Types of Witches: How to Be a Kitchen Witch
Kitchen Witchery is catching on in recent years as a ‘new’ magical path, but the fact is it’s probably one of the oldest types of magic known to man. I can imagine some ancient woman steeping herbs for remedies or offering thanks to the spirit of the animal that she’s preparing, sprinkling salt across the threshold to ward off evil spirits, and stoking the sacred hearth fires as she invokes a Goddess for blessings. She helped the community with her skills, she passed her ways down to her daughter… she is the ‘Kitchen Witch Eve’.
Kitchen Witchcraft, also known as Cottage Witchcraft, combines hearth and home with magic and enchantment. The lines between the magic and the mundane are blurred as the Witch brings magic into everyday life and everyday chores. It’s not very ceremonial in nature; it’s about putting that spark of magic into everything as you go about your domestic duties.
The Kitchen Witch is the ultimate domestic diva, enchantress of the hearth and home or magical master of his domain. It is a wonderful way to bring magic into your everyday life.
What Things Might a Kitchen Witch Do?
She enchants the herbs before sprinkling them over the meal, bringing blessings on the family.
She makes herbal oils and tonics, charging them by candlelight to heal, bless the home or clean and protect the woodwork she polishes with it — it’s all in a day’s work.
A cup of tea is never just tea—it’s a ritual, it’s a brew, it’s been magically prepared for some reason.
If someone gets a boo boo, she doesn’t run to the drug store, she runs to the garden. She may make a poultice of mugwort or a salve of basil and honey. As she prepares it and treats your wound, she may be chanting to invoke a spirit or deity to assist with healing.
She might garden by moon signs or plant crystals in the soil to help give the plants a boost. She thanks the plants for their sacrifice when she harvests from them, and leaves them small gifts and offerings.
A handful of salt and a few drops of sage oil may go into the wash water to cleanse and purify the clothes (or the floor, or the bathroom, or the windows).
You might find charm bags, Witches ladders or symbols around the home meant to draw good luck and prosperity.
She may add dried rosemary to the pillow stuffing to ward off nightmares and bring happy dreams.
She throws salt over her shoulder when it’s spilled, and blows a loose eyelash off her hand making a wish.
Kitchen Witchery—Serving Up a Cauldron of Stew
Who Can Be a Kitchen Witch?
Kitchen Witches often practice ways that have been passed down to them, usually through the family line or—if you’re lucky—by some mentor. Many Kitchen Witches these days are self-taught as well, because we now have access to books and the internet, and we can meet and speak freely with one another instead of hiding.
Kitchen Witches can be of any religion: Wicca, Christian, Jewish, New Age, Unitarian Universalist—there are no rules about religion. A lot of Kitchen Witches these days are some kind of Pagan, because Pagan religions usually embrace magic as part of nature and part of life. There are some Kitchen Witches who don’t practice any specific religion—they just follow their own path, marching to the beat of their own spiritual drum.
Kitchen Witches have traditionally been female. There isn’t a rule about this, it simply turned out this way because up until recent decades it was the woman who tended the home and kept the hearth fires burning. But you don’t have to be a full-time housewife to be a Kitchen Witch, and you certainly don’t need to be a woman. Men can be Kitchen Witches just as easily. It all comes down to being a lover of the home and wanting to bring magic into your everyday, ordinary life.
Kitchen Witches are generally associated with the country—the image would usually conjure up some small village, or some cabin way out in the woods somewhere. But city slickers like myself can also apply the concepts of Kitchen Witchery to an urban lifestyle. It doesn’t matter whether you live in an old rustic cabin or rent a condo on 5th Avenue in Manhattan—you work with the home you have.
Kitchen Witches can be old or young—with old-time folk magicians, children (particularly girls) would be trained in both the domestic and the magical arts from a very young age. Adding a little energy or casting a spell over any working becomes second nature.
