Meet Burnice – The Red Woman


The Goddess of the Stove
A beautiful old woman
Clad in red garments
Hair knotted
On the top of her head
Charged with brewing medicines
seeking prolongation of life
a most noble aim

Worship this beautiful old woman
The Goddess of the Stove
Clad in red garments
Her hair delicately knotted
On the top of her head
Converting cinnabar
In to golden drinking vessels
The most noble of deeds

Give audience to
The Goddess of the Stove
A beautiful old woman
Clad simply in red
Hair twisted, knotted
On the top of her head
Plays music on warm pipes
Ripening millet amid frozen earth

Make due sacrifice
To the Goddess of the Stove
the immortals of Pengai
Living in the midst of the ocean
Make offerings to
The five sacred mountains
the four great rivers and
Give breath to immortal words
by Heather Blakey 2005

Meet my new friend and house mate “Burnice’, or, as her close friends will come to know her, Burnie!

Baba Yaga finally relented and gave me some fresh fire sticks and I scurried back home and fired up Burnie, who had lain idle, patiently waiting for two years.

When I had my home here in Castlemaine renovated there was an ugly fire space that needed to be reinvented. I engaged a stonemason and he used Castlemaine slate to give the fire place a whole new life. The space is very spectacular.

I am not sure why I was so slow firing up Burnie. Maybe it was that I had a few years where I had to maintain a non efficient, wood gobbling fire in the farmhouse I was living in at Wheatsheaf. Gas and electricity seemed easier.

Little did I appreciate just how much Burnie would ‘light up’ the place or how much I would enjoy working with her. Her presence is very comforting and already she is helping me make delicious soups, casseroles and delectable roasts.

We are ready to play host on cold winter days and nights!

Of course having ‘activated’ Burnie it now means I am out and about in the autumn sunshine, foraging for pine cones and kindling. There is a surplus of this scattered in spots around the region. Burnie has no need to go hungry. I now have quite a big stash and will gather more before the winter rains come.

So! When you see joint posts from Burnie and I you will know who I am talking about.

5 thoughts on “Meet Burnice – The Red Woman

  1. Just the thing for those chilly Castlemaine winters. It does feel like we are in for a early winter doesn’t it. 🙂

      • Winter does seem long these past few years. I like to get away in July too. I’m going to Ireland for a short visit on a family matter this year but it won’t really be a holiday. I hope you are planning on going somewhere exciting.

  2. Lovely post, Heather, good to see Burnie up and happening, and all this ceremony is just right for her. It is timely, as chilly is the word for the first bit of winter!!

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