It’s always nice to start the New Year off with a clean, well-appointed home. In some traditions, this is not mere vanity or hygiene, but a spiritual necessity that must be done on New Year’s Eve to ensure that the home is clear and ready for the coming year. Today, I thought I’d look at a few of the magical methods for housecleaning, as well as some of the most common cleaning agents with a magical touch.
Sweeping & Vacuuming – It has to be done. There’s just no way of getting around it. The floors must be kept clean, at least within reason, and usually a broom or a vacuum is employed to that end. Workers in the conjure and hoodoo traditions tend to have specific techniques for sweeping, often going from the topmost floor of the house to the bottom and working from the back of each floor towards the front (though I’ve seen variations on that, often depending on specific needs—getting rid of a bad spirit might involve sweeping out the back door, for example). While floor washes are the go-to method for spiritually cleansing a house and adding specific magical vibes to the area (see Mopping & Floor Washes below), you can add a degree of magic to the sweeping and vacuuming process, too. Various powders can be sprinkled on floors and carpets and left there for a bit before sweeping. These will absorb some spellwork and leave other magic behind. Some good ones to try out (available at Lucky Mojo):
- Fear Not to Walk Over Evil – A powerful anti-hex and anti-foottrack magic powder.
- House Blessing – A simple, very peaceful powder.
- Crown of Success or Fast Money – To encourage prosperity and abundance.
- Chuparosa/Hummingbird – To create love and attraction between partners in the home.
Likewise, you might also opt for simple, household items to do some of your mojo work during sweeping and vacuuming. Many spices make great conjure sweeps (and smell wonderful when taken up by a vacuum and slightly warmed by the machine’s motor—an added aromatic energy). Some that I like to use:
- Cinnamon – Creates a sense of prosperity and joviality. Some use it for business success, but I find it creates more of a personal confidence and comfortability than anything purely financial.
- Allspice – Another success spice, but also good for stimulating conversation. I like to vacuum with cinnamon and allspice sprinkled on the carpets before guests come over to encourage a warm, friendly atmosphere.
- Pine Needles – Good for uncrossing and refreshing a home. Not a kitchen spice, of course, but still easily accessible. Be careful though, as too many pine needles can gum up machinery (like vacuums) quickly!
- Rosemary – Good for domestic bliss, as well as helping those who smell it focus and think clearly.
- Oregano – Keeps meddlesome influences from interfering in your life. Makes a nice “law-keep-away” substitute, and discourages nosy neighbors.
- Garlic Skins – Kills off evil, but it will leave a distinctive odor in the air.
- Rose Petals – Encourages love and passion when crumbled around the home and left for a bit before sweeping/vacuuming.
- Salt – Great for stopping any hexes put upon you and removing unwanted spiritual energies from your home. I use baking soda (a type of salt) sprinkled on carpets before vacuuming to both absorb odors and remove pesky curses. Jim Haskins records a method of preventing unwanted guests from returning which simply involves sweeping salt after them when they leave.
- Sugar – A little of this will add a sweetness to your home, though make sure you get it all and don’t use too much—a little sweetness may be great, but a lot of ants aren’t.
The basic method here is to sprinkle everything, let it sit for a bit (if you can stand letting it sit for 24 hours, that is lovely, but probably a little excessive—30 minutes is often plenty of time, and even a 5-minute wait will give you a quick dose of magic).
Mopping & Floor Washes – This is probably one of the best known hoodoo methods of cleansing, blessing, and enchanting a home. Using a prepared magical floor wash to clean anything that can handle getting wet (including the walls) still makes for great spellwork. Some of the most famous floor washes are (again from Lucky Mojo):
- Chinese Wash – An old school formula which reputedly came out of Chinatown (though which Chinatown is not particularly clear). It’s made from several powerful ingredients, many of which are found in Van Van (see below), with broom straws added for extra oomph. Good for knocking out any hexes and doing purification work.
- Van Van – We’ve covered this in Blog Post 81, but briefly this is a blend of several Asian grass extracts, chiefly lemongrass and vetiver root. It, like Chinese Wash, cleanses and purifies.
- Peace Water – When made in its most interesting form, peace water is beautiful to look at, with layers of blue and white/clear liquid on top of one another in a mesmerizing stasis. When mixed up and sprinkled into a floor wash, this helps create feelings of calm, quiet, and tranquility in even very turbulent homes.
- Rose Water – This very basic addition to a floor wash can be found in many ethnic grocery markets. It’s not much more than a strong rose tea stabilized with alcohol, so you could easily make your own, but it’s also fairly cheap to buy. When used in a floor wash, it helps promote feelings of love and agreement.
In addition to these specialty formulas, there are lots of common household cleaners you can use with a magical bent:
- Pine-Sol – This commercial floor cleaner basically evolved out of hoodoo floor washes. Cat Yronwode even suggests adding a little Van-Van to a bottle of Pine-Sol and using it as a simple substitute for Chinese Wash. Traditional pine scent is great, of course, or you can go with…
- Lemon Pine-Sol – Or any lemon-scented cleanser like it. Lemons have a cut-and-clear effect on a space, and have long been associated with destroying curses and breaking hexes. Charles Leland’s Aradia records an anti-evil-eye charm which is fundamentally a pomander made of a lemon and pins. It leaves a lovely clean smell, too, though a fairly artificial one in most cleansers. Feel free to add some fresh squeezed lemons to your mop bucket for a rootsier version of lemon-cleanser.
