Happy Lammas and The Witch of Howling Creek two year blogiversary, readers and friends! To commemorate the occasion, I’d like to welcome you all to
Pronounced “boodshocked,” (Gaelic for “witchcraft” or “witchery”), Camp Buidseachd is going to be a month-long, virtual summer camp with cottage witch guides to everything from the home to esbats as well as an awesome giveaway!
To kick things off, let’s jump right in to The Cottage Witch Guide to the Pagan Home:
The home is the center of cottage witchery and it can be a powerful tool as well as, of course, the place where we can unwind, relax and get back to what’s important. Our homes are precious to us and not just because they hold our things or keep us warm. Rather, the home is an extension of ourselves: how we decorate, how we arrange our furniture, how we display heirlooms and photographs and also how we relate to the people and animals that live there with us.
So what exactly makes a home pagan? The people living there, of course, but if you want to go beyond that, to make your home a part of your faith, that’s where cottage witchery comes in.
We’ll take the house room by room, along with a few fun extras! (You’ll notice of course that there is one very important room missing from this guide: the kitchen. That’s because the kitchen is so special it deserves a whole post – look for it later in the month!)
Living & Family Rooms
We divide the majority of our time between the kitchen and the living room. These are the places we connect most with the people around us and where we relax. Flowers are a great way to open a space up and make us smile; place vases of all sizes filled with fresh flowers throughout the living room. Even tiny bud vases with a single rose or daisy are cheery conversation starters.
The living room is a great place for an altar, even if you are still in the proverbial broom closet. Clear off the mantle or a console and decorate with candles and tasteful, natural items such as driftwood or seashells for water, feathers or an hourglass for air and small branches or a dish of rocks with candles for earth.
The dining room (or even the kitchen nook) is all about communion, gathering together to share food and conversation. Make every meal special, even harried nights of takeout. Don’t be afraid to use your good china and cloth napkins on average occasions; these things are meant to be used and loved, not tucked away in a cabinet.
Consider starting everyday traditions like saying a pagan grace and having one of the children (or big kids) ring a dinner bell, which is connected to the element of air. These little things are memorable and help us feel connected to one another.
The bedroom is often our haven, a peaceful corner of the world that is our very own. One of the most important decoration tips to keep in mind, particularly in the bedroom, is don’t be afraid of color. Color has a powerful impact on our senses and our state of mind so find a shade that speaks to you, whether it is a calming, soothing pale blue, an energetic, inspiring orange or a sultry, seductive violet. Also consider the magickal correspondences of colors to help you make the right selection for an accent wall that will draw you in and make you want to spend time in the room.
Fill your bedroom with the things that make you you, whether that means artwork you love, unicorn figurines or fresh flowers. All that matters is that the space reflects your personality and gives you an escape from the world. If you live with a partner, work on this together as the space should speak to both of you. (Bedrooms are also excellent spaces for altars, particularly if you have a more traditional setup and need more room.)
If the bedroom is our haven, the bathroom is often our moment of solace before facing the world again. Water-related themes such as the lake or the ocean are popular decorative themes for bathrooms, for obvious reasons. Consider setting up a small water altar on a corner of the counter with seashells, a bowl of floating candles and a small statue of Venus or another goddess connected to the water.
Although perhaps not the most magickal of rooms, the laundry room is an important aspect of the pagan home. Doing laundry is no one’s favorite chore but bring a little magick to the room by having it do double duty: cut a hog panel or piece of chicken wire so it fits above your washer and dryer, hang from eye hooks and use to dry fresh herbs. For that matter, make even the task of laundry magickal by tossing tightly sealed sachets of rosemary and sage or lavender potpourri in the dryer for freshly-scented and magickally-purified clothes.
General Protection Spells
- Weave cleansing and protection herbs such as sage and rosemary into a green, fragrant wreath for the front door. Not only will it cleanse and protect the entry to your sanctuary but all those who enter it.
- Mason jars are excellent for starting a witch bottle, no matter the size. Throw in a few bent nails, staples, tangled fishing line, vinegar and whatnot, carefully seal the lid with candle wax and bury near your home for protection.
- Gather a piece of eucalyptus, sage leaves and an oak twig (preferably with leaves still attached.) Cut a piece of twine at about 18 inches and center a cedar “hang-up” on the string. Lay the oak, eucalyptus and sage on top of the piece of cedar. Wrap the twine around the cedar and other ingredients several times. Tie a knot at the back of the piece of cedar so it is tight enough to hold all the pieces together. Hang up in a closet or other location to purify and protect the home.
- Bake a small loaf of bread, mixing in about a tablespoon of caraway seeds. Once the loaf has cooled, break it into four pieces with your hands. Walk to each corner of the house and bury one piece of bread, saying “Protection in the East,” “Protection in the South” and so on.
Remember, paganism and cottage witchery in particular are a state of mind – if you feel drawn to an idea, a color or a decoration, bring it into your home. The pagan home is all about you and what you think is pagan.
Stay tuned for more guides throughout August!