Friday, January 31, 2014

Cleaning the Clutter

As I sit here, resting, on this first day of 2014, I'm proud to say that I'm actually doing some of what I listed in my New Year Tries.  I know, I know, it's only the first day of the year, but it's better than nothing.  I'm cleaning, cleaning up my old and wall altars, refreshing some, packing away others; performing much needed maintenance on my shrines.  It feels pretty good.  But then, cleaning usually does for me. (Jan 30, still keeping up with my Tries.)

The end of 2013 was spent cleaning, clearing the clutter.  The physical clutter that overwhelmed me.  We donated 11 bags of stuff.  We tossed out trash and a worn, broken couch.  Cleaned up the kitchen to make room for a bread maker, my pride and joy.  Can't wait to use it.  Grains are a major offering in this home.  Grain, oil, and fire.  (Cleaning and actions, too.)

For the start of 2014, I'm starting a different type of cleaning, one that I'll also repeat throughout the year, and actually used to reserve only for the Spring Equinox.  A cleansing of the energy in this home.  "Out with the old, in with the new."  Out with the stagnant, in with the energetic. 

Some of the steps I take to kick out the negative nasties is to dust everywhere, even if it takes a couple of days!  Start from the top, work to the bottom.  Then I sprinkle baking soda and specific powdered herbs on the carpets, letting it sit for about 15 minutes, then vacuum it up. 

Herbs and oils (don't necessarily want to add oils to a powders, it'll clump), many of them overlap with their energies--what they promote--but here's a few ideas for your home:
  • Bedroom: Lavender (peace, harmony, relaxation, sleepytime), Jasmine (sexuality)
  • Kitchen: Lemon (energy, healing, cleanliness), Sage (protection), Crushed Coffee Beans (energy, warmth)
  • Bathroom: Eucalyptus (healing and purification)
  • Studio/Craftroom/Office: Rosemary (clarity), Chamomile (peaceful), Orange (energy and happiness)
  • Anywhere: Rose (love, peace, harmony), Dragon's Blood (protection) 

Often, I'll just use my favorites for all of the house, which are Lavender, Orange, Lemon, and Dragon's Blood (not necessarily combined, I live in a small apartment after all).  Before adding them directly to a blend,experiment with cotton swabs.  As I learned from the Renaissance Festival years ago, when the scents get too overwhelming, cleanse your nostrils by sniffing coffee beans.

Research, make/get what you can, and familiarize yourself with substitutions, in case you can't find "the one".  Honestly, I'd start with familiarizing yourself with herbs/flowers you may already have in your spice rack or that grow in your area.  Ask yourself if you prefer essential oils or synthetics.  Often you'll hear arguments from the community that synthetics are no good, stay away, blah blah blah.  Personally, I've never had a problem.  Plus EO's can get rather expensive and hard to find!  Decide for yourself.  Experiment with both and see which works better.

You can make your own; nah, they're not always as fragrant as the professional stuff, but the energies are there.  Take pine for example.  I gathered a bunch of fresh needles (some broken, some not) and put em in a bottle.  I added olive oil to the bottle and let it sit in a cabinet for 7 days (although some sites say to go about a month).  Strain and label. 

And of course for powders, all you need is the herb/flower and a grinder, be it a coffee grinder, a mortal and pestle, or whatever's at your disposal that grinds. 

Herbs and oils aside, I also vacuum the tile floors, picking up a lot of the big crumbs and things, given that it's hard on my back and knees to kneel and sweep it with a dust pan.  It ain't so easy with a growing human in the womb to get down and get up!

Turning to the floor, I swiffer dry and wet. 

I turn to the mirrors, there aren't too many of them in the house, but I do like to clean them with a mixture of salt and Clorox Green spray (although natural cleaners are beginning to replace the expensive chemical cleaners in my home).  I give my mirrors a gentle dusting of salt or smoke every time I touch the mirrors because I'm paranoid like that.  Supposedly it gives protection against anyone who would scry through mirrors at you.  But then part of me wonders what kind of Witch would want to spy on me?  Especially on my naked days...  Seems like a waste of time and energy...a bit traumatizing for the scryer.  But hey, better safe than sorry, I suppose. 

I know of some people who wash their walls with special mixtures, for me, that's just doing too much!  That requires taking down a lot of frames and paintings, and just no.  I'm not a wall washer, at least not in the physical sense.  I prefer to smudge my home with sage, lavender, or rosemary.  But being pregnant, there are some herbs and actions that doctors recommend you not doing.  Sometimes I simply cleanse the air of my home with an oil burner, using my favorite oil/resin Dragon's Blood.  Or I'll make a potpourri blend.  Some might use incense...but me and incense don't get along; keep in mind if you have allergies or perhaps are asthmatic, or live with others who may have respiratory problems.  Shit, just get a house plant to cleanse the air (not to mention, some are just good to have on hand concerning other matters).  Or use vinegar or baking soda.

Dragon's Blood is a very good space cleaner and can help in the prevention of miscarriage.  Given my history, that's fucking fantastic, and I used the crap out of it when I was pregnant with my son, in the place of my other oil favs, like Lavender!  Rose can also be used. (But like all essential oils, be sure to dilute them with a base oil like olive, grapeseed, safflower, sunflower, coconut, almond, hazelnut, and jojoba, to name a few.  Do your homework before applying them to your skin, due to potential poison, irritation, allergies, or pregnancy.)

With the inside of my home nearly done, I may sprinkle the carpets with some magikal waters, like Moon, River, Rain, or Sun waters to name a few, which may depends on Deity, Spirit, or the energy you want to attract to your home.  Instead of waters, I'll spritz with an oil/water mixture for promotion of harmony, protection, and to set the mood, depending on oil used.  Although now, I just settle for Febreeze, natural or not, the scent is there, and thus can be used for the same purposes.  Though some would argue that it can't be, but I've never had a problem, so poo on you. 

Once the inside of my home is cleansed, my windows open allowing in sunlight, the air smudged, I recharge my barriers and turn to the protection of my outdoor property. 

When everything's said and done, and my home is free of the stagnant and the negative, then I'll focus on decluttering my spiritual self.  If you follow the Dragon's Blood link above, you'll see other methods of clearing your space, ranging from oils to smudges to water to salt to stone usage.

If you're looking for a more natural approach to cleaning, especially if you're expecting and the doctor practically forbids you use anything to clean, you can use vinegar.  Vinegar is often forgotten, but is an amazing cleaning solution!  Often cheap, too.  I've used it, combined with other agents like baking soda, peroxide, dawn dish soap, oranges, salt, and hot water, to unclog my drains, to clean my shower heads, my kettles, bathtubs, toilet bowls, sinks, and other hard to clean surfaces.  But it can be used to freshen and neutralize odors as well.  I'm slowly starting to use vinegar more and more because it's just awesome.  I can see why it's the only cleaner that my great and grandparents ever used!

Here are some links for vinegar uses and recipes:

Vinegar Tips
The Vinegar Institute
Huff Post Green
Little Brick Ranch (to take away that smell)
Beneath the Witch's Moon:  Witchy Green Cleaning

Hope this post wasn't too boring for ya.  I'm off to continue my cleaning rampage!

* Also scented candles also work in the place of oils and powdered herbs.

* I've read that vinegar can damage wood, so test on a small, unseen area before using on such surfaces! Or just check online!

** I'm not a professional, an herbalist, or a doctor.  Do your research and cross-check your sources!  Ask doctors, real herbalists, etc.  Be smart with your experiments!  I'm just a Witch and these are my experiences. **

~)O(~

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