(Note: I wrote this on the 5th of February)
"One custom held on February 1 in honor of Bridget is a spring cleaning. The house is cleaned from top to bottom, and the women call out to the Goddess to welcome her," (Wishart).
This is especially true for myself and my family this year as we have to completely clean out our house in order for my father to redo our bathroom, laundry room, two of the bedrooms, and do a bunch of other renovations all before my sister’s baby arrives in July! I’m actually looking at a stack of boxes sitting in my room as I write this.
Traditionally I start my personal spring cleaning every year on February 3rd, though this year I woke up a tad ill so the cleaning started yesterday.
Cleaning in and of itself is a very important task for the witch, even if we don’t often thing about it. My favorite saying is “negativity brews in dusty corners,” and boy is that true! There are usually far more arguments in my home when its messy, but this also spills into magick. Try working a spell in a dirty room and see how well it turns out! And very few gods or entities will appreciate being summoned into a room with a pile or laundry sitting in the corner. Speaking of I should go take care of that!
Now that that’s taken care of, one way to think of cleaning is like this: You wouldn’t be able to work magick on a dirty cluttered altar would you? Things would be burned by candles and incense and soaked by water and wine. But how, you may be asking, can you incorporate your pagan ways into this oh so sacred task?
In ancient Egypt, temples employed several wab priest and priestesses to take care of the temple. They cleaned statues and ritual tools. Organized altars and kept them tidy. They picked up after large rituals and even saw to it that the other priests and priestesses were keeping good hygiene! I even once read that everyone had to serve as a wab priest at least once in their life. Why? Because the Ancient Egyptians understood how important it is to have a clean temple. And for most of us, our home is our temple.
Deborah Blake has four important steps to keep in mind during spring cleaning: Intention, smudging, salt and water, and blessing. Before you begin she suggests taking a few moments to think about your intent. Visualize clearing away all the negativity and bringing in positive, fresh, cleansing energy to replace it. She also suggests opening a window in each room if the weather will allow it. After the physical cleaning is done, walk room to room with a burning smudge stick, then do the same by sprinkling salt water. She also suggests adding a few drops of rosemary essential oil to the water or soaking rosemary in the water, to add a protective element. When you are completely finished she suggests blessing your home.
She also suggests adding purification and protections oils to your mop water (i.e. geranium, lemon, rosemary), or to sprinkle a few drops on the floor before sweeping.
It’s probably pretty obvious, but natural cleaners are the preferred cleaners for magickal home maintenance. even if it’s homemade! I actually keep recipes for homemade cleaners in my book of shadows!
Silver RavenWolf included a full chapter on magickal housecleaning, which she calls “spiritual cleaning”, in her book To Light a Sacred Flame. She suggests not only empowering al your cleaning supplies before you begin, but also planning out your cleaning intentions room by room. She suggests getting index cards (one for each room) and labeling them. Each card should include the energies you want to evoke there, as well as the colors, deities, magickal symbol, and element that goes with that energy. And optionally, the week day or moon phase best for that energy. The card in my hand (written last year) is for my bedroom and this is how it reads:
Bedroom- sun/mon/wed/fri. new/waxing moon.
- Energies- peace and creativity
- Colors- purple and blue
- Deity- Brighid
- Magickal Symbol- Ken
- Animal- Dragonfly
- Element- Water
Ideally you’d fill out a card for each room. RavenWolf states that there are five main parts to spiritual house cleaning.
- "removing all negative energy fields".
- Filling the home with positive energy
- Invoking the intended “divine” energies
- aligning elemental energies to your intended energies
- securing the positive energies in the home
Negative energy pockets (often in corners) are areas in your home that always seem to evoke negative emotions. They may also be areas that feel unnaturally “sticky”, “heavy”, “soft/hard”, but definitely different than its surroundings. Go room to room and break these up by using bells, rattles, drums, and the like. I prefer bells. This can either follow or prepare for the physical cleaning, although I’ve found it easier to locate these energy pockets when the room is clean. I then tend to go through the house with either a smudge stick or purification incense, followed by a lit candle (just walk through the home), and I end with the salt water. If we need an added protection boost at my house I sprinkle sea salt in the crack between the doors (there’s generally a teeny between the floor and the door frame, or the track for a sliding door) and in the metal of your window frames. I then invoke deities room by room as well as individual elementals and release them before moving on to the next room.
