewitch is a term sometimes used interchangeably with Hearthwitch, although Hedgewitch can also refer to a Witch who spends their time ‘flying the hedge’, or walking in the liminal realm, traveling in spirit. They can do this through entering a trance-like meditative state, seeking guidance from the spirits, and bringing back those messages to the earthly realm.

I personally identify as both a Hearthwitch and a Hedgewitch, as I spend a lot of energy on keeping my home and garden with spiritual intent and sensitivity, as well as journeying into the liminal realm to gain insight on my spiritual path.

For me, being a Hearthwitch is also a path of embodying and radiating a sense of being at home within oneself and tending one’s inner flame of spirit, which I call the hearthflame within. For me, Hearthwitchery involves developing the ability to create a sense of home wherever I am and share that with others.

This means that I not only prioritise keeping my home in a sacred way, but I tend to my body and spirit with a similar reverence. My path involves embodying the divine feminine, an energy of inner groundedness and radiance that comes from tending my hearthflame within and without.

How did I become a Hearthwitch/Hedgewitch?

My path to hearthwitchery was a reluctant one, at first. In my early twenties I started to identify as a Witch but wasn’t quite sure what type of Witch I was yet, as this takes time and experimentation to discover. I never would have thought at the time that being a hearthwitch would appeal to me, as I wasn’t the most domestic person, nor did it sound very exciting!

I joined covens and read a ton of books, learning about all kinds of witchy perspectives and paths. I felt like I could go in several different directions, but soon I got pregnant and became a mother, which narrowed my options.

As anyone who’s had a baby knows, life gets suddenly quite mundane. Housekeeping becomes everything. Besides caring for an infant, there’s constant laundry, cooking, cleaning, and endless chores to stay afloat.

I felt as though my magickal practice was slipping away, as it seemed I never had time for rituals or anything more than the odd prayer before passing out, exhausted. Thankfully a witch friend at the time introduced me to the book ‘The Way of the Hedgewitch’, which gave me hope that I could still lead my life in a way that was a realistic blend of my beliefs and my new home-based lifestyle.

The book revived my spirit and grounded me in a way of living that became habitual over the years, especially since I have been working from home all this time. I still recommend this book for anyone interested in hearthwitchery, as it will not only help you bring magick into your housekeeping chores but also feel more deeply nourished and revitalised when you’re at home.

Creating Sacred Space & Weaving Magick into the Mundane

Firstly, I feel that the word chores can bring up really bleh feelings, so why don’t we change them to housekeeping rituals?

In our housekeeping rituals, we keep in mind our goal- To create a sanctuary, a sacred space, a dwelling for the divine- which nourishes us and our loved ones.

So, our housekeeping rituals become an act of service- in my case, to the Goddess in her many guises, as well as to my spiritual well-being.

The Greek goddess Hestia or Roman Vesta is a goddess specifically of the Hearth, and she was honoured in many ways, including by the Vestal Virgins who tended her flame in ancient temples. But, you don’t have to honour any specific deity to be a Hearthwitch.

Housekeeping rituals can be a service to your own soul as well as whatever you feel is divinity. It is about creating a space that allows the divine energy of the universe to flow through it. It is about grounding the sacred into one’s abode.

From the Goddess Oracle deck by Marashinsky & Shanto

I have taught a hearth magick workshop on how to make your home a sacred space and weave magick into the mundane. I am thinking of offering it again in the near future, so if you are interested, let me know!

Here are 10 ways to bring more magick into your home:

Start the day with a land-honouring grounding practice. I do a smoke cleansing ritual to the spirits of the land I live on, the Indigenous peoples of this land, my ancestors, and give thanks for being able to make my home here. You may wish to acknowledge the 4 elements, or create a daily ritual that grounds you into the place you live, its history and people.

Sanctify the hearth of your home and spend time there daily to replenish. The hearth of your home is the sacred power spot or energy centre of the home. It is different for each dwelling, but it is the place that you feel most relaxed, nourished and grounded. Often, if you have people over to visit, they naturally gravitate to this area. Once you have located this area, sanctify it by cleansing and blessing it, creating a altar there, decorating it in a way that honours its spiritual essence and tend it with love. Spend more time there, doing things that nourish your soul or make you feel good.