- Ammonia – Draja Mickaharic recommends a simple floor wash of ammonia and salt added to mop water, and it really makes a wonderful cleansing and protecting wash water. It can really neutralize almost anything thrown at you, magically speaking, and it disinfects beautifully. Mickaharic also recommends a little ammonia down every drain when you finish cleaning (just a teaspoon or so), to finish off your magical housecleaning.
- Vinegar – Four Thieves Vinegar is popular as a counter-curse wash, and as a protective mix-in for a mop-water. But really, any vinegar will help get rid of unwanted energies and protect the home from invaders and malicious forces. If the scent is strong enough, it may protect you from visitors altogether.
- Urine – This one is very traditional in hoodoo, though much frowned upon in modern use. It has, however, been long used as a cleaning agent, and a little urine diluted in some mop water can be very powerful for “marking your territory” and protecting the home. It can also instill a sense of good luck in the place, and ensure fidelity in your mate and passion from your lover. If they don’t catch you doing it, of course.
There are lots of other cleaning agents out there that you can use, of course. Almost anything scented probably has at least some tenuous connection to a magical formula, so a little homework can help you transform that bottle of Mop-N-Glo into a powerful apothecary’s potion.
Windows & Doors – You don’t do windows, you say? Well, you should at least open them up! Whenever you do a good house-cleansing, throwing up the windows and letting some fresh air circulate is vital to getting everything “right.” It helps balance out all the forces in the home, allows bad spirits to leave, and refreshes the air in the house. It’s cold to do this in winter, of course, but turning the heat off for 10 minutes and letting a little fresh air in can make all the difference in getting a home feeling good and happy again. Likewise, the doors should be opened for a bit to let the air circulate.
When it comes to washing doors and windows, you can really use any of the same washes I talked about above in the Mopping & Floor Washes section. You can also use a variety of other ingredients to get things right at all your entrances and exits. For example, many folks take a little olive oil (or holy oil, which is basically blessed and sometimes lightly scented olive oil) and make a little sigil in the corner of every window, to seal that entrance against evil intrusions. Some folks put blue bottles in the windows, or jars full of sand or marbles, in the hopes that any witches who might try to get in will be forced to count the contents of the container and be unable to do so before daybreak (when their power ends). You can make a wash water of red brick dust, urine, and salt in warm water and use it to scrub your door to add a powerful layer of protection. You can also sprinkle salt or brick dust lines down at the threshold and in the sills of every window to keep out unwanted spirits and spells.
Clearing the Air – Once the house has been aired out and all the windows and doors cleaned and opened for a while, some folks like to light some incense, use room sprays, or even just make a little something in the kitchen to add an element of magic to the home. I’ve covered some of the holiday scents and their uses in Blog Post 108, and I’ve already mentioned pine and citrus scents as powerful agents for spiritual and physical cleansing. Other odoriferous offerings to your home can include:
Fresh Bread – One of the best symbols of abundanace and prosperity. Bake a loaf in your oven and let the scent fill the home. Cookies are also good for this.
Floral Scents – Like jasmine, rose, or lavender. All of these have specific uses, and add specific magical “vibrations” to an area (rose fragrances inspire love to many, for example), so look into the flowers you like and figure out what note they will set in your newly cleaned domicile.
Sweeteners – I did mention this in Blog Post 108, but I also said it’s a bit strong when burned. If you are airing your house out, however, a little honey, brown sugar, molasses, or even table sugar might be a good thing to burn or warm on the stove, as it will provide a sublimely “sweet” feeling to the area. Draja Mickaharic highly recommends this, and I can’t say I’m against it either.
Nailing It Down – This is a practice particular to conjure and hoodoo, though there are likely variants or similar practices in other magical systems. The basic idea is that by pounding nails into your home’s corners (and the corners of your property), you fix it there and create a stable environment. You also assert your ownership of the place, and help to guarantee your continued residence there. The most commonly used nails for this are the “square-cut” kind, usually sold cheaply at hardware stores. For doing the corners of your property, you would want to use something bigger, like old railroad spikes. The basic idea is that you simply nail them into every corner of your home, particularly the ones along outside walls. You can bless them with oil or holy water or anything else you feel is appropriate, or simply nail them down while saying a little prayer that you remain safe, happy, and comfortable in your home as long as the nails remain in place. Remove them if you ever have to move away for any reason.
That’s a lot of cleaning! But it’s always good to have a clean home, for both practical and spiritual reasons, so give some of these a go and see how they work for you! And if you missed your New Year’s cleaning deadline, well, you can always do these things during your Spring cleaning, too.
I hope this has been useful! Thanks for reading!
Oh, and Happy New Year!