Close Notification

Your cart does not contain any items

Tradition of Household Spirits

Ancestral Lore and Practices

Claude Lecouteux (Claude Lecouteux)



Not in-store but you can order this
How long will it take?


Inner Traditions Bear and Company
21 July 2013
Examines how the ancient customs of constructing and keeping a house formed a sacred bond between homes and their inhabitants * Shares many tales of house spirits, from cajoling the local land spirit into becoming one's house spirit to the good and bad luck bestowed by mischievous house elves * Explains the meaning behind door and window placement, house orientation, horsehead gables, the fireplace or hearth, and the threshold * Reveals the charms, chants, prayers, and building practices used by our ancestors to bestow happiness and prosperity upon their homes and their occupants Why do we hang horseshoes for good luck or place wreaths on our doors? Why does the groom carry his new bride over the threshold? These customs represent the last vestiges from a long, rich history of honoring the spirits of our homes. They show that a house is more than a building: it is a living being with a body and soul.

Examining the extensive traditions surrounding houses from medieval times to the present, Claude Lecouteux reveals that, before we entered the current era of frequent moves and modular housing, moving largely from the countryside into cities, humanity had an extremely sacred relationship with their homes and all the spirits who lived there alongside them--from the spirit of the house itself to the mischievous elves, fairies, and imps who visited, invited or not. He shows how every aspect of constructing and keeping a house involved rites, ceremony, customs, and taboos to appease the spirits, including the choice of a building lot and the very materials with which it was built. Uncovering the lost meaning behind door and window placement, the hearth, and the threshold, Lecouteux shares many tales of house spirits, from the offerings used to cajole the local land spirit into becoming the domestic house spirit to the good and bad luck bestowed upon those who seek the help of the Little Money Man. He draws on studies and classic literature from old Europe--from Celtic lands and Scandinavia to France and Germany to the far eastern borders of Europe and into Russia--to explain the pagan roots behind many of these traditions.

Revealing our ancestors' charms, prayers, and practices to bestow happiness and prosperity upon their homes, Lecouteux shows that we can invite the spirits back into our houses, old or new, and restore the sacred bond between home and inhabitant.
By:   Claude Lecouteux (Claude Lecouteux)
Imprint:   Inner Traditions Bear and Company
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 17mm
Weight:   1g
ISBN:   9781620551059
ISBN 10:   1620551055
Pages:   240
Publication Date:   21 July 2013
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active
Foreword by Ronald Grambo Acknowledgments Introduction: More Than a Simple Building Part One The House and Its Grounds 1 The House and Its Construction 2 The Building 3 The Openings of the House 4 The House Interior Part Two The House Spirits 5 Domestic Spirits in Antiquity and the Middle Ages 6 The Origin of House Spirits 7 The Manifestations of Household Spirits 8 The Purveyor Spirits 9 Haunted Houses Once Upon a Time . . . Appendix 1 Sayings and Beliefs Appendix 2 The Alf Appendix 3 A Brief Summa Notes Bibliography Index

Claude Lecouteux is a former professor of medieval literature and civilization at the Sorbonne. He is the author of numerous books on medieval and pagan afterlife beliefs, including The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses. He lives in Paris.

Reviews for Tradition of Household Spirits: Ancestral Lore and Practices

There is no other author alive who so thoroughly examines the subject as Claude Lecouteux. --Rebecca Elson, publisher/writer of The Magical Buffet website

See Also