Quite a few years ago I came across the idea of having a hearth goddess shrine in the kitchen. I think it was in a book about house magic. The shrine it described was to the Greek hearth goddess Hestia. I liked the idea but didn’t see at the time how I would implement it and I didn’t feel a strong connection to Hestia. I saw a variation on the theme in an article I’ve mentioned before; “Takin’ It All Home” by Kami Landy. I suppose the idea incubated in the back of my mind for a bit, but then it finally occurred to me what form my kitchen shrine would take and the ritual actions that would form around it.
Though I think of her as much more than a hearth goddess, Bríd, as goddess of fire, is my obvious choice of deity to honor at a kitchen shrine. I would decide on a symbol or image to use for her and where to put it. It would need to be small, and something I could place away from splattering oil and steam, but still be right in front of me when I went to cook. I decided against having a lamp or candle to light every time I set out to cook. It would be an extra step that I know I wouldn’t keep doing. I felt that just the imagery should be enough and some simple brief actions surrounding it.
It would be one small object (home-made, of course) to focus on and remind me of Bríd. I’ve collected Pagan and Celtic coloring pages for years, so I searched through my collection to find something I could color in and decoupage. I found a Bríd’s cross superimposed over a sun. I really like the imagery though in the future when this one is worn out, I might go with a depiction of the goddess instead.
So this is how I made it… I cut out three circles from a pizza box lid and glued them together to create a strong disk. I taped the cut edges with small tears of masking tape then painted the entire disk black with craft paint. After this dried, I glued on the picture with a thin layer of white glue and let it dry, then put on a couple layers of Modge Podge. Then I painted the image with craft paints. Originally I was going to put this on the wall above the stove, squeezed in between my spices and cooking utensils. But then it occurred to me that I could stick a magnet strip on the back and place it on the stove’s hood. So that is what I did. It keeps it safer from steam and splatters and easier to reach. I slide it further up onto the stove hood when not being used for my cooking blessing, so it won’t get knocked down.
And this is how I use it in ritual… when I’m about to start cooking, I say a short blessing and rub a pinch of the dry ingredients I’m using in my cooking (usually salt, spices) around the edge of the image as offering. That’s all there is to it. Not hard to keep up a ritual such as that. The brief words of my cooking blessing was inspired from a couple of Bríd prayers I learned years ago:
“Gentle red-cheeked Bríd
Of flame and honeycomb,
Bless this cooking, bless this home.”