It’s been a rather unique Spring thus far and I’ve got a lot of blog posts I’m excited to catch up on, but over at the Pagan Blog Project, it’s time for the letter “H”. I’ll start here and work backwards as time permits.
The spiritual work of tending the home is found in every culture around the world because the home is an extension of the body. One can be spiritually cleansed in their personhood but be living in a space that isn’t at all conducive to wellness. There are all kinds of factors at play when it comes to a dwelling’s ability to support us in our endeavors – building layouts, history, spirits attached to the space, other entities (both benign and not-so-much), land spirits, local influences, and those sharing the space with us. Unfortunately, almost all of the protocols inherent in the building and care of homes and buildings as found in world traditions have been entirely abandoned by those of us living in the West, leaving yet another door wide open to us experiencing dis-ease and disharmony.
Chinese Feng Shui is a popular (and highly effective, I might add) form of architectural and design orientation and remediation.
Some Northern European towns still adamantly plan city projects and construction away from known local hotspots and dwellings of little folk, or non-human and rarely seen races of people that live under the earth.
Some African cultures, like that of the Dagara, build their homes on a foundation of ash made from the dirt and remains of their ancestors, forming the basis of their home’s protection.
Besides the multitude of ritual acts that went into traditional European house building and barn raising, innumerable charms and fetishes have been remembered from this and other regions for warding off evil, inviting prosperity, and maintaining peace, all directly tied to the power of the home as an extension of the bodies of those living there.
I’m unfortunately a bit too busy to be a receptionist for every dead person that shows up on my doorstep.
After moving into my current abode, I found myself battling a number of energetic issues that I’d never faced before. Between a passive-aggressive house spirit (a conscious entity comprised of a former roommate’s own familial traumas), a building layout that seemed to direct lost souls directly to my bedroom, and all-around difficult energy to push, cut, and wade through on a daily basis, I was getting convinced that I’d have to leave. After turning the house spirit into an ally through almost a full day’s work of journeying to help resolve the family history entangled in it and crafting unique wards prescribed by my helping spirits for keeping hungry lost dead at bay, there was still something inherently “off” about the space that my usual house cleansing techniques couldn’t remedy.
While journeying to speak with my spirits on a separate topic, one of my helping spirits dropped a corn kernel into my hand. The symbol repeated itself the next day with ears of corn catching my eye at the local grocery store. Upon divining, my spirits indicated that offerings made to the land spirits on my block would bring a big improvement. Being a healthy shaman and spiritworker for me has meant regular grounding exercises, intense dancing in ritual space, and other actions that directly draw on the energetic resources of the land for support. $1.29 later, I was walking around my Brooklyn block sprinkling corn kernels at spots that seemed “hungry,” all the while apologizing to the spirits of the land for the actions of my species and expressing my desire to be in good relationship with them.
I returned home and sat down to answer some e-mails but quickly found myself completely overwhelmed by what I can only describe as an energetic “whoosh” from beneath me to high above and the feeling of being far beneath the ground for a period of at least 20 minutes. The land spirits here are hungry and even a cursory look into the industrial history of Williamsburg, Brooklyn (home of NYC’s only chemical and nuclear storage facility) can give us a clue as to why.
Gratefully, my home / land issues were brought to an end and things feel entirely different her. Now the house spirit gets a mug of tea every Sunday (he’s fancy). The land spirits — albeit an ongoing project of resolution far beyond one person’s ability to handle — get red wine and corn monthly. And my maintenance rites of smudging and cleansing are far more effective.
But what would it look like if the relationship between humans, land, and the spirits that dwell between us were tended again on a grand scale?
I’ve found that the most effective housing and building remedies are uncovered through divination and / or shamanic journeying, but most folks have beloved go-to rites that they employ at regular intervals in the spaces that they inhabit. In the hoodoo tradition, the most beloved rite is a floorwash — a literal washing of floors and other surfaces with a infusion of botanicals and minerals of choice. It works equally well for homes as well as businesses and other spaces, though there are many popular variations based on the purpose of the space.
How to Perform a Spiritual Cleansing of Your Space
Chinese Wash is the most popular preparation for cleansing spaces among practitioners of hoodoo.
Pour a teaspoon, tablespoon, or more of Chinese Wash into a bucket of hot water, depending on the size of the premises. (In a pinch, a strong tea of Lemongrass might do the trick.)
As led by Spirit, you may desire to add an additional infusion of herbs or curios with cleansing properties to this floorwash as well – Hyssop, Florida Water, and Sea Salt are all great options in accordance with their correspondences in hoodoo lore. A capful of Ammonia can be added, but bear in mind that it’s known to really strip away everything in the space, so only do this in the case of serious spiritual grime (and be prepared to do some spiritual rebuilding of conjurations particular to your home). If an Uncrossing bath has been performed, a bit of the run-off captured from the bath can be added to the floorwash as well.
Pray over this infusion, intending that any and all harmful energies in the space will be removed. You can add a commercial detergent as well, depending upon the needs of your space. With a mop, squeegee, or sponge, cleanse the space from the back room to the front or main room. If multi-floored, start by cleansing the top floor and work your way down, ending with the groundfloor and always working from the back of the space to the front / entrance, including with each room. As you cleanse, pray and intend that your space is made clean and new. Some find reciting Psalm 23 to be very appropriate for this rite.
If the space is carpeted, lightly wetting a broom and sweeping it over the carpet in the same fashion works just as well. Make sure to give the entryways of the home and of each room extra attention.
When finished, pour the leftover scrub water into your front yard or dispose of it at a crossroads. I like to throw it toward the West, in the direction of the sun’s setting (bringing an end to any crossed conditions), but many prefer the East as per tradition.
Now make a new floorwash, but this time using conjure and condition oils and / or an infusion of botanicals, minerals, and curios that speak to the things you’d like to attract into your space. Some ideas include Basil for protection, Mint for money, Rose for love, Lavender for peace and harmony, or other favorite allies as you are led by Spirit. Mop or scrub from the sidewalk, outer hallway, or up the steps into the entryway of your home, again paying special attention to the home’s threshold. Pray and intend that those things you desire are present in your life and visualize with confidence that you have them already. Pour this floorwash in your backyard (if living in an apartment, down your toilet will probably suffice).
Now take a conjure or condition oil that is intended to aid with protection and anoint all doors and windows leading to the outside world in a five-spot pattern – one dab in each corner and one in the center. Intend that your space is protected from any and all harm and that all blessings that you receive are kept.
Some folks follow this up with the sprinkling of such preparations as Peace Water for harmony at home and the inviting of peaceful spirits or Four Thieves Vinegar for protecting the space.
Performing this rite at regular intervals can make a huge impact on your space’s harmony and ability to support productivity.