Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Preparing the Home-Spiritual Cleansing of Home and Self
I've gotten several requests to write about the subject of cleaning or cleanliness in the tradition of Hoodoo. Though it's only January, and no where near time for Spring Cleaning, cleaning is a huge part of a Hoodoo's life each and every day.
So as I sit here bundled up with a blanket on this 4 degree day in Michigan, while my house is under a foot of snow, I will write about what I do daily to keep my house fit for working for others.
I often make the joke that Hoodoos are like Pagan Sihks because of the Sihks devout cleanliness and immaculate appearance. I believe cleanliness IS next to Godliness. It is far easier to commit and achieve success in your workings when the energy in your home is clear and free flowing.
Cluttered, dirty corners stifle ashe' and they attract pesky spirits and hoard ill fortune. While clutter is hard to control, even for me, we should try at least weekly to tidy corners, file papers, tend to the recycling, and straighten our work areas. Though I feel this is much less important than the every day cleaning that should take place.
Each morning I begin with cleaning surfaces, which includes all table tops and windows. I work for clients from my home and clean surfaces are a must. One can not make a sacred item or tool for another on a surface that is not immaculate and, as we say, The Fates can't see in through dirty windows. I then wash my dishes and take out the garbage-there can be no stagnant smells or rotting food in the home-not even in the garbage when you begin to work. I put in a load of laundry as to ATTEMPT to make a dent in the pile, make all the beds, and get washed up myself. Personal hygiene is extremely important as well. I do not work without having washed my body physically, which is also synonymous with spiritual cleansing for me. I cleanse my body with a pure white soap, as to aid me in any working that day, apply fresh oil to my head and body (oil is believed to prepare your body as a vessel) usually musk, cocoa butter, or coconut oil, apply a fresh, clean head wrap, clean clothes and always some perfume. A worker is nothing without her own personal spiritual perfume that transforms her into the divine vessel that she is...in my opinion:) I choose a scent that reminds my husband of his time in Morocco; a scent heavy with musk, myrrh, and spice.
I then choose jewelry that is sacred to who has chosen me that day. I have about 5 Orisha who rotate through me. Each day a new one chooses to be evoked and sometimes invoked. This usually determines what I wear, both clothing and jewelry wise.
I then clean the bathroom and take the cloths and towels used to the laundry. In the spring, I would also sweep my porch and steps and lay fresh brick dust down but in the winter this is not possible.
The floors are then swept with brooms reserved only for my spiritual cleaning. They are not used in any other part of the house or for any other cleaning. For example, I would not use these brooms to sweep out the basement or remove cobwebs. Before I begin sweeping, I like to light an inviting incense such as my home-made kyphi. This doesn't chase spirits away as sage might but instead, begins to call them to the space I am preparing for them. It's important to remember that if you clean below, the floors, you must also clean above, which the incense takes care of by perfuming the air.
Sweeping is an extremely important part of the cleaning as how you sweep is determined by the type of working you'll be performing that day. If you are working on abundance, fertility, or anything you want drawn to the client, you will sweep from the front door into you home and throw the dirt out of your back door. If it is a matter of breaking a hex, purification, or exorcising, you will sweep from the back to the front and flush the dirt down the toilet to make sure it is away from the home. You would also never sweep around something; all rugs and furniture must be moved. This would also include vacuuming if you have carpet, which we do not.
In the summer (because it is too cold here to open up the house and mop properly in the winter) I would then clean my floors with bluing. Bluing is a mixture of Mexican anil (blue copperas), fresh herbs, flowers, and often your own urine-though you can substitute vinegar if urine throw you off. Though I must point out here that urine is completely sterile and there is no need to fear using it in your bluing. You can also add brown sugar or other elements if you are washing your floors or porch to draw in luck or money.
In the winter, I often just make a small batch of bluing and only clean the immediate floors of my kitchen and dining room where I work and where clients are served.
Why is a clean floor so damned important!? In my tradition, it is believed that in order to be a clear, empty vessel, and to connect with spirit that the energy must be able to pass through your body-from the top of your head through the bottoms of your feet. Like you are a battery containing a circuit. In order for the energy to flow clearly, your circuit must be in good condition and your home is part of this circuit. When it is warm enough to allow, I am always working in my bare feet so that I am constantly able to receive messages, convert them into the ashe' that goes into the item or reading, and ground myself after each clients work.
After these parts of cleaning are complete, one can begin the finishing touches-the parts that are the most fun! Such as making the offerings for the day (as the kitchen must be spotless in order to cook or bake offerings) and cutting fresh flowers or herbs from the garden (when seasons allow) for the boveda. Watering the gardens or inside plants would also take place. And any harvesting from the gardens can be done now too as they will be brought into a sacred space in order to prepare them. This is also the time I set out my prayer incense to be carried through my community; once my home is cleansed I can begin to send blessings to others. I light about a dozen sticks or set out my censer with coals and resin to be wafted through to my neighbors.
This may seem like a lot of work but after doing it for nearly 20 years I have it all down to about a half hour or 45 minutes-I really don't like it when it takes over an hour but that is my own competitive and efficient nature. I simply remind myself that NO time is wasted when preparing room for the spirits and they deserve every bit of time.