A home is built with peace and love,
not with wood or stone;
A home is a place where happiness lives,
and memories are sown.
Ah, moving time. That blessed and glorious time of year for the changing of the apartments that comes with military life…or in this case, the end of military life. After six years of indentured servitude to the United States Navy, I am once again a free agent–well, almost…technically I owe two years to the Individual Ready Reserve and could feasibly be recalled to active duty. But I can wear my nose ring, dye my hair and have funky colored fingernails if I want to, so its all the same to me.
The hubby (escaping from the Navy 3 months prior to myself) and I have moved back to my childhood and family hometown, and into a decent and cheap (which is good since I’m unemployed, and he’s still looking for a job where he won’t be out of work half the time) town home. Being that we are in a somewhat stressful family situation, and that the previous tenants left under somewhat auspicious circumstance (she left him for another guy or some such), called for an unusually (for us) thorough home cleansing and blessing (the house feels much better now).
Touch the lintel and touch the wall,
Nothing but blessings here befall!
Bless the candle that stands by itself,
Bless the book on the mantle shelf,
Bless the pillow for the tired head,
Bless the hearth and the light shed.
Friends who tarry here, let them know
A three fold blessing before they go.
Sleep for weariness – peace for sorrow
Faith in yesterday and tomorrow.
Friends who go from here, let them bear
The blessing of hope, wherever they fare.
Lintel and windows, sill and wall,
Nothing but good, this place befall.
As a pragmatist, I believe in doing what works…and in my experience, home cleanings and blessing work. Personally, I recommend that anyone that moves into a new space, particularly if they rent or are moving into a place of high turnover (dorm room, BEQ or barracks, etc), performs a home cleansing and blessing–REGARDLESS of religious preference. This isn’t just a Pagan thing. I also recommend that the home should be re-cleansed and blessed after any major fight, bout of illnesses, etc, and if someone is living in long-term digs (yeah for you homeowners!!) on at least an annual basis (spring cleaning anyone?).
So why bother? Well, pardon the UPG, but bother because it makes the space yours. Home cleansing clears the air–metaphysically, philosophically, whatever mechanism floats the boat. It allows the slate to be wiped clean, while the home blessing allows the blueprint for going forward in the space from that moment on.
May this home be a place of happiness and health, of contentment, generosity and hope, a home of creativity and kindness. May those who visit and those who live here know only blessing and peace.
one variation of the Birkat Habayit
Cleansing the home starts with actually cleaning. Pick up the broom and sweep. Bust out the bucket and the mop, the rags and the spray bottle. Liberally use elbow grease. Visualize your home clean and clear of negativity, anger, impatience, selfishness, arguments, and all those petty moments and feelings that might have accumulated, whether it be from your occupancy of the space, or from prior occupants as you clean. I would recommend natural cleaning products–lavender, lemon, cedar, rosemary, tea tree and peppermint are some of my favorite essential oils for cleaning products and are easily used with good ole Dr. Bonner’s, baking soda and vinegar…however, if you are not familiar or comfortable cleaning with these, use what makes you feel the space is clean (despite my preference for natural cleaning products, I spend enough time in the pool, that for me the smell of bleach is mentally the most divinely cleansing aroma I can think of, so when I feel that I need the big guns, I go for it).
Once your home is physically clean and mentally cleansed (or in conjunction with the physical cleaning and mental cleansing), feel free to banish/remove/purify/etc (choose the terminology/methodology that best suits your beliefs) the house of stagnant, unwelcome energy/feelings/vibes/juju/entities/etc, in a manner that is keeping with your religious preferences and theological opinions. Smudging, ringing of bells or chimes, sprinkling of salt or herbed water are all ways to cleanse and purify the space of negativity or undesirable energies. Personally, I am fond of a good smudging with some sweetgrass (smells better than sage) and a energetic bell ringing (performed by the munchkins–Chickadee and Sharkbait love to make noise).
After the home is clean and cleansed, invite good *whatever* (spirits/energy/juju/etc that you are a fan of) into your home. A house blessing/protection spell, ritual, prayer, whatever–from KISS to big elaborate ritual can be useful in this regard. We generally keep it short and sweet, and tangible. We sharpie under cabinets and window sills, in door jambs and closets and appropriate blessing verse. “Let love and laughter bless those that live here, May peace and passion dwell in their hearts.” in the main rooms, and “May the hearth and heart of the home bring sustenance to the body and soul” in the kitchen. Another favorite, to fill the home with good energy is a house warming party (if you just moved in), or a gathering of your favorite people in general, to fill the home with positive energy (make sure you don’t invite drama-types).
Home Cleansing and Blessing Variations:
Imbolc Cleansing and Blessing
Multi-faith (with hoodoo tendencies) major house cleansing
Hoodoo Home Blessing
Liberal Protestant (United Church of Christ) Home Blessing
Catholic Home Blessing
Uber-Fundie Christian Home Cleansing/Blessing (included because I found it depravedly amusing)
Heathen Landtaking and Leavetaking
New Links Added 9/10/2011