This book might have been better titled “Hearth Witch” as it details an entirely new way of creating a spiritual practice based on your home. Hearthcraft, as the author explains, is the “. . . belief that the home is a place of beauty, power, and protection, a place where people are nurtured and nourished on a spiritual basis as well as a physical and emotional basis.” (p.11)
Opening with a chapter explaining what hearthcraft is, the book takes the reader through a complete course of creating a magical and sacred home out of one’s house. Chapters include information about the hearth, the cauldron, the kitchen, food, and herbs. I especially liked the chapter on hearth-based deities, which went beyond Hestia and Vesta to include Bes, Tsao Wang, Gabija, Ertha, and more. Chapter seven covers protection magic for the home, always useful, and chapter eleven offers a variety of spells and rituals.
The strength of The House Witch lies in its offering of information to make the home a sacred place, a sanctuary without any sense of, or requirement for, spirituality. A general sense of ‘something greater’ than oneself will allow the reader to perform almost all of the practices the author describes. This allows many readers who would otherwise feel weird about practices that feel like a betrayal of their preferred religion – whether it is Buddhism, Catholicism, or almost anything else – to enjoy creating a sense of sacred within their home.
Bottom line: I’m generally a fan of Ms. Murphy-Hiscock’s work, and there is much to recommend The House Witch, especially to someone new to alternative spirituality.
~review by Lisa Mc Sherry
Author: Arin Murphy-Hiscock
Adams Media, 2018
pp. 256, $16.99