Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Magical Homesteading

It seems urban homesteading has passed through fad phase and settled down into a quiet way of life for thousands of people. You don't hear about it much on the news, and the featured book table has fewer titles related to homesteading, but internet groups and blogs are still going strong. I meet fewer people who say they wish they had chickens, and more people who report someone in their neighborhood who keeps a small flock. These urban and suburban homesteaders come from all walks of life: various religions, conservative and liberal, young and retired, women and men. It ranges from the city apartment with herbs on the balcony and a supplemental community garden plot to a small farm producing wool, eggs, and meat.

Urban homesteading is a magical way of life. Magic is the art of changing your consciousness - and the world's consciousness - at will. Magic examines our interconnections to everything around us and our responsibilities towards those things to which we are connected. Both of these qualities can also be said about homesteading of all varieties. I raise chickens because it's fun, because I like knowing where my eggs come from, and I like the responsibility of caring for the animals that nourish me. I like the surprise of my neighbors when they realize I'm growing my own food (especially the children), and I hope I am contributing to the world in positive ways by teaching others how they too might live more responsibly. I am working to change the current paradigm that says that farm and suburb are two different things, that life should be divided by zoning laws and labels.

Homesteading is also about really knowing your land, whether that land is your backyard or your neighborhood or both. This too is a very magical quality. To paraphrase Phyllis Curott, a witch is someone who pays attention. We notice how many squirrel nests we have in our neighborhood, where we can find wild herbs, how rain affects our property, the changing light through the seasons, and other ways in which we and nature coexist. The garden and our animals teach us about life and death, give and take, ebb and flow. These are all aspects of energy we must know intimately to work magic of any kind.

When I was thinking about writing this blog post I imagined I would post things like an amulet you might make to hang in the chicken coop to keep the girls safe from predators, or how conjuring a dragon can be a form of magical protection for your homestead. If you would like to learn some of these tricks, check out Magical Housekeeping by Tess Whitehurst or Cottage Witchery by Ellen Dugan. Both books have lots of great ideas to magic your homestead. I realized while writing this post, though, that homesteading is an act of magic all itself. Just like it's not the tool that holds the magic, but your consciousness, it's not the spells that make a home magical but the power in your heart.

Blessed be!


mama p said...

so very inspiring!! currently i've been thinking about an "urban solstice"-- about how to mark a day that in the past, i've spent wandering in nearby woods. perhaps a post about how urban homesteaders might go about it? ;)

Clea Danaan said...

Great idea mama p! Thank you!

Love ya.