Having moved recently, my partner and I are currently residing in the limbo of a mediocre Airbnb (the knives in this house couldn’t cut cellophane). While we wait to find something more permanent, I’ve begun to think a lot about the way we tend the energy of our homes.
I would wager the vast majority of people these days probably don’t consider much of a spiritual element in the way that they care for their dwelling space, save, perhaps, for a yoga or meditation corner. The closest iteration of ritual for some people is likely in the way they decorate, or even the regularity with which they clean their homes.
As a person who is drawn to the art of subtle energies (intuition, psychic experiences, empathic feelings, etc.), I was very intrigued to come across The House Witch by Arin Murphy-Hiscock just days before our move. In all my studies of magic, alternative healing, and the like, the most I’ve ever come across about “hearthcraft,” if you will, can be generally summed up by the following statement:
“It’s important to take care of the energy in your space.”
There often isn’t much more to it, so in the past I’ve done a few things here and there, but mostly ignored the energy in my home because, save for a neglected altar and a periodic smoke cleansing, I didn’t know what else to do.
It is not a new concept to make the home a sacred space, but it is, I believe, in this period of collective upheaval and uncertainty, a better time than most to start trying. Cultivating helpful, loving energy in your home can be as simple or as formal (I’m looking at you, Capricorn!) as you’d like to make it. One of the most beneficial aspects of cultivating magic, chi, or energy in your home is that this spruced-up vibration then flows into other areas of your life. If this seems like a foreign concept, consider this:
Many of the principles of home and hearth magic share their ethos with Buddhist and mindfulness-based practices.
In a nutshell, cultivating the energy in your home can be done by focusing in the following key areas, which have been paraphrased and expanded from The House Witch:
- Learning to be present. This can be especially helpful in moments when we feel tired or rushed, such as trying to get dressed to get out the door, or sluggishly putting together a meal at the end of a long day. Focusing on the task at hand rather than what has happened in the past or the future helps to calm the mind and as such, the environment around you.
- Creating intention. Even the smallest task, such as seasoning food or washing dishes, becomes an elevated experience when the intention is made to do it just so. This is not about micromanaging, but about creating awareness around why you are doing something, rather than just zoning out or seeing it as something to get through. With intention we harness the energy to nurture ourselves and our space.
- Clearly direct your energy. Somewhat of an extension of creating intention, directing your energy means using your focus to pinpoint where you want your energy to go and what you want the outcome to be. When we are less mindful, especially when we are tired or rushed, we lose a lot of valuable energy simply because we are not creating clear intention and direction with our tasks.
- Hocus, focus. Pick one thing at a time to focus on. Life starts to feel overwhelming when our minds run rampant, trying to decipher and problem-solve everything at once. Meditation can certainly help with this, as can creating awareness around moments of feeling overwhelmed and scatterbrained. Even if you’re worried about tomorrow’s project, give yourself the gift of taking a mental break from that while you stir your soup, or place the blanket back on the couch.
Humans also have a tendency to focus their attention on what they perceive as their personal space within a home, such as a bedroom or office. Collective spaces, like the kitchen and living room, are then left at the mercy of whatever energies collect by the colliding of multiple lives that occur there. Paying attention to shared spaces is just as important, if not more so, than monitoring the energy of private parts of the home.
If you’re feeling ready to take a more active role in guiding the energy of your home, here are a few simple ways to get started:
a. Place a bowl of water or salt in a room to absorb unwanted energy. This can also be done in the four corners of the house to create a grid, but should be discarded and refreshed frequently. The same can be done using crystals and cleansing them on a regular basis. Smoky quartz and black tourmaline are good for this.
b. Clean with intention. Sweep towards the doors that lead outside, mentally picturing any unhelpful energy getting swept away along with it. Dispose of any debris in trash cans outside the home; don’t let it sit inside once it’s been intentionally collected. If you like you can follow this up with an herbal floor wash. Simply make a tea of your favorite loose herbs and dilute a bit with water, using the energy of your hands or focused intention that the herbs fill the water and your home with blessings and protection.
c. Smoke is a common choice for cleansing a space these days, and can be very effective, but seeing as how white sage and palo santo are now at risk plants due to overharvesting, and are sacred to certain cultures, it’s great to look into other options. Juniper and mugwort are both quite prolific and cleansing in their own rite. Chimes or singing bowls can also be used to cleanse a space using sound vibration. For more folk-inspired techniques, hanging a rope of garlic or placing a cut onion in the center of the room are also said to dispel unhelpful energies.
I tend to prefer philosophies that value the depth of intention over how closely one follows specific instructions. To that end, if there are ideas that come to you naturally about how you’d like to cultivate your space, I think that is just as valid as any instructions found in a book.
If you find yourself feeling frayed, lacking energy, or simply feeling the weight of the world these days, you are certainly not alone.
Taking time to care for both yourself and your home can provide a much-needed refuge, a place for you to rest and restore as you follow your path in this world.
If you’re interested in more ways to take care of your home, including recipes and more complex rituals, please do read “The House Witch” by Arin Murphy-Hiscock. It does not fall under the category of “Wicca” but is simply based on the author’s personal practice, which takes inspiration from many different areas.