When doing overall house cleaning and blessing, I prefer the follwoing two charms by Wishart and Blake respectively:
"Goddess Bridget, I ask your blessing on my life. May it be filled to overflowing with goodness and love. May you bring prosperity and happiness to me. May your warmth light my home and my heart. Thank you, dear Goddess."
"Bless this home where I reside,
Keep it safe from woe and harm,
Watch over those who here abide,
I make it so by will and charm.”
You can also bless the utilities (i.e. furnace, water heater, plumbing, and electricity) and major appliances. My coffee pot is blessed and I had to resist the urge to bless it in the name of the mighty goddess Caffeina!
Other was to incorporate magick into home maintenance is through banishing ghosts (only do this if they are “evil” [ie, causing physical harm] or if they’ve made it openly known that they want this. My great-great grandparents still reside in our home and we’d never think of banishing them!)., and pagan decorating. There are whole books dedicated to these so I”ll save those topics for another day.
Ella’s Spring Cleaning Tips
- Go through your clothes and shoes. Put what needs mending in one pile, what doesn’t fit in antoher, and throw out wat isn’t repairagl or is too stained. What doesn’t fit (or you simply don’t want) can be donated to GoodWill, homeless shelters, women’s shelters or several other local charities. This can also be applied to books and children’s toys. Most local Churches will also take these items and donate them, but you’ll want to call ahead to find out.
- If you grow your own herbs, hang hooks or a small coat rack on the wall and you can use it to hang herbs to dry later in the spring and summer.
- Those pesky ant infestations will be arriving in a month or tow. Peppermint oil sprinkled around the home and entrances will prevent their invasion.
- Plant a lilac bush on your property for protection. (My great-great grandparents planted one when they built our house and nothing bad ever happens here. We’ve had lightening and tornados hit the yards on all four sides of our home, but our entire property has never been damaged in the 50 some odd years that bush has been here).
- Avoid all chemical house cleaners. Homemade cleaners are safer for children and pets, smell better, and are often cheaper.
- Pine oil is good for general cleaning.
- Baking powder is your friend and has multiple cleaning purposes.
- sweep/mop/vacuum from east to west.
- Following spring cleaning is a good time to begin new projects create or break habits, and start new traditions.
- Take a few minutes to flip through your book of shadows. Mend torn pages. Go over faded writing, etc. This is especially true if you have a 3 ring “Binder of Shadows”. I have a journal bos, a large “leather” bound we use for m coven, bu I also keep a binder used for random planning and notes, deity information, to-do lists, the list of those who’ve died since samhain (this list is used in my Samhain ritual), all my herbal and healing notes, the bulk of my spells and rituals, and essentially anything I need to be able to find on a regular basis. So for me spring cleaning includes organizing this monster (it’s over 3 inches thick!), replacing pages that are ripping out and rewriting pages that are no longer readable. I also take the time to add things that are needed, and remove things that aren’t (I have a stack of things that need to be added!).
- Take inventory of your magickal cabinet as well as you kitchen cabinets! If you’re like me and my family we stock up on most things in november. Herbs, canned goods, things we’ve canned ourselves, candles, fabrics, thread, and by spring we’re running low and several things and out of others. It’s always a good idea to clean out the cupboards and take inventory. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve swore we were out of something only to find it in the very back corner! It’s also a good time to look through the kids’ school supplies.
- If you start your spring cleaning around Imbolc it’s also a great time to make hand-dipped candles! I suggest using beeswax for this. If you prefer to make jar candles you can use soy. I’ve never seen soy candles in anything other than jars, so I don’t know if it can be used for votives or tapers.
- Soap making is also a good spring craft idea because it can be done on rainy days and the kids can get involved.
Blake, Deborah. The Goddess is in the Details. Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, MN.
RavenWolf, Silver. To Light a Sacred Flame. (1993). Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, MN.
Wishart, Catherine. Teen Goddess. (2003). Llewellyn Publications. St. Paul, MN.