Surround yourself with colours and textures that speak to your soul rather than the latest fashions. Use natural fabrics and items in your décor, like found rocks, homegrown herbs, art you’ve made or creations that hold meaning for you. A hearthwitch’s home is soul-nourishing and meaningful, and that may or may not follow the decorating trends of the moment.

Set up a kitchen altar. Regardless of whether the kitchen is the hearth of your home or not, you are likely going to be spending significant time there. Having an altar with beautiful, inspiring objects, seasonal flowers, candles and other items that speak to your soul will help take the edge off those long hours cooking and cleaning. It will serve as a reminder of the sacredness of the work you are doing, and infuse it with positive energy.

kitchen altar

Keep a balance of elements in each room. Earth, air, fire and water are best balanced in harmony in each room. You can represent each element through the colours you use, such as warm colours for fire, light colours for air, blues for water and earth tones for earth. Represent the elements with items such as candles, incense, feathers, bowls, flowers, shells, etc. Each room will have a unique elemental requirement based on its purpose, but that is a whole other topic, so just try to have a general elemental balance.

Listen to the house itself and honour it like a living being. My house’s personality is like a classy elderly woman with low tolerance for clutter and a need for quiet. She is discerning as to who she will let in, isn’t fond of parties, loud noise, or chaos. She is over 100 years old and the floors are very creaky, full of dents and character, but charming. Her and I get along quite well, except I find her standards for cleanliness a tad oppressive. She reminds me that she has only lived this long because of her high standards and she rewards our hard work with her safety and comfort. She also encourages spiritual work and attunement to higher frequencies, but she won’t let us get too ungrounded. The garden has made her very happy. Your house has a personality too! Every house has its unique vibe and will encourage its stewards to live a certain way. If you work in harmony with your house, it will take care of you. Take time to get to know them and what their needs are.

a bit of my front garden

Think of clutter as negative energy. Because it is. It can create stagnation, clutter in the psyche and hamper the energy flow in your home. As much as decluttering can be annoying or exhausting, your home and psyche will be much freer and healthier when de-cluttered. That isn’t to say its a problem to keep meaningful, beautiful things around you, and you don’t need to be a minimalist! Keep whatever serves your happiness, but get rid of anything that is never used, collecting dust, broken, or saps your energy.

As you are cooking, try saying a little prayer or giving thanks to all the people who made it possible for each ingredient to make it to your table. Try stirring or frying loving intentions and wishes into your food. When I am stirring a pot, I stir clockwise to put out a wish or intention into the food. I don’t necessarily have a rhyming charm to say, I just speak from the heart, often silently, sending my love into the food.

Think of the more thankless chores as nurturing actions. Things like doing the dishes, folding laundry and picking up after kids can be really thankless, as the results are only experienced for mere seconds sometimes. Remember that every dish washed is in service of nourishing someone with food, every shirt folded is to keep someone warm, and every toy picked up is both an accident prevented and an example/teaching to your kids for the future. Life really is in the details and I believe the little things DO matter- especially when we see them as the building blocks of the goal and the big picture.

Make your workspace a sanctuary. Whether you work from home or at an office, it can be very beneficial to bring some good vibes to your desk and workspace. Crystals, candles, aromatherapy sprays and inspiring images can all help boost your mood and productivity. One of my fave ways to absorb negative vibes and keep a nice workspace in a non-obtrusive way is through using salt bowls. They not only help cleanse the energy but also represent earth and water. Add to your desk a tealight candle and a little feather or cute image of a bird, and you’ve got all the 4 elements covered!

Salt bowls

Take time to enjoy your space! Commune with the divine regularly. Let it be your temple. My current home is a bit high maintenance, so sometimes when I am feeling exhausted, I realise it’s because I forgot to actually enjoy the sanctuary I’ve created and take some time to simply BE in it, and let it serve its purpose.

What do you do to create a feeling of sanctuary or soul-nourishment in your home?

How do you feel about cleaning and other housework?

If your current home was a person, what would they be like?

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Tending to our Inner Hearth + Meditation Video

What does ‘coming home to oneself’ mean?

