By popular demand, I am now switching from energy work to magic. A lot of my magical work is still very much ingrained into basic witchcraft. But I do incorporate my Christian symbols here and there.
Just a note on the distinction between spell casting and ritual. A spell is a series of steps that symbolically represents your request and sends out your intent. It can also be called folk magic. A ritual incorporates a religious dimension. You usually call spirit protectors/quarters and invoke your deities to assist you in the magic that you are about to do. Both are OK. Depends on your need of the moment.
I’ve listed this before, but here is a little reminder of the steps of a basic ritual.
1)      Cleanse the space and yourself;
2)      Call quarters;
3)      Cast a circle;
4)      Invoke deity;
5)      Perform your rite (spell, celebration, main event…) This usually involves the raising of energy.
6)      Thank your deities;
7)      Thank your quarters;
8)      Take down your circle;
9)      Feast.
Step one: Cleansing
There is a multitude of ways to cleanse space. This was usually left to the level 2 students before public rituals. First and foremost, you have to physically clean the space. For a major ritual, I usually add birch leaves to the water to purify and protect the space, blow on the water in the sign of a cross and then a circle and proceed to washing the floors. For a simpler ritual, I just sweep the floor with a broom. I usually draw up energy from the earth let it flow into the broom, so that a nice wave of energy also removes discordant vibrations at the same time as the dust. Once that is done, I stand in the middle of the room, draw up energy from the earth and let it explode through the room to remove all debris of floating energy. I also like to call up a wave of each of the elements, as each one has a cleansing property.
I then proceed to cleanse myself. I find this to be an important step and often it is not emphasized in books on magic. If energy is to flow through me to achieve something, I have to make sure that I am not carrying anything that will tag on to that energy and distort it somehow. I think it is also one of the meanings of doing ritual skyclad. I have never done this myself, but I see how performing a rite in the nude might have that feeling of leaving everything behind. My way of doing that is through ritual washing. There can be many ways to do this. Depending on the ritual, it might be more or less extensive. Most of the time, like when I am about to read Tarot, I just wash my hands and wrists whispering: “Bless these hands and the work they do.” You can wash with an infusion of herbs that you have chosen, strain the herbs and wash with the water. Remember to let the water cool down before doing this (personal experience…) You can also add these herbs to your bath water and let your body and your mind release all negativity. I have used chamomile, birch, lavender, thyme, and mint. It is truly a glorious experience!
When I am about to do a serious ritual, I perform a more formal preparation. I do my ritual cleansing in the shower. I wash my body, consecrating it to my rite:

Bless these feet that walk your path;
Bless this womb, which springs forth life;
Bless this heart from which love flows;
Bless this voice that sings your praise;
Bless this mind that seeks your truth;
Bless these hands that do your work;
Bless this soul that yearns for you.

After I am dried and dressed, I anoint my feet, my heart, my third eye and my wrists with scented oil, usually myrrh in commemoration of my Lord and Lady. I am then ready to enter sacred space.

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Yesterday, my husband told me I should clean the house. No, I did not get offended. I knew just what he meant. It’s so great that he sees exactly what I do and why I do it. I hadn’t done a thorough energy cleansing of the new house yet because it was still such a mess. But yesterday, I assessed the situation: humans vs. boxes: I figured the odds were acceptable and that our space was truly livable and our own. I’m not saying that we are all organized (please don’t look into what should be my office, if you can even get the door open!) But we are set up now and the kids have really taken in the new house as their own. So, it was time to seal the deal with a good energy cleansing.

I first did a tour of the house, putting things away, swept the floor and wiped the sticky fingers from the breakfast table. The purpose of cleansing the energy of a house is to make the energy nice and even. Whatever is messy generates chaos and works against your efforts to stabilize the energy. So, a quick run-through is a good time investment.

In a house, there are areas that accumulate energy and others that our energy deficient. There are energy leaks sometimes, especially in strategic entry points, like windows and doors and everywhere there is more traffic. There are also strategic points that work more than others, so they use up more energy. These are areas such as the roof, supporting beams, foundations, pipes and electrical systems. Those are the things that are most likely to break in a house, because they work so hard. I like to make sure that these key points are stable energetically to ensure the good health of a home.

After my quick clean up, I prepared myself. I evened out my energy by washing my hands, face, arms, body and feet. I picked up my smudge stick and walked up to my altar. A smudge stick is a bundle of herbs that is used to fumigate energies and it is mostly used in Native rites. Mine is a mix of sagebrush and lavendar. I held it up to the icons of my Lord and Lady. I then lit it up until the herbs were smoldering and the smoke was rising in the air. I walked the whole house, leaving a trail of sage smoke at all the strategic points. I let it trail over the seams between the wall and the floor and between the wall and ceiling. I circled the frames of all doors and windows. On the top floor, I used my smudge stick like a paintbrush and painted the whole ceiling with the smoke, willing it to reach the top most part of the roof. In the basement, I painted the whole floor, willing the energy to seep into foundations. I let the smoke trail the beams and the water pipes, went to the utilities room and cleansed the water heater, the furnace, the electrical panels. I also took time to cleanse our new furniture and appliances.

I came back, closing my circle, at my altar. I stopped a moment to smudge the medicine wheel that we put up in our living room, a gift from our friends up north. I came back to my altar and flicked my smudge stick in all four directions: north, east, south, west. I then bowed to my deities. This task was done.

It feels like home now. It’s nice and stable, like the house got warmer all of a sudden. Home is a place of refuge, a place to grow as a family, to celebrate life with friends. When it is strong and solid, it makes you strong and solid. As within, so without… Well, it works the other way too. Sometimes, it’s just easier to work on the ‘without’. The waning moon is the best time to cleanse anything. A few more days left if you want to get this done!

Merry cleaning!