Ancestral energy lives in the stars above us, the stones beneath us. Their memory gathers in oceans, rivers and seas. It hums its silent wisdom within the body of every tree.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

House Cleansing & Home Blessing

It’s Fall Equinox and the world where I live is turning towards longer nights and shorter days, more dark and less sun. We’re getting ready to close the storm windows and hang the heavier curtains, to put the fans and air conditioners away and clean out the furnace filters. In the Northeast it’s time for apple picking, baked apples, apple cider and homemade donuts. The earth is cold and leaves will begin to turn, to crisp and fall, swirling in the air until they cover the ground like a blanket. It’s my favorite time of year.
Winter is hard and in the spring we gleefully throw open our windows and curtains, letting the first of the warmer air blow through as we let the light hit corners of our darkened caves, our fortresses. So in the autumn, before I close my house up to the world, I do a special house cleansing and home blessing as a means to prepare our apartment to shelter us. Just as our bodies are the temple of our spirits and deserve the best of our attentions and care, our homes are the temples our bodies depend on. It is more to me than wood and flooring, than roof and wall. It is my sanctuary, my resting place. When it is full of clutter and cobwebs, and doubt and shadow I need to recharge, reboot the energy or I start to feel antsy in my apartment, like my skin is crawling.
My partner and I have performed house cleansings and home blessings for friends and loved ones for a variety of reasons: a new home or remodel, a traumatic death in the home, the loss of a loved one, haunting, feelings of being watched, as well as general otherworldly activity. They can be done in an afternoon or an evening, within a couple of hours, depending on how thickly the energy needs to be cleansed and laid. We teach people how to do it themselves, if they are interested. After all, no one is better suited to build the temple of your home than the ones who live in it.
What I share here is a three day cleansing that I have adapted for my personal use in the autumn. Set up an altar in the room that you consider to be the heart of your home. All you need on it is a candle, to serve as a hearth. You can add items that are personal and meaningful for you, including photos of your family- anything that warms your heart and fills you with that feeling. Feel free to personalize it to suit your preferences and tastes. Intention is the most powerful magical tool.

House Cleansing, Day One
The purpose of the first day is to cleanse, clear and empty your house of unwanted energies. Start at the back of the home and sweep towards the outside door of your house that you normally use as your main entrance and exit. I use an actual broom to stir the air and push it in front of me. Go through every room, pushing towards the main door. When you’re done, open the door and sweep it outside.
Now that the energy is stirred and moved, grab rattles, drums, pots and pans… anything that makes noise. Start at the back of the home again, make some noise, and move towards and out the front door. The purpose of this is to chase out anything lurking in your home that wishes you harm or ill, be it an entity or a repository of negative emotional gunk. If you have trouble moving the energy it may be helpful to chant “bad energy out of my house” while you’re working.
To finish off the first day, I burn some white sage, commonly found in smudge stick forms. You can also find it as incense sticks. I also use copal or camphor when I’m low on sage. Both of them are strong herb and resin purifiers.

Resting, Day Two
This day is optional, but it is simple and it does help add a substantial boost to the magic of the cleansing. Burn a cinnamon candle all day. I have also grated cinnamon sticks and burned the shavings over charcoal in a brazier, but if this isn’t something you use regularly, I’d stick with the candle.
Why cinnamon? It’s not just for baking. Cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, is the dried bark of the laurel tree. It’s native to Sri Lanka and was originally the only place it was grown. Most of the cinnamon we use today is Cinnamomum cassia and comes from the cassia tree.
Use of the spice is found in Chinese writings back to 2800 BC and the Egyptians were importing it from China in 2000 BC, using it to embalm in the mummification process. The phenols in cinnamon inhibit bacteria growth and act as a preservative. In the bible, it’s an ingredient in Moses’ anointing oils. The Romans burned it at funerals and used it as currency. Think of the sacred vibrations of this spice as your home fills with the scent.

Home Blessing, Day Three
            The home blessing is the most important part, coming full circle, closing and sealing the gaps. It is about sacredly blessing all of the portals where energy comes in and out of your house, creating a protective filter. Light a candle on the altar you created for this cleansing and blessing. You need a bowl of salt water, a small dish or vial of oil (olive oil works fine) and sage. If it is just you, you will use each of these one at a time. This is a good excuse to invite some friends over and, sharing their love for you, to fill your house with more warmth.
Work room to room and anoint every portal with a tiny dab of water, oil, and then smoke from the sage. By portals I mean electrical outlets, heating grates, windows, doorways, televisions, computers, faucets and drains, toilets, tubs and showers, etc. Do not stick your wet or oily fingers in the outlets- for the love! I just run a dab along the outlet casing. While you’re doing this, speak words to the effect of:
Protect my home and family from harmful energies.
Be mindful while you are working the magic but do not be somber. After all, we are turning into the darker months of the year, yes, but the intention is to fill the house with the light and warmth we harvested through the summer months. When you are finished, pour the remains of the salt water across the bottom threshold of your porch or stoop and ask the Ancestors to watch over you.
May it be so. Ase.

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