What does it feel like to truly belong and dwell within our physical body?

What ignites our inner fire, the central core of our vitality and wellbeing?

These are questions I contemplate regularly, but especially around the time of Imbolc and early spring, when we welcome the return of the light around us and ignite our inner spark of inspiration within.

As a work-at-home mother with a history of severe chronic pelvic pain, my healing journey has led me to spend a lot of time trying to feel a sense of belonging in my own body, while also creating a nourishing home for myself and family. This also coincided with my path as a Hearthwitch, tending to my inner Hearth as well as the Hearth of my home. I unwittingly became a keeper of the hearth- within and without.

The Hearth of the Home

The hearth is traditionally where the fire is lit and is a place for cooking, nourishment, gathering and belonging. Before electricity, the hearth was a central source of sustenance and therefore was the centre of the home.

Modern houses with fully equipped kitchens are still often built with fireplaces inside, which is a testament to how important the hearth is to our sense of being at home- physically and emotionally.

Just think of how much we love to have campfires in the summer. Even though we have electricity, our primal instincts crave the warmth, gathering and sense of ‘coming home’ that sitting around a campfire brings.

This isn’t to say that to feel at home, one needs a fireplace or a firepit. Every dwelling has a spiritual centre- a hearth in which people feel drawn to gather, to feel nourished, to settle. This can even be the corner of a small bachelor apartment or room. It is important though, that in order to truly feel nourished by the hearth that it is tended to and taken care of.

As a Hearthwitch, keeping my home is a sacred practice. I have a fireplace in the living room which serves as the sacred hearth of our home. The entire home is designated as sacred space, and I tend to each room in this way, but the living room is a point of gathering for sacred ceremonies, so I pay special attention to the energy in that space. It has strong healing energy that helps restore us at the end of a long day, even if we are just watching Netflix. Its energy always helps bring us deep within ourselves, feeling safe, held, and supported.

Just like in a house, there is an energetic hearth within each one of us, which allows us to feel at home within ourselves, wherever we may be. Just like the hearth in a house, it requires tending.

In one’s own abode

Yoni mudra

The energetic hearth within is connected to our womb space and pelvic bowl.

The sacral chakra resides in the pelvic bowl and is named ‘Svadhisthana’- meaning ‘in one’s own abode’.

I love the feeling this depicts, the feeling of being truly at home within oneself and one’s body. I resonate with its connection to the pelvic bowl- the womb being the first home each of us experienced before we were born into this world.

In my womb healing journey I explored the depth of my triggers and wounds that lay in the pelvic bowl, physically and energetically. It took years of unraveling the emotional and energetic blockages to create a sense of comfort being in the body I have.

I can now say that I mostly feel at home in this body, even when it is uncomfortable, and alongside medical treatment, much of this has had to do with tending my inner hearth. The process of learning how to truly dwell ‘in my own abode’, in a metaphorical sense.

What is the Inner Hearth?

Like the warm flames of a fireplace, this is the part within us that lights up with excitement when we are passionate about something, the place we feel our inner spark or desire to create something, the place we feel alive, with warmth, passion and vitality.

It is also the feeling of being comfortable and at home within ourselves. Sometimes the hearth flames run hot and high when we are feeling very passionate, sometimes they are gentle low flames or glowing embers when we are feeling calm, comfortable, warm and radiant.

Our Inner Hearth can be felt in many ways and many areas of the body. It isn’t limited to the pelvic bowl. You may feel this sense of ‘home’ and warmth in your abdomen, heart, or even in your head.

The Irish Hearth Goddess Brighid is sometimes depicted with flames coming out of her head, associated with inspiration and spiritual connection. So, we are not limited to feeling our inner hearth within our core- the head or crown centre may also light up when we are feeling inspired with new ideas or spiritual awareness.

From the Goddess Oracle by Janto-Marashinsky

Where in your body do you feel a sense of being settled, centered within, and at home in yourself? What activities help bring you into this state of being? What makes you feel you are no longer at home within, or outside of yourself?

