Guardians of the Threshold, Hearth and Family
Your home is a cauldron of power, it holds all of the energy that has ever been within it, around it, under it or near it; it’s an entity to itself and an extension of you and all that influences your life. The main door, hearth and the household shrine are the 3 major sacred places within a home; its’ a living temple like your physical body is the home of your spirit. Just as there is God and Goddess, a home has two guardians, the protector of the threshold, usually a male deity and the guardian of the hearth, the female aspect.
The entrance to a home is a between place where your inner home meets the outer world; that makes it a sacred and powerful energy spot, the protector/guardian of the threshold is sustained by its magical currents. The watcher’s job is to support helpful energies and to keep harm at bay; he is the God of the house. Whichever God you choose, honour him on his traditional feast day, or the anniversary of the date you moved into a new space; it’s also courtesy to inform the threshold guardian of any changes in the household, he needs to know who he is responsible for, who to keep at bay etc. Choose a God that has qualities you desire in a protector, note his associations and symbols, and create some kind of token to hang at the door. Make herb oil that relates to him and anoint the doorpost in his honour on a regular basis; also remember to acknowledge his presence and the work he does for you, it can be a simple nod, a few words, or touching the door frame or his symbol as you pass through. The God’s focal point is the main door; however he also travels through all beams, frames and any doorways within your home, keeping an eye on things. When you invite the God to be guardian, offer him food and drink, show and tell him about your token, what it means to you and anoint it and place it close to the door frame, as a symbol of his power. All rituals associated with the threshold guardian take place at the main doorway, if you live in a shared space, it would be at the door that opens to your personal room.
A hearth Goddess is the heart of your home, she’s the source of warmth, life, and all that is cherished within it; she infuses your home with love and blessings. Traditionally she lived in the fireplace where family and friends gathered, food was cooked, liquids heated, stories shared and people literally warmed up on a cold day. Even if you lack a fireplace, you probably have a stove, water heater or furnace; gas appliances create an eternal flame through the pilot light, the modern hearth is literally a stove. The hearth Goddess has a special affinity with fire, so keep a candle or oil lamp near your stove and light it whenever you cook or only on special occasions, it’s also good to have a symbol of the Goddess you choose hanging above or near the stove, as a reminder of her love. Anoint the token and candle with an oil blend that corresponds to the Lady, offer her food and drink, tell her about the token and what it means to you and that the candle is dedicated to her. Whenever you cook look at her symbol and acknowledge her presence; bless the food in her name, or even ask her to help you prepare a meal if you need some inspiration.
So now you have a Lord and Lady in your home, who else needs to be acknowledged? Every family has a guardian spirit who watches over its members whether related by blood, marriage, adoption, fostering or soul bonding. These loving guardians have no specific name, though they are often referred to as Wise Ones, Ancient Ones, Grandmothers and Grandfathers; often they are ancestral spirits who have worked with a clan over the ages and continue to be involved. These guardians work in pairs, the Spiritual Mother and Father of the tribe or soul family and it is to them that the family shrine is dedicated. Some families also have totem animals that may be part of their heritage, and it’s also appropriate to honour those creatures at the shrine. You need a representation of the guardians, so whatever you choose it would be two, a female and male aspect; you could create a couple masks and decorate them to represent your ancestors or you could simply choose two candles and display pictures, or tokens that represent these spirits to you. If you live in a family, make the shrine a family project, ideally each person has something to contribute, the ancestors live through each one of us. You could also include things like a clan’s tartan, family crest, postcards of where your family originates, whatever has meaning for you.
When the shrine is completed, gather your family, and pets, and place an offering bowl and chalice in the middle with a candle on either side. Invite the guardians to watch over and be in your home, offer them food and drink, light the candles and state your intention of remembering them through the two representations and their bonds to you, then introduce each family member. Remember to feed and talk with your guardians on a regular basis.
When you invite these beings to be part of your home, remember you are making a commitment to honour, remember and include them in your life. If you neglect your house spirits be prepared for them to leave, and it isn’t always a smooth transition when they do vacate! It’s way better to not go there than offend these helpers that you called and invited into your space. That being said they are all very powerful allies that bless your home with their presence.