Thursday, 7 October 2010

Kitchen Gods and Household Guardians

All folklore traditions have their own versions of beneficial housekeepers and family guardians, here are just a few:

In China, every kitchen has a shrine, where a picture of the Tsao-Wang ( Zao Shen ) the Gods of the hearth or stove is placed, so that it faces south. Pictured next to him is his wife Tsao-Wang Nai-Nai, who carries the sayings of the household's women to the Jade Emperor in heaven. Three sticks of incense, food, drink and flowers are offered to him to ensure the safety and good fotrune of the inhabitants. 

In the Japanese Shinto religion, a kamidana or Gods shelf serves a similar purpose. Set high on the wall, daily offerings of evergreen twigs, rice, wine and salt are made to the divine spirits and prayers and thanks are given for blessings received. A bell that hangs above the shrine is rung, two bows are made, two claps and one more bow in honour.

In Scandanavia, Germany, Eastern and Western European myth, belongs the House Wight.  
The term 'Wight' is a general term for a sentient being, but it can also specify spiritual beings who are neither Gods nor human. The House Wight helps with protecting the home, but should the Wight feel unhappy or slighted, then mischief and problems may be caused. So a good relationship with a House Wight ensures everything runs much more smoothly.

House Wights will often choose beautiful ornaments or amethyst crystals in which to settle, and an amethyst kept by the hearth, welcomes these protective essences into your home.

Also from Scandanavian and Germanic traditions, come the Disir, who are evolved spirits similar to Ancestral Mother Guardians who protect a family through the generations. Lighting a white candle on a Friday evening and sitting with it quietly, helps you to draw strength from their wise maternal energy. Connection with Your Dis is especially powerful on Christmas Eve. 

The Bean-Tighe of the Irish and Scottish Celtic people are similar to the Disir. Bean-Tighe means woman of the House, she guards children and pets especially during the night and she will even move house with a particular family. Furniture removal men have asked where the old lady went, as they unload the belongings into a new home, only to be told there was no one like that. 

In Spain, Central and South America they are called Duendes, gossipy middle-aged fairies dressed in green, but unlike the Bean-Tighe, they were sometimes jealous of the women of the household. Whilst they would clean up a mess which they disliked, they would also move furniture and hide possessions if annoyed. However they would protect a family from any external harm, for only they were allowed to be bad tempered with the family they guarded.   

In Russia the house Wight is called a Domovoi and often looks like a hairy tiny man, but he can be a shapeshifter and can appear as a cat, dog, rat or a rabbit and also can transform himself into inanimate household objects as well. He is known to tickle people whilst they sleep, knocks on walls and throws pots and pans about. Tidyness, caring for your home and leaving him little treats, makes him happy, but he is not too shy to himself to things as well.

House Elves and Brownies are also welcolme house guests who bring good fortune and enjoy domestics chores. Gnomes are also social, but prefer gardens and forests and are more attached to the plants, birds and animals in them, than their owners. They care for the earth and it's minerals and encourage the growth of the plants and trees. A coin buried beneath the statue of a gnome is said to bring a steady flow of money into your life.

To attract helpful Elven energy which can make a home feel warm and welcoming: place shiny objects like crystals and costume jewellery in a dish by the hearth ( elves of all kinds love shiny things ).
Or hang crystals or old necklaces from a tree if you have one in the garden to attract nature spirits and protect your boundaries.
Hang a string of bells or windchimes just inside the front door to attract elves into the house.

If things keep going missing, such as keys and electrcail fuses keep blowing, place a tiny bowl of sugared porridge with cinamon and a little pat of butter on top, by the hearth stone overnight. Then in the morning give it to an animal, for the elves only eat the essence of it.
Scandanavians still do this on Christmas Eve and sometimes on Thursdays - the day of the Tomte, their house elf.
But beware of Boggarts, Bogles and Kobolds for they can be hostile, mischievous and best avoided.

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