When we Leave Home

It is important to note that trauma and wounding can make it challenging to feel at home within our body. Dissociation is a normal trauma response and many of us have reasons why we cannot really feel at home in our body. Honor yourself, your unique body and history. As I mentioned, my healing journey has been about healing these wounds, which has taken years. Feeling outside of my body was the norm before that. It can be helpful to work with a therapist or trauma-informed embodiment practitioner to help heal.

If you are an empath, a sensitive person or a bit of a people pleaser (as I have been much of my life), you may notice that certain people or activities pull you out of your sense of ‘home’ within. For instance, if you work with people closely, you may find yourself jumping out of yourself to attune to their needs, communication style, or rhythm of doing things. Many of us do this unconsciously, and often do it to meet others where they are at in order to help them, or get closer to them. Perhaps, whenever you fall in love you become whomever the other person wants you to be or sees you as, instead of dwelling within yourself.

These are just things to notice and recognise. Cultivating a healthy sense of self, boundaries and inner awareness are all part of tending the inner hearth.

Inner Hearth Meditation

I created this meditation to support my inner hearth and yours. It serves to re-ignite your inner strength, passion, inspiration and light you up from the inside. It is especially helpful if you feel down, heavy, uninspired, unmotivated, scattered, ‘outside yourself’ or if you simply want a pick me up. Try it out!

May you thrive and glow with the strength of your inner light,

Xo

Serena

Receive first dibs on events, new products & my FREE ebook- The Witches’ Wheelby signing up for my newsletter below!

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.

Hearth Magick for Wintertime

During the warm half of the year, we are blessed with Mother Nature’s blossoming abundance, color and the sun’s shining rays to support our health and wellbeing.  Our vitality is stronger, our energy flows outward with more ease. The earth offers us a constant stream of protection, nurturance and healing energy. 

Now that we stand in the peak of darkness, the naked trees reach starkly into the grey sky and the earth beneath us is resting. Like the earth, we must conserve our energy and protect our self and space. This time of year belongs to the Hag of Winter, the Crone and Elder, awakening our strength, perseverance, and the wisdom that comes with aligning with our priorities and honoring our spirit.

Personally, I feel more at home during this time of year than in the warm months. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert, or because I grew up in the cold, windy prairies in Winnipeg- aka ‘Winterpeg’!

I enjoy the darkness that comes with the winter season, because I like retiring into night mode. I also love when the sun sparkles on the snow, the hushed quiet of the woods, the squeaky sound of crisp snow underfoot, snuggling up with blankets and slippers with hot tea in front of the fire… I feel more connected to my intuition and spirit at this time.

Winter willows

But it is true that this season requires more diligence on an energetic level. Not only do we need to conserve our energy, but we need to protect it and our space as well. Many of the trees and plants that normally protect us are dormant or conserving energy too. The harsh weather can bring power outages, unsafe road conditions, hazardous ice, and on a social level general grumpiness, exhaustion and viruses. Basic travel and living take more work.

If you are sensitive & empathic, living in a busy city, being surrounded by people constantly means picking up on others’ difficult emotions that tend to surface this time of year. Also, the stark realities of life cannot be hidden beneath pretty flowers.  Many folks are unhoused, in poverty, isolated, struggling, and the reality of systemic oppression and its effects are inescapable. It is a time where we may need to check on our neighbors more and keep a sense of community as well as keep ourselves safe- physically and energetically.

With all of this in mind, I thought I’d share some simple ways to protect your home and energy during this time. My approach to Hearth Magick is pragmatic, as well as multi-faceted. I find that tackling an issue from as many angles as possible yields the best results, so I do pretty much all of these things regularly as general winter hearth maintenance. I am assuming you’ve got basics covered, like locks on your doors and windows (and maybe an alarm system & security camera, depending on your ‘hood), heating, a roof over your head and nourishing food on the table. I am also assuming your space isn’t haunted by strong negative entities.  

The home and self are connected energetically. One affects the other.

Clean and Clear

Clutter doesn’t do us any good. It’s a great time to clean out our closets and release anything that is taking up space that is not useful or making us happy. Clutter creates stagnant energy in the home and in turn, in our own energy. Give away the clothes you don’t wear, let go of things you don’t use anymore. Clear your shelves, cupboards, drawers, and of course your altar or your hearth.