The Kitchen Witch Temple
The home is the Kitchen Witch’s temple. The heart of the inner temple is the kitchen, and the heart of the outer temple is the garden. Some Kitchen Witches do like to set up a shrine or working altar in the kitchen or the garden where they can cast spells or honor their deities, but not all. In general, the working counters and tables are your altars. Your cutting knives are your athame (ritual knife). Your pots are your cauldrons and the wooden spoon you stir the soup with is your wand. You don’t actually need anything more formal than that.
The home is seen not just as a physical house but a spiritual temple of sorts—a type of monastery where you will live your spiritual life day in, day out. Because of this, a Kitchen Witch tends to strive to keep the home and garden in the good order. She (or he!) takes pride in keeping a warm and happy home infused with magic.
You Don't Need Land to Garden:
How to Become a Kitchen Witch
- Become mindful, and make yourself present in the moment as you're going about your housekeeping, cooking and chores. Become aware of the magic and energy going on in the moment.
- Begin studying magic, particularly green magic, folk magic and energy work. All magic is rooted in the same theories and works on the same principles, it just largely depends on how you wish to exercise it.
- Start cleaning up your home and garden. It doesn’t have to be a show place, but it should be someplace that makes you feel warm and comfortable, someplace you find inviting. Your home is your own little sanctuary in this big old world.
- Start planting a garden. No land? No problem—I have no land either. I keep a few dozen pots on wire shelving or hanging from hooks around the perimeter of a big screen porch with southern exposure. I grow lots of herbs, flowers, houseplants, and even a nice little salad garden of tomato, cucumber, peppers, lettuce, spinach, squashes and the like. These are mostly planted in old storage containers, coffee cans and butter tubs. Even if all you have is a sunny windowsill, there is a way to have just a few herbs.
- If you can’t have a garden, collect dry herbs or purchase them in bulk from the local farmer’s market.
- Foster an attitude of gratitude for your food. Give thanks not just at harvest festivals, but for every little meal and snack. Thank the spirit of the animals and plants that you consume and be aware of their power that you are taking into your body.
- Connect to your animals and plants on a spiritual level. Stop thinking of them as lower life forms and start celebrating them as spiritual beings in their own right. Learn to listen, to read their signs, to communicate and learn their lessons.
- Cook—cooking is a big part of Kitchen Witchery. You charges your herbs and ingredients, you imbue your food with your magical desires and then consuming.
- Begin learning some herbal remedies. I wouldn’t rush off and treat serious conditions on your own without a doctor’s care, and keep in mind that even culinary herbs in large doses can be very dangerous. But you can start with some simple things like making poultices for bruises, salves for bee stings or lotions for skin irritations.
- Start to shift to a more organic way of life. Move away from the excess, the waste, the chemicals, the poisons. Start recycling and reusing things, begin composting for your garden, use herbs to create your own all-natural cleaning supplies.
- Begin thinking magically in everything you do. When you stoke the fire or cook over the stove, when you shower and do the dishes, when you turn on the fan or dig in the garden, give praise to the spirits of the elements. When you cook, don’t just follow a recipe—turn it into a spell, and charge that food or drink with the energy of that which you want to work toward. When you do your spring cleaning, perform it with reverence as a purification of your temple. Don’t just suck up the dust bunnies under the bed with your vacuum—banish these negative entities from your life.
Before you know it, you won’t be looking at the calendar wondering when the next Esbat is, or thinking about stopping by that New Age store for some spell components or ritual tools. Everything in your life becomes part of your magical endeavors, and this can bring an abundance of blessings and joy.
Recommended Witchcraft Reading:
"Mercy Bread from Arabia. Oat apricot muffins for forgiveness rituals. Mustard Sauce of Valor for fire festivals. Apricot Fricassee for initiation rituals. These are just a few of the 300 recipes you'll find in A Kitchen Witch's Cookbook by Patricia Telesco." Now we're cooking with magic-- really charming and some clever ideas are to be found here.