I’ve been meaning to write about the term hearth culture for a while now. It’s one of those ADF artifacts in my practice that I might not have thought of on my own.
ADF requires that dedicants chose a hearth culture during their dedicant’s path work. Initially, I equated hearth culture with ‘pantheon.’ I figured that I picked a set of Gods and that was it. Initially, I thought I’d “give the Celtic Gods a go” and went with them. That didn’t work out, and I eventually switched to the Roman pantheon.
But, in trying to draw closer to my Gods, to understand them and to understand how I can form a relationship with them, I found myself sinking further and further into the culture part of the thing. Culture is defined as:
- the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively
- the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society
And, slowly, that’s what I’m getting into. I’m a big fan of anything that promises to help me “think like a Roman.” I cooked Roman food. I read Roman history. I contemplated Roman virtus.
Initially, I liked the idea that “the Romans belong to nobody.” Being an outsider in Germany was enough. I didn’t want to also be an outsider in another culture, as well. Blah.
Eventually, I found myself frustrated to think that I was emulating a culture that embraced slavery. I had to become critical of what I praised and chose to emulate about the Romans. I found myself fascinated as what I learned about the Romans grew enough to be a ‘second cultural lens’ through which I could view the world around me. Super helpful.
And then I started contemplating the word “hearth.” It’s equated with the idea of home in the expression “hearth and home,” but what is it?
I don’t have an answer, yet, but it’s basically the fire, with all that entails, at the center of your home. And, I have to say that I’ll welcome a lot of people into my home — my landlord, various handymen, the delivery guy, neighbors, missionaries — who I wouldn’t want to sit around my fire with me.
My conclusion: A hearth is more intimate than a home.
And, throw the word ‘culture’ on there, with the good and the bad that that entails, and you get the “culture of your intimate space.”
A better writer, or a more well-thought out post, would tie all this up with a bow. I don’t have that.
I just like the idea that I started off with a set of Gods — probably not even the most important part of my spiritual path — and wound up with the culture of my intimate space.