February in the Wheel of the Year Part 3: Liminal Times and Spring Cleaning - By Lucya Starza
One thing I love about February is watching the twilight time creeping later and later. The sunsets, and the sky just afterwards, can be beautiful with bare trees silhouetted against pink and purple. It’s one of my favourite sights and makes me feel full of hope for spring to come. In traditional folklore it indicates good weather the next day too. Twilight is a great time for doing magic and for scrying because it’s one of those liminal times. It’s an hour of the day when change is in the air, in a month when the natural world is changing from winter to spring. There’s an extra day in some Februarys too, although the next leap year with a February 29 is 2024. Tap into that energy to wish for change in your life, after first cleaning out old energy you no longer need.
As well as running the vacuum cleaner round, dusting and decluttering, spring cleaning can be part of your spiritual practice. Here’s a look at methods of clearing unwanted energy from your home. This might be back-to-basics for experienced witches, but returning to basics can be part of that fresh start.
Ideally spiritual cleansing comes after giving your home a physical tidy, but do what you feel capable of. If you have little time and energy, just put a few things away if you’re up to it. Have a shower to clean yourself, then clear your thoughts. Breathe in and out slowly several times. Visualise breathing out unwanted concerns, and breathe in calmness and clarity. After that turn to clearing your space of energy you no longer want there. Before you start, open your windows and doors to let out anything stale and let fresh air in.
Sweeping with a Besom
A besom, as I’m sure you know, is a traditional witches’ broom and is used to clear space in many traditions. You can buy a besom or have a go at making your own with a bunch of twigs for the head and a pole for the handle. Birch twigs represent new beginnings. Pick some before the leaves start to grow, which in my part of the world will be soon. An ash branch of the right size can be used for the handle and represents magical power. Cut everything to the right size, bundle the twigs and tie them with twine, then insert the handle into the twig bundle and tighten it up more.
To ceremonially clean with a besom, sweep each room from the centre outwards in an anti-clockwise direction, and visualise unwanted energy being swept away. The anti-clockwise (or deosil) direction represents banishing.
Salt and Water or Herbal Infusions
Salt is an ancient cleansing product. It kills bacteria, but also has traditional uses in magical rites. Put a pinch of salt into a bowl of clean water after visualising them being purified and dedicated for the task. Mix the salt and water, then sprinkle a little around each room. This is sometimes called ‘asperging’, based on the Latin word for sprinkling. Be careful not to get it on anything that could be damaged or stained by salty water, of course, and make sure pets don’t drink the salty water as it’s bad for them.
You can use an infusion of cleansing herbs instead. One of my favourites is mugwort (sometimes called Artemisia). This is a protective herb that grows in England. A word of caution: mugwort shouldn’t be used by anyone pregnant. Other herbs suitable for cleansing infusions include rosemary and lavender, but avoid anything you are allergic to, of course.
Many spiritual traditions use smoke to purify sacred space and these ceremonies have many names, but it’s simplest to call it smoke cleansing. It can be done by burning dried herbs on their own, sticks of incense, or loose incense on a charcoal disk in an incense burner, placed on a heat-proof surface. Again, mugwort, rosemary and lavender are suitable. Waft the smoke into corners, but make sure your room is well ventilated.
Cleansing with Light
One of my favourite ways of cleansing unwanted energy is to use the light of the sun, the moon or a blessed candle. Place your magical tools in the window or next to your candle and visualise light washing over the items and cleansing them of all influences except those of your own intention. You can also use light to cleanse space. Let sunlight or moonlight flood into your room and visualise it chasing away all unwanted energy. You can also carry a candle lantern around, especially into dark corners where natural light doesn’t reach. An even safer alternative is to leave the candle on a flat surface and use a wand to visualise spreading the light around you.
Bells and Gongs
Another traditional way to clear unwanted energy from a space is sound, especially bells and gongs. Go from room to room ringing the bell or sounding the gong, again paying particular attention to murky corners.
Whatever method of cleansing you try, I’d recommend using materials produced locally to you rather than things imported from abroad if possible, for environmental reasons. Try out one or all of the suggestions above and see what works best for you.
This is part of a series of posts I’m writing for the Moon Books Blog on the theme of the Wheel of the Year. They will be compiled and edited into a book: Pagan Portals – Wheel of the Year. Other books by Lucya Starza in the Pagan Portals series include Candle Magic, Guided Visualisations, Poppets and Magical Dolls, and Scrying. Lucya edited the community book Every Day Magic – A Pagan Book of Days.
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