19 April 2013

Now I'm Here

Pagan Blog Project - Week Seventeen - H #2 – Hestia
My house is falling down.
We're renting, thank goodness. But since we moved into this place over five years ago there have been serious foundation problems: backed up plumbing, cracks in the wall and ceiling, damp spots on the floor, dirt in the bathroom...
I've had a strange relationship with this house. At first I was indifferent and uncomfortable. Haven moved from a really great place in Texas, North Carolina was weird and foreign. A friend visited with us a few months later and he said "oh, you have such a cute little witchy house!"
Hmm… maybe.
The indifference continued until a few years ago when I decided I hated this place. I was tired of it and all of its quirks. I wanted to leave, to rent or possibly by a new place. So, we shopped around for houses, looking at prices and financing. It was just not possible. Moving to another rental was also not really a good idea, either.

I'm not sure what happened first. Was it cocktails with my girlfriend, or my at-the-time Coven's ritual devoted to Hestia? But something changed in both my perception and relationship with my house. Slowly, but surely, it became my home.
As a group we devoted a ritual to Hestia/Vesta. I did a lot of studying on her before the ritual, and included a little lesson for the ritual itself. Though the ritual was focused around creating foci (in this case, a tool of devotional focus), looking back now I realize something else happened, at least for me. I finally bonded with my home. Most of all, I realized my physical space was not the source of my dissatisfaction, but I was depressed about more meaningful areas of my life. Changing my house wouldn't make me happy. I would have the same old problems but in a different box.

I needed to change the focus of my life.
In the center of my crappy little home is a huge fireplace, and while the Coven did rituals together in my living room, the fireplace was a natural center staging area, with the mantle and hearth serving as the perfect altar tables. I had always decorated the mantle with flowers and kitschy holiday decorations. But I found that over the years the mantle was less of a mundane seasonal piece of home decorating, but had become a seasonal shrine. And at some point I had begun using it as an altar, charging items or creating little charms. Over the years, my Pagan tools and paraphernalia weren't just hidden and tucked away, but were slowly migrating into the house and into my mundane life.
It wasn't just this refocus on my hearth that shifted my perception of my home, but the ritual itself and learning about Hestia. One of the ladies in the group was going through transitions in her own life and had suggested we do a ritual and lesson regarding reconnecting to our habitats, and Hestia was a natural choice for this.
Hestia’s domain is within the home. But she’s not just about cooking and cleaning, but about protection and nurturing energy. She’s about keeping our focus, and she’s about making sure our domestic energy translates easily into our public lives, and vice versa. The Vestal Virgins in Rome were priestesses who guarded the hearth and flame (may it burn forever!). Their energy in both a literal and a magical sense were devoted to the protection of Rome as both a micro and macrocosm, and this devotion and attention is a useful reminder to anyone who might be feeling a little scattered, a little discontented, a little out of sorts. In my experience, Hestia’s energy is useful for anyone who is looking for something with which to devote themselves.
After spending some time to Hestia, a shift happened in my life. I began to reconnect with and love my home. There was magic there now, in ways I hadn't realized. (Though to be fair, it's not like magic came out of nowhere. The magic had always been there. I just hadn’t really noticed it yet.) And an added and serendipitous bonus of working with Hestia was starting communication with Hermes, who is Hestia's total bff forever.
Most of all, this moment was a catalyst for meaningful change in my life. I got a promotion at work. I was given a car. I applied for graduate schools and was eventually accepted. I have a room now devoted to my Pagan tools and altar. Now I might even love my little house, even though the molding is coming down and my bathroom wall is rotting out.

Working with Hestia totally and literally change my focus, and that's powerful magic


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