Maybe because I’m sentimental, and maybe because I’m a nerd, I’ve been exploring the ancient world of Proto-Indo-European (PIE) culture lately. For those not as nerdy as I am, PIE is a term used to describe the common ancestor for all peoples whose genetic lineage traces to prehistoric Eurasia. This includes peoples from Northern Europe, the British Isles and Ireland, mainland Central and Western Europes, Eastern Europe, India and what the West terms the ‘Near-East’.
PIE studies usually centre around reconstruction of the language and, subsequently, the culture of the PIEs. Using comparative techniques known to people like linguists and mythologists, a fairly decent reconstruction can be made in a lot of areas (according to our current techniques and understandings of them, anway). PIE stuff generally satisfies me on several levels then – history, language stuff, and most importantly the shared human heritage of a very large number of people in the Eurasian landmass and our relatives who immigrated to the Americas, Australia and Indonesia.
Part of my personal exploration of this has involved delving into the shared religion of these peoples. A lot of religions trace their roots to the PIE religion, and whilst the names have been reconstructed using fancy techniques I don’t understand, it brings me joy to realise that members of our species once engaged in ritual practices around the worship of these people.
And this is why I want to discuss my Slow Cooker.
I came across the goddess *Haéusōs. She is characterised as the goddess of the dawn, and her descendants include the Greek Eos, the Germanic Ostara (Easter) and the Vedic Uṣás among hundreds of others. Interestingly, the PIEs are thought to have conceived of the hearth, a fire that forms the centre of the home’s social world, as a small piece of the Sun (and therefore the dawn). *Haéusōs is therefore associated with the Hearth as one of the primary and most important deities; since the Hearth was such an important concept in the PIE social universe.
Recently, *Haéusōs is making her importance known to me in my home. Now, I’m not particularly religious in the theistic sense but I am a stickler for ritual and for anything that connects us to other humans (including dead ones). So I will continue to elaborate. I’ve been streamlining myself and sidelining some bad habits lately, and among my toolkit is my slow cooker.
Slow cookers are fucking brilliant. They aren’t amazing with dried legumes, but still. You just load them with things, set them away, and turn up 6 hours later to find delicious food. If that’s not pagan ritual magic I don’t know what is. Anyway, since I’ve been using my slow cooker a LOT more, it’s sort of become the centre of my world at home. Food is my big vice, and the better quality of food I can prepare for myself the better. I’ve been living off of slow cooked chilli this year, and have recently begun playing with a slow cooker daal. It’s amazing. And I’m only going to start on more elaborate things. Anyway, my point is sort of that as my slow cooker becomes more and more important as a tool in my daily life, I feel that it’s grown somewhat akin to the Hearth of PIE history. It’s nice that, even with the advances in technology, I can maintain a practice that humanity has shared for time immemorial – sitting down to a damn good warm meal at the end of the day, one which has been heating through for hours.
All hail *Haéusōs.