As much a part of popular iconography as a pointy hat, the witch’s broom is a powerful symbol. Both magic and mundane, the act of sweeping, of cleansing our home, can be a powerful experience. And there is no better time to dust off those cobwebs, both literal and figurative, than spring! Indeed, “spring cleaning” is such a part of our cultural lexicon that we can overlook its potential for magic. Cleaning can transcend the hygienic to become ritual: an act of banishing, of releasing what no longer serves, and consciously fortifying our space so that we feel empowered in our home.
While smoke cleansing has become popular in recent years, leading to cultural appropriation of sacred indigenous traditions and the dangerous overharvesting of white sage, smoke can also present a problem for pets and those suffering from allergies or asthma. While I certainly appreciate the energy of a freshly-cleansed home, apartment-living and my two kitty familiars have changed my spring-cleaning ritual over the years. Additionally, since many commercial cleansers contain harsh chemical ingredients, I like to clean with homemade and all-natural products.
There are many kitchen-staples that also make great cleansers, and are both better for the environment and safer for pets. Here’s a simple recipe and ritual that’s great for cleansing your home—and is 100% familiar friendly!
White vinegar is a natural disinfectant and deodorizer, and can easily be infused with herbs for additional properties to make a simple cleaning solution. I suggest making your herbal vinegar at least a month in advance to fully infuse the properties of the herbs—it can also be an opportunity to set magical intention, visualizing your home feeling comforting and safe.
- 1 large mason jar with lid (or similar glass container)
- 1 quart white vinegar
- 1 dried or fresh tablespoon of each: rosemary, lavender buds, cloves, and lemon peel
A personal favorite, rosemary is often referred to as an herb for protection, but is also the herb of remembrance, and may be used to call upon ancestral support. Lavender is believed to bring peace and love, and is a popular herb in European folklore. Ruled by Jupiter, cloves are said to protect the home and bring prosperity, while lemon is used in many purification rituals.
Combine herbs and vinegar in jar, sealing tightly. On a piece of paper, write