Clearing your space energetically is also very important. This could entail washing your floors and counters with some of your favourite herbal infusion, essential oil, or adding a prayer or intention to your regular cleaning.

You may also wish to try smoke cleansing by burning herbs or incense or spraying the space with an herbal infusion or essential oils.

My ‘Pure Yule’ Hearth Mist

You can try creating a nice steam air purifier by boiling herbs on the stove, which is great for combating dryness from the heat and spreads good energy from the herbs. It also doubles as a tea. I do this with cedar, or sometimes with cinnamon, cloves and ginger. These are protective of self and space as steam, while helping to support the immune system as a tea.

Simplify Your Life

Do you have people or activities in your life that drain your energy? Have you overcommitted yourself? This is the time to set some boundaries. Say ‘no’ to that person or extra thing. Or, set up something that works better for you. Delegate. Take charge of your schedule as best as you can and see what is unnecessary. Focus on the priorities and keep it simple. Otherwise, you may burnout.

Let There be Light

This is the time of year when lights make a big difference in our mood and energy. Do you have any particularly dark areas of your home? These are areas where energy can hold negativity. Light them up! Whether it’s adding a strand of twinkle lights, a salt lamp or candles to your décor, sources of light can help prevent negative energy from stagnating in areas of the home, as well as in your mind and heart. Switching some of your bulbs to full-spectrum lighting to imitate the sun can also be helpful, especially if you are affected by SAD or need a mood boost.

The Fire Element

Flame of my hearth

Do you have representation of the fire element in your home? Lights, as mentioned above count. However, other representations may be warm colours- reds, oranges, golds and yellows. You can wear them or bring more of them into your space, by adding a throw pillow, blanket or candles in these colors.

What about fiery activities? Any vigorous, playful or transformational activity can bring the energy up in your home and self! Things like lighting candles while you relax, cooking and baking your favourite foods, exercising, dancing, listening to energetic music, eating spicy foods, hot drinks and taking hot baths, all help to build up your inner fire and vitality, increasing self protection.

Indoor Plants

The color green is something I desperately miss by the time March rolls around. Psychologically, when we see green we relax, because it is an indication of fertility and life around us, ensuring our survival. In winter, we are lacking this!

My home is old and dark, a bit like a cave, with not many places for plants to thrive so, I invested in a garden window. Since filling it with indoor plants, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my winter wellbeing. The plants give me hope and have added a very positive energy into the home which in turn brings positivity into the residents and protects the space.

My garden window- with a little cat bed included.

If you are someone who kills any indoor plants they own or live in a basement apartment you may wish to try plants with very low light requirements. I have found Spider plants to be particularly adaptable. They clear the air, are low maintenance and reproduce abundantly, so if you mess up with one (and it has already grown some babies), you can try again by rooting and potting the babies. The trick is not to overwater. If you have bright light, air plants or Aloe Vera are also wonderful choices!

Evergreens

I love evergreens! The land always takes care of us with her medicine. Evergreens are a source of vitamins, minerals, anti-viral properties, and energetic protection and strength. They are also strong transformers of negative energy. Juniper, Spruce, Pine, Cedar, Fir and Yew are what I consider wise Crone/Elder trees that take care of us in the northern climate.

If it’s Yule season, you’ll probably see an abundance of evergreen clippings and decor to purchase in local grocery or plant stores. These can help protect your home on the outside and the inside (the real ones, not the fake ones!).

One thing I learned from Indigenous community members is to hang cedar above my doorways to protect from bad energy. I also put it under my mats, over and around windows and keep other evergreens around the house all winter long. I also sometimes put some in my purse for protection while out.

Anything with needles usually has a protective quality. I sometimes keep evergreens by my bed to protect me while I sleep. If you’re not into live indoor plants, keeping evergreen cuttings around the house is an alternative.

Working with plants is much more effective when we cultivate a relationship. It is easy enough to do this on a walk. Find a nearby park, hug an evergreen, stand with your back against them, feel their energy and receive their wisdom. Thank them. They each have their own unique personalities. I have learned and received so much wisdom, love and protection from evergreen beings.

