HearthBeats: Notes from a Kitchen Witch

March 1st, 2009

This month I wanted to focus of Deity. Since this is such a touchy subject for many of us as well as a subject that will start flaming wars, I will be looking at different kitchen/hearth Gods and goddesses. For no other reason than there have been so many different ones throughout history. I do not wish to annoy, anger or irritate anyone… so please read this for only the informational purposes that it was intended for.

I do not mean to seem like I am attacking before I am attacked. But recently I have been getting involved, without meaning to or having the desire to, in arguments about God, Goddess, and Deity. I personally have fairly simple views of Deity and why it is seen so many differing ways.

I see Deity as a jewel/gem. A beautiful and many faceted Jewel. If you look at this graphic you will be able to see the many different ways a stone can be faceted…

hearth1

BUT no matter how you facet it, it will always be a gem. If I see the top of the gem… and someone else sees the side of that same gem it may look like a completely different stone. If you take 1 large stone and divide it into many different many faceted stones… it will ultimately remain 1 large stone in many pieces.

THAT is how I see deity.  It may have broken itself down into male and female faceted gems. Then broken itself even further into smaller versions so that you and I may find the stone we need for that moment in our lives…or the face of Deity that someone needed to cope with whatever was in their life. BUT in the end…Deity is Deity and no matter how many times we break it down to be more manageable and easier to understand or what faceted face we see… it remains the one being in many parts.

The problems start when the human element is brought into play. When My God/dess becomes bigger, better, more, than your God/dess… once we start doing that … we draw the lines in the sand that make other want to prove to you that Their God/dess is better than Yours…so many issues could be and would be avoided if people just saw that the face (facet ) of God/dess they see is the perfect one for THEM…and no one else but them. My God/dess is awesome and amazing and all I need…but I do not want to impose my Deity on anyone else…and I try really hard not to get into a situation that others try to impose THEIR God/dess on me.

So I wanted to show that there are many different facets of Deity that many races needed for their hearths and homes…I hope that you get as much out of this as I did researching and writing it…

TSAO WANG: God of the hearth. Every household has its own Tsao Wang. Every year the hearth god reports on the family to the Jade Emperor, and the family has good or bad luck during the coming year according to his report. The hearth god’s wife records every word spoken by every member of the family. A paper image represents the hearth god and his wife, and incense is burned to them daily. When the time came to make his report to the Jade Emperor, sweetmeats were placed in his mouth, the paper was burned, and firecrackers were lit to speed him on his way. (Chinese)

GENIUS: A guardian who protects both individuals and homes. (Roman)

LAR: God of the house, a cheerful and beautiful youth.(Roman)

HESTIA: Every home had a hearth that was dedicated to the goddess, and each day began and ended with a ritual requesting that she protect and nurture the family within.
As the Goddess of Architecture, Hestia intended that homes should be built from the center out, with the center being a hearth that contained her sacred flame.  As part of the naming ritual, all infants were carried in a circle around the altar of Hestia to secure her blessings. There was an altar to Hestia in the center of every home…it was the fireplace, the hearth, where the family gathered.  Hestia’s vision of a house was that it should truly be a home, a place where one’s body, spirit, and relationships would be nurtured and replenished… a place to “come home to” after exposure to the cold and chaos of the external world.  Hestia is associated with the warmth and comfort of the welcoming fireplace. Just as the flames glowing from the hearth soothe us with their warmth and glowing light, the goddess Hestia gives us security, peace, and comfort and helps us accept the truth of our lives with inner grace (greek)

BOKAM: is the feminized hearth-flame worshipped by the shamanic Ket tribe of Siberia; they dominate the lower basin of the holy Yenisei River in Russia’s Krasnoyarsk Krai district (Siberia)

FUCHI or HUCHI: (Huchi-Fuchi (Unchi-Ahchi): (“Grandmother Hearth”) I apologies if my spelling is wrong. Japanese Goddess of the stove and thus the Goddess that heats the tea. The intricate Japanese Tea Ceremony is in part to honor her. Another one of her jobs is to intercede with the Gods on behalf of mortals. The hearth is considered the heart of a home, the vital element that keeps life flowing probably means “Fire”.
She is also a kamui [goddess] of the hearth worshipped by the Ainu aborigines of Japan; and according to one account of her mythic origins she was borne from the spark kindled by a fire drill.(Japanese)

FUJI / FUJIYAMA / SENGN-SAMA: The Japanese hearth-goddess of the native Ainu people, and personification of Mt. Fuji (an extinct volcano), the apex on which her sanctuary was constructed. Due to the predisposition of the Ainu people towards an indigenous form of shamanism, this mountain may have been regarded as an axis mundi serving to unite the “heavenly” world of the gods with the “Underworld” presided over by one’s ancestors.[Japanese)

GHOLUMTA EKE [“Hearth-Mother”]: is another identity of the Mongolian hearth-goddess.

HINUKAN
: is a hearth-goddess worshipped throughout Okinawa, Japan; she ensures the safety of each household. Her rites are conducted by the eldest female residing in the home. However, it is not deemed customary for men to pray at her hearth, probably because males have never been associated with religious authority in this region of Japan. Hinukan is esteemed as the mediator between the gods and mankind. (Japanese)

HWEI-LU or WEI: was originally a Chinese fire-goddess, but gradually came to be recognized as the spirit of the hearth (or Tsao shin) during the end of the seventh-century BCE. The caretaker of an ancestral temple at Lu is thought to have first worshipped her in this guise, sacrificing to the goddess with firewood that he had set ablaze. Her cult assumed a role of only marginal importance within native folk-religion for the next five-hundred years, until the early second-century, when an Emperor from the Han dynasty officially adopted Hwei-lu as a member of the imperial-cult; hitherto the late nineteenth-century CE, however, the presiding spirit of the hearth has come to be regarded as one of the most preeminent deities of China.( Chinese)

Bes: God of Domestic Protection, Childbirth and Family; Protection for Children, Pregnant Women and Families

Beset: Goddess of Domestic Protection and Home Security (Egyptian)

Until next time

Blessed Home and Hearth


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