Ever since I dedicated myself to Hestia, I’ve discovered that working with a goddess with such a low profile means I have had to create my own practices and rituals. On the one hand, as a book-learned witch, this is a bit intimidating. On the other hand, it offers me plenty of opportunities to be creative.
To that end, one of the customs I am working into my daily practice is the use of an anointing oil. I use it not only for dressing candles, but in consecration of various items: the pots and pans I use, the crock pot, the fridge, the doorjamb of the front door. The oil provides a conduit between myself and Hestia. Through that conduit we speak and outline those parts of my home and my life I want in which I want her direct involvement.
To make the oil I filled a jar one third full of dried sage leaves. As mentioned above, Hestia is a low-key goddess. She’s not necessarily little known, but little written about. Finding out what herbs are sacred to Hestia is difficult. One source I found suggested that whatever culinary herbs one uses would be appropriate. Rather than just throwing the contents of my spice rack in the jar, I chose an herb that I don’t often use in cooking, and which I have on hand dried and whole.
I filled the rest of the jar with olive oil. Seeing how Hestia hails from the Greek pantheon this was an appropriate oil to use.
Once the oil was added, I capped the bottle, gave it a shake and consecrated it to Hestia.
The oil was supposed to spend two weeks in my apothecary. However, I ran into a problem a couple days into the process. The apothecary is currently housed in the garage, which is unheated. On day three, when I went out to give my oil its twice-daily shake I found the oil had been affected by the winter cold. It wasn’t quite frozen, but it had definitely solidified. I moved the jar into the kitchen pantry and it soon returned to a more liquid state.
Oils can be left for up to four weeks, as long as you shake them twice a day. But I’m an impatient witch, so I let it sit for only two. I strained the oil, composted the spent herbs, and put the oil to use.
Of course, now that I have oil on hand for daily use, I am in talks with Hestia about what other herbs are appropriate for use when working with her. It’s a conversation I believe will happen over and over, as I strengthen our relationship. And it’s work that I’m looking forward to, something that I wouldn’t ever engage in if I stuck strictly to “book witchery”.