Spring is a time of cleaning, clearing, cleansing and making way for the new. It is a time of nourishing new life and delighting in the renewal and rebirth of our environment, our beliefs, our relationships and our life.
To cultivate and nourish our new selves, we need a spiritually and physically clean and spacious home sanctuary. And while our modern day lifestyle may seem void of ancient traditions, there is an inherent knowing in our bones – one that reflects the cycles of nature and the rhythms that have been celebrated since the beginning of time. It is this knowing that calls so many of us to spontaneously take on a huge spring-cleaning of our home!
No one is more appropriate to call upon to guide this renewal of home as sacred space than our inner Witch — for a Witch works in harmony with the cycles in nature to nurture life and magical transformation. A true Witch is far from the grotesque portrayal of an evil sorceress. A Witch is a devotee of nature, s/he learns from mother Earth about how to nourish life, s/he learns from the wondrous moon how to ebb and flow, and s/he works within the karmic law of doing no harm.
Chances are, you have a Witch in you too. It may be her, waking up with you, when one spring day you suddenly feel it is time to swing open all the windows and doors in the house. To let in AIR. Spring winds and cool breezes that rush into the home, out through the windows, cleansing and clearing as they go. A deep inhale that awakens and renews the lungs of our chambers.
This is how I, a Witch, begin the spring cleaning of my home.
And then I light the charcoal. Placing tears of Frankincense or Copal on the burning coal. These sacred resins of trees slowly release their medicine in the sacred smoke and fill my home as they swirl in and out with each breath and gust of wind that comes through the doors and windows. These crystallized beads of tree sap are called tears and should be treated with respect and harvested ethically.
Sacred tree resins have been used for thousands of years for spiritual and physical cleansing. They have antiseptic and disinfectant properties, and even boost our immune system, helping ward off illness. This makes them not only spiritually but also literally purifying to the air.
It is no surprise that the three Kings are said to have gifted baby Jesus Frankincense and Myrrh; the perfect offering for a baby born in that time and especially in a stable! These legendary medicine men were wise to bring this plant medicine to sanitize the space.
However, when I begin to burn these sacred resins, it is their spiritual properties I immediately feel in my home and heart. These sacred resins call in the spirits. Each one carries with it a different energy. For me, the Copal brings in the spirits of our ancestors and of the earth. A sacred resin from Central America, the spirits of these lands and places awaken when we burn them.
Frankincense has a much higher note, a less smoky and more citrusy aroma. It is my ally for renewing and activating the purity of my home space. With it, my nest and place of refuge, ritual, rest and renewal takes on the vibration of a sacred home sanctuary. No wonder Frankincense is often burned in churches and sacred sites, the house of God and Spirit.
By burning sacred resins in our home as part of our spring home cleaning, we purify the air, cleanse the space of old energy and behavior and awaken a divine vibration where our soul can find home, rest and center.
Once the air is fresh and purified and the home is breathing, it is time to sweep and wash the surfaces.
The Witch’s magical tool, the broom, comes in handy for this! Sweeping out or vacuuming dust creates a healthy home and lowers the risks of asthma and illness. Since it is a spring-cleaning, take the extra time to move furniture and get in all the nooks and crannies. There is wisdom in the ancient art of Feng Shui and other traditions that state that for energy to flow harmoniously through space, there should be no clutter, even if it is hidden. You will feel a shift in the energy of the space when you donate old clothes and toys your family is no longer using and clean out the spaces under the beds and behind the furniture.
Finally, wash and purify all of the surfaces of your home – the furniture, the walls and the floor. Avoid standard cleaning products as they are incredibly toxic and full of byproducts from the petroleum industry. Choose a biodegradable cleanser that is safe for animals and children. Or go totally clean, simple and cheap by cleaning with white vinegar, baking soda and liquid castille soap!
As a Green Witch, I call upon my plant allies in all aspects of my life, including the cleansing and activating of my home space. One day, as I was harvesting lavender blossoms for tea, the spirit of Lavender told me to harvest the leaves as well and infuse them in white vinegar for cleaning. Indeed, this part of the plant is often not used, but holds the medicinal and aromatic essential oils of lavender.
You too can make an herbal cleaning vinegar simply by filling a jar with an aromatic plant (lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, pine, mint, etc.) and topping it off with white vinegar. Let the vinegar infuse for a couple of months in a dark cupboard and then strain and dilute with water to clean your home.
The home extends to the outdoors, and once my home is clean, it is time to sweep the front stoop or porch and tidy up the path leading home.
A home that is purified, washed, cleansed and awake with fresh air and sacred light energy is ready to accept the presence of the plants.
Caring for my home means caring for my plants. I water and tend to my house plants and go outside to my garden. Deadhead the flowers unless you are saving seeds, and the energy of the plants will go into producing more buds. Remove any dead twigs or branches, water, feed your garden with compost tea and cover it with mulch. Your garden will radiate health and beauty and lift the vibration of your home.
Finally, bring in some of the outdoors into your home. Maybe a branch that needed to be pruned can be brought indoors to blossom and bring in the energy of spring? Maybe a beautiful river stone or feather you found on a walk would like to come home and be placed on your altar?
Fill your home with flowers, sit back, drink some tea and enjoy your sanctuary!
May your home be blessed!
May you welcome in the spirits of nature and find nourishment in your sacred nest!
A multilingual and multicultural devotee of Pachamama, Marysia has traveled extensively studying earth wisdom and ancient healing practices from different cultures around the world. She is the director of the California branch of The Gaia School of Healing and Earth Education and teaches workshops on herbal medicine, plant shamanism and earth magic. You can follow Marysia on instagram @thegaiaschoolofhealingca and on facebook by liking The Gaia School of Healing and Earth Education California Branch. For more information on the Fall 2015 apprenticeships please visit www.thegreenwoman.com
PS: One more tip! To keep your space clean, encourage your family to leave shoes outside the door, as many traditional cultures have always done. One of the most common vehicles that bring pesticides and harmful chemicals into our homes are our outdoor shoes. A study by the EPA showed that indoor shoe wearing was a larger source of children’s pesticide exposure than eating non-organic fruits and vegetables.