Tag Archives: home

Peace at your hearth

A home should be a refuge, a safe place for folks to retreat to. However, unless you live alone (which is not without issue) then sharing a home means needing to co-operate with others. Peace at your hearth contributes greatly to scope for inner peace, and for having the equilibrium to tackle the rest of the world. A home without peace is not much of a home at all. However, peace in the home has to be a shared project, if not everyone is in residence is committed to creating a harmonious space, you have no hope of making it work.

I think the most critical elements for developing peace in the home are care and respect. Where these exist, then dealing with difficulties is relatively straight forwards. Without care and respect amongst co-habitors, conflict is probably inevitable. While circumstances can mean some of us end up living in such conditions, it’s well worth avoiding or moving away from if you can.

With care and respect, differences of need and opinion can be tackled through dialogue. Avoiding blame as much as possible, and focusing on solutions and ways forward, it’s possible to resolve most things well. A peaceful household is a more effective one, harnessing collective skills and strengths, offering mutual support and taking into account the needs, abilities and shortcomings of all those involved. 

People are more likely to be peaceful and co-operative when they are happy. Making sure everyone has what they need, that resources are distributed fairly, that everyone gets a say in key matters and that decisions are explained, all contributes to happiness and overall tranquillity. A household culture in which good contributions are praised, and efforts are noticed and encouraged, is more conducive to peace. Care and respect are attitudes which have to be expressed in an ongoing way through word and deed.

It is not necessary for people to love each other for this kind of arrangement to work. Any kind of space sharing, or resource sharing can work well if all parties approach things in a spirit of care and respect. Where people do love each other, the sharing of a peaceful, nurturing environment can be even more beneficial.

What makes a home?

(Thanks Tom for the prompt!)

There are definite differences between living somewhere, and calling it ‘home’. It comes from relationship with place, and any other entities that share it with you. My sense of ‘home’ has often involved places I wasn’t living in – the venue for TDN meetings, folk club venues and festivals give me a huge sense of ‘home’ while dwelling places frequently haven’t.

As a druid, hearth is vitally important to me. I’m happiest in places that can have proper fires, and I think a fire is the best focus for a living room. (Not a television as is the case most places.) Once you get past the bare essentials, there are other things that make a place more ‘home’.

Other living things – be they people, plants or animals. Being the only living thing in a place does not seem homely at all to me.

Items that connect you to others. I’ve always had things from my family, and gifts from friends in my personal space, and they help shape it for me.

The means to work creatively – spaces that enable creativity and inspire it, are vital to me. Again, dwellings set up to enable little more than TV viewing I find challenging.

The investment of care is a very defining thing. Looking after a place is very much key in my relationship with it. Other people sharing the space need to have a similar approach though, or you don’t get something that feels like a home.

A home doesn’t just take your time and energy, it gives back. More than just the shelter and comfort the building provides, a sense of home is a consequence of the family or community living in it and associated with it – friends, neighbours, visitors, those who were there before. A home is very much about people. It should be a place of solace and retreat, a place where it is possible to be sociable, to play, relax and work as needed.

In Irish tradition, Brigid is the Goddess of the hearth. The Romans had house spirits, Norse tradition has them too. A home should include a sense of spirit and sacredness – without that, it’s just a place you go to sleep. Honouring the gods of home and hearth, honouring the dwelling, deepens the relationship we can have with it.

To my mind, the social, emotional attributes shaping a home are far more important than any physical goods. It’s an old cliché that home is where the heart is, but a dwelling place that does not serve your heart, is no kind of home.

39 Days of Prayer – Day 30

Day 30 – For the Home

Thank you Goddess/God/Spirit

For supplying me with a peaceful home

and for making my house a sanctuary for all who enter.

Negative feelings are left outside my doorstep for

the love you have for us radiates through the walls

transforming ill will into compassion and peace.

Allow my family to start each day with a optimistic outlook and joy in their hearts,

And may they carry that energy with them throughout their day.

Blessed be.

Spirits of Hearth and Home

Houses have spirits. If your faith is something you live full time then recognising spirit within your home is part of that. As discussed with regards to other places, look for the ways in which nature manifests in and around your home – you may have all kinds of wildlife in the garden, the attic, and even inside the house (spiders etc).

Wherever your house is, the odds are you have land beneath it, and that land was once wild. Those land spirits may still be felt, although they may not be an immediately obvious influence. Honour them by leaving some wild space in your garden, by encouraging birds and by meditating on what occupied the land before your house.

As with ritual spaces, houses often come with ancestors of place – those who occupied a house before us leave their own echoes and ghosts. As do builders and designers, and anyone else who has lived on the land back through time. You might want to research your house a little and learn its history as a way of honouring and better understanding these spirits.

Then there are the entities that come to dwell in houses. I’ve heard them called brownies, in my house they are pookas, for some they are poltergeist. Beings who are not ghosts, nor part of the land, but very much belong to and in the house. Invisibles who startle animal companions, move car keys, randomly creak floorboards in the middle of the night and otherwise make their presence felt.

I won’t try and claim to understand them, but I’ve been living with them for years and currently my little crowd of pookas spend a lot of time being extra cats. I’ve felt them on the bed at night and seen them out of the corner of my eye. Modern houses seem less likely to have such inhabitants. They turn up over time, moving into empty bedrooms, making off with small items. They can be a blessing or a curse, and that depends a lot on how you treat them.

Being afraid of the thing under the bed turns it into a fearful thing. Children are unhelpfully adept at this, but an adult alone in a house at night, remembering too many horror films can feed fear to a spirit in just the same way. If a space is treated carelessly, the pookas will very likely do the same, thriving on the chaos, and playing as they please, throwing books about late at night and terrorising the cat. An overly tidy, sterile house tends to discourage them. They inhabit the dusty corners, and the muddles. Very tidy houses offer them no spaces.

They like attention – candles and incense lit for them, flowers brought in, little offerings of food and cake. They like to be talked to (or at least mine do.) If something goes missing, I ask the pookas if they can help me find it. When high winds are tearing tiles off roofs, or the ice is threatening to freeze water pipes, I talk to the pookas then, too. They might be playful and capricious, but it’s their home too, and they’ve not let it come to any significant harm so far.

Taking your home seriously as a spiritual place where other entities may be present does radically change how you relate to it, and how it feels to live there. Every space becomes an altar, every act of care for the house an offering. Listening to the house and finding out what it needs is an interesting activity. Rooms know if they aren’t laid out right. Energy flows, or does not, depending on how we shape our spaces, and a home that is cared for on more than a material level is a far better place to live.