Tending the Fire


It’s been several weeks now that I have tended the fire.

From my studies and my research for my historical novel I know that for the Romans, the Greeks and all the cultures around and before them, the fire in the hearth was the heart of the home, of the city, of life. The fire was where God lived, and so every house was a temple. Or, I should say, it was where the Goddess lived, because the fire was a very female affair. For instance, it was the eldest daughter’s duty to keep it going. Consider also the Vestals, in charge of the Sacred Fire of that ancient goddess, Vesta or Hestia, burning perpetually at the center of Rome and Greece. And in the prehistoric, older-than-old religions the Goddess was present in the trees, the flame and the ashes…


Our house is small at just one floor with 1500 sq.f., of which we shut off about 300 sq.f. during winter. I make it even smaller by closing the bedroom doors and, when I want the living room to warm up fast, I also close the doors to the small dining room and kitchen. Then warm life contracts to about 300 sq.f., filled with happy people, books, music, two comfy sofas, lots of art materials and toys. Around the fire, roaring in the stove.

I feel empowered having re-taken control of an essential aspect of our home and our family life. I also feel privileged to be the one who starts and keeps the fire going, to have a house with a wood stove, the wood to burn, and the family to warm.

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  1. nice, heating with wood is another step to being in touch with nature and ourselves. our wood stove is a place for gathering. as fall sets in the house center moves from the kitchen to the hearth. historically thet would have been the same place.

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