Part of this blog’s purpose for existing is to provide some (somewhat superficial) documentation of my hearth practice. I believe that it’s a subject too often neglected in modern heathenry; there’s something of a taboo placed upon the discussion of it in many circles, I’ve found. I think that’s understandable enough, the privacy of the home is sacrosanct, to be sure. At the same time, I think that visible examples of what one’s hearth cult can look like in practice can be instrumental in allowing the less experienced or less confident deepen and expand their practice. If I’m able to help with that, all the better.
Per the tradition of my particular Ænglo-Texæn brand of heathenry, April 21 marks my Easter celebrations. Most other heathens I know celebrated more in accordance with the moon, but my regional interpretation of Eostre is as something of a matron deity of Texas; as such, San Jacinto Day is an obvious enough date during the course of Eosturmonaþ to conduct my hearth rituals. For the non-Texans, the Battle of San Jacinto was the event that effectively ended the Texas Revolution and cemented the de jure independence of the Republic of Texas.
Easter, Eostresdæg, whathaveyou. For me, that is the height and closing of the Bluebonnet season; something anyone who’s lived for any time in Texas likely has some appreciation for. It’s when the fields turn from blue to yellow in dry years, from blue to pink and white and yellow in good years. It marks the imminent planting season, when farmers have largely terraced their fields and prepared them and are ploughing in anticipation of laying cotton seed. It’s Eostre laying waste to winter’s chaotic death throes, the cold snaps and the erratic winds that finally tend to subside around this time of the year (and in fact, we had a cold front blow in last night). It’s the season when, for a brief time between the dead of winter and the scorching summer, life blooms in earnest.
The past few years since I’ve started making a point of regionalizing my practice, I make a fairly modest offering from my hearth to Eostre specifically. This year was a bit less than I normally offer; at the risk of tending toward the cliche, I generally make an offering of rabbit meat, something I’ve been doing since before I even settled on an April 21 date for Easter. I didn’t have the opportunity to go rabbit hunting this year, so there was less to give.
The upside was that this year, I finally had a proper icon of Eostre to present an offering to; bread, a hardboiled egg, and purified water. As is typically the case (and really, is partly how I mark the occasion), the bluebonnets I’ve had my altar decorated with are starting to pass their prime, Eostre’s full bounty is given and therefore I do my part to give back. This is my way of contributing to the cycle, small as it is, on behalf of my hearth and my non-practicing kin.
A new practice that I tried this year (that I hope to continue going forward, though I don’t know how tenable it will be) was a West Texas specific variant of a traditional corn dolly. After last year’s cotton was stripped, I retrieved a few stalks and bolls and fashioned a small ‘dolly’ from them; unfortunately it turned out rather horribly, because I’m by no means any sort of craftsman; hopefully, the cotton wights won’t be terribly offended by their grotesque temporary lodging. Today, while disposing of yesterday’s offerings, I took it out and drowned it in the Double Mountain Fork Brazos River (so named for the Double Mountain featured in this page’s banner) to loose the wights back to the land to grow the coming year’s crop.
This is my first real effort at doing any documentation of my hearth cult; I don’t know how much interest there will be in it, but I hope it will at least serve as a window into how heathen praxis can be adapted to different locales, and how symbolism can be shifted and modified without being entirely fundamentally altered. Moreover, I hope it might at least provide some inspiration for the many heathens I run into who don’t know where to start with forming a hearth practice, due to the enormous emphasis on tribes and groups within heathenry today.
Considering it’s a new thing, ya’ll feel free to let me know if this is something you’d like to see more of when relevant occasions come up.