I know I talk a lot about high-falutin’ psychological stuff.
So I figured today I’d just share with you some of my fundamental house-witching tips.
The material, after all, is the spiritual. Nirvana is samsara, the jewel is in the lotus; the Morningstar is both Christ and Lucifer, so on, etc., paradox gloriously abounds.
Many of these practices you may already do yourself, and maybe you could just use a little kick of an inspiring reminder.
1. Make tinctures and other herbal medicines from your environs.
I learned from my herbalist best friends (shout out to Annie Derek & Crystal Woodling) that lots of us have wild medicinal plants growing somewhere nearby – including precious “weeds” like dandelion and nettle and mugwort.
A potent way to connect to the spirits of the land you live on is to harvest that medicine and make into into teas or tinctures.
I have an elder tree in my yard.
I put my daily offering to the spirits at the base of the tree each morning.
This spring I harvested the elder flowers and made a tincture out of them, which I now take everyday.
I find it not only helps me with the medicinal property that elder flowers are good for (bronchial system clearing) but it also strengthens my gratitude for and connection to the land I live on.
Here’s some good basic instructions on making tinctures.
2. Hide sigils under your bed, behind the family photos on the mantle; and just everywhere, basically.
Material symbols, like sigils that you’ve charged with your intent (here’s my fav Grant Morrison video explaining sigils in case you don’t know of which I speak or you want a refresher), gain power when they are hidden…
…which is to say, when they are occulted.
Because things in the psyche gain power when occulted into the unconscious – and “As above, so below; as within, so without.”
When you hide a sigil under your bed, it’s like hiding that symbol deep within your unconscious.
A hidden sigil acts more powerfully because it is unseen. When you think about it, all the most powerful forces are unseen – gravity, for example. You can see its effects but not the force itself.
So if you really want a sigil to act powerfully on your life, hide it like the divine hides gravity.
3. Burn cedar for clearing
Sage is usually the “go to” clearing herb in many New Age circles – but somewhere along the line I learned from a Lakota water-pourer that cedar is best for clearing out “yucky” energies, while sage is best for drawing good spirits in.
So that’s what I do.
At least weekly (I usually get around to it on Saturday or Sunday, while I’m tidying the house) I burn cedar in all the rooms (cedar smudge sticks are sold, but it works best to burn the cedar on hot coals) to clear.
Then I burn sage to invite in the good spirits.
4. Spray Agua de Florida
Agua de Florida is a strong citrus-y cologne traditionally used both by ayahuasca shamans in the Amazon and also by HooDoo practitioners and practitioners of African Diasporic Traditions of magic.
It’s also used for clearing and freshening spiritual energies.
I keep a little spray bottle that’s mostly spring water inside with a dash of Agua de Florida (the stuff is STRONG), and spray it all around the house everyday to “clear the air.”
It’s quicker and easier than burning the cedar, and the scent is delightful.
5. Charge your crystals in the light of the full moon
The main reason to do this is so you can dodge unwanted evening conversations in a way that makes you sound like Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books:
“Oh I’m so sorry, but I just have to get home right away so I can charge my crystals in the moonlight!”
You may think it makes you sound weird, but really it makes you sound fascinating. It’s the urgency, the urgency is the fascinating part.
But seriously, charging crystals in the light of the full moon helps to sync them with the current astral energies, and it’s just plain fun.
I’m not gonna lie: it took me a long time to get really down with crystals – I always loved them, used them in spells, but felt uneasy about vague metaphysical claims made about rocks.
Until my husband bought me a rainbow quartz, and I felt it vibrate in my hand.
That combined with some pithy lines in The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge about how quarts amplifies the same kind of electro-magnetic energy that our DNA emits – and, lo, my heart felt free to embrace the crystal woo.
6. See cleaning as a magical act and not just a chore
Books like The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up have brought popular attention to the emotional and spiritual value of cleaning.
And just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s any less esoterically true. ;)
Cleaning was always something I hated and avoided – until I began to see it as a means of simultaneously cleaning my inner landscape.
I like to set aside a day around the New Moon and get real deep into it – put on music, clean, and as I clean imagine that I’m opening space for receiving new surprises – and of course, do the cedar and sage and Agua de Florida.
7. Talk and sing to your food while you’re making it
Talking and singing to plants is something folks do – have you thought about talking and singing to your skillet of carmelizing onions or your pot of pasta?
You can tell it exactly how you want people to feel as they eat it, how much you love it (the food), and exactly how you want it to nourish you.
A pervasive sad thing in modern culture is the notion that only people or pets or deities are worth communicating with.
I think it’s wonderful to give thanks to your deity for your food, and also delightful to talk directly to the food.
Food is people too :)
After all your charging and spraying and clearing and carmelizing and sigilizing, kick up your feet and wickedly revel in your plans for world domination, whilst enjoying the elevated domestic atmosphere.
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image: Baba Yaga Hut by geekatplay