Salt Bowls

Salt bowl with evergreens

Salt is the master remover of bad vibes. One of my favourite ways to use salt in a space is to fill up a bowl with it (I use sea salt) and add a crystal and some herbs on top. Not all crystals do well sitting in salt, as their energy can drain. I usually opt for quartz and amethyst, which seem to do fine, but I play around with other ones. I’ve made some mistakes and learn as I go.

As for herbs, you can add which ever ones would support energy clearing, such as lavender, mint, garden sage, rosemary, evergreens, etc. But really, just the salt is what matters most. Place the bowl wherever you feel excess energy needs to be absorbed, such as an office desk, bedside table, the dining room table or near an entranceway.

mirrors on my porch

Mirrors & Sparkles

Never underestimate the power of a mirror. Mirrors reflect energy back to its sender. Sparkly, reflective surfaces can all do this to varying degrees. You can ward of bad energies coming at your home from a certain direction by decorating your yule tree with reflective, sparkly decorations and placing your tree in the window facing that direction.

Or, you can purchase a mirror or make a mirror-faceted decoration and place it either in a window or outside your home near the entrance as a deterrent to ill-intentioned visitors.

Essential Oils

Another favourite plant medicine is essential oils. Yes, they are more expensive than dried herbs, but the reason for this is that they are very potent and concentrated. Dried herbs are wonderful and can be worked with too. I find in urban areas where we have far less nature and far more industry and pollution to counteract, the concentrated plant energy can be very helpful. It is best to ensure you are buying pure essential oils from a reputable source. If the price is too good to be true, then it is probably not pure and cut with some other oil. I cannot advise using these for the purposes below.

*It is important to note that essential oils are flammable and must be handled with care. They can also be toxic to humans and pets if ingested. Follow the advice of an aromatherapist or the product maker. 

Using essential oils in your space is pretty simple. You can put a few drops in a bowl of water, as the oil sits on the surface and naturally diffuses through the space. Or, if you have a forced air heating system you can place a few drops on a Kleenex or strip of paper and place it in the intake vent so the scent and vibes flow through the house. You can also put it in an output vent to diffuse quickly through the space.

peaceful lavender

My favourite trick is to place a few drops on a Kleenex and place it inside the bag in my vacuum cleaner. Whenever I vacuum, the scent and energy flows through the house.

My fave oils for winter and what they’re good for:

Lavender: Antidepressant, helps with tension and headaches. Relaxes the mind and aids sleep. Has antiseptic properties. Brings peace to a space. Blends well with most other essential oils.

Orange: Antidepressant, uplifts mood and invigorates the mind, sensual.

Black Spruce: Antiseptic, antibacterial, antiparasitic, kills most pathogens in the air. Great for when illness strikes in the home. Energetically refreshing, grounding and protective.

Geranium: Antidepressant, immune booster, excellent deoderiser, uplifting, regenerative, sensual.

Eucalyptus: Antibacterial, Clears airways, clears mind, helps breathing during colds/flu. *Avoid during chemo, high blood pressure, epilepsy or severe asthma.

Clove: Antibacterial, analgesic, antimicrobic. Energetically cleansing, warming, strengthening and protective. *Avoid if pregnant

The oils above can be combined in many variations and work together well. You can also use any of the oils above in a warm bath. Simply mix 7-10 drops of the essential oil with about a teaspoon of vegetable glycerin and add to a bath. You may also wish to add 1-2 cups of either sea salt or epsom salts to help neutralise negative emotions or energies you’ve picked up in the day.

I hope some of these suggestions appealed to you and feel like something you might want to try for yourself! If you have any questions about them, feel free to contact me!

Happy Yule/Winter Solstice/Alban Arthan/Holiday that you celebrate!

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As a Witch who makes her home and practice in Tkaronto (Toronto) Ontario, I deeply thank the original stewards of this land: The Mississaugas of the Credit, Mississaugas of Scugog, Alderville, Hiawatha & Curve Lake; The Chippewas of Beausoleil, Rama & Georgina island, the Haudenosaunee and Wendat nations. I acknowledge the resilience of the First Nation, Inuit and Metis people who live and work here in the present, in a system of inequity and oppression. I am working on uncolonising my own practice, amplifying Indigenous voices and supporting Indigenous communities in whatever way I can.