I have always felt a special connection to Hesta, Ancient Greek goddess of the hearth. She is a difficult Goddess to work with as so very little is known about Her. The Scent of Lemon & Rosemary places this Goddess squarely in the home and its importance in creating a safe place for us on so many levels.
Some readers may be put off by the unabashedly leftist leanings of the author, but Henderson notes that there is nothing Hestia likes about capitalism, so why would we attempt to preserve such an offensive perspective when discussing Her? (I would further argue that the home has always been a refuge against capitalism and the many attempts to define home in a single framework that supports capitalism and patriarchy is one of the more destructive aspects of modern life.) For me this is a major positive and I support anyone who attempts to take back the home as a place where love -- no matter the gender or expression -- and caring create a safe space to heal, protect, and nurture one another to our best abilities.
Opening with a chapter on Hestia and what we know and can surmise about Her, Henderson then spends a chapter offering a solid overview of the basics of magic. She then uses the structure of a typical home -- threshold, kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom to guide readers the many ways we can align ourselves with Hestia. Henderson is brilliant at using seemingly mundane practices to create new and interesting magic. Overall, the focus is on creating homes that allow us to feel safe, abundant, and accepted. In using the unique energy found in each area of the home (kitchen is fire, bathrooms are water, the living room is air, and the bedroom earth) readers bring balance to the whole of our home.
While I found some of Henderson's projects a little simple (using cloth napkins), the intention is good and perhaps reflects my having done such things for so long they are no longer new. Realizing this brought me to a place where I examined the practices and gave them a bit of a refresh. Henderson uses common and easily acquired ingredients -- such as the title's lemon and rosemary -- to create many of the magical items used.
The Scent of Lemon & Rosemary is a wonderful book, drawing readers closer to this vital Goddess who deserves to be brought back into our central focus.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Raechel Henderson
llewellyn Publications, 2021
pp. 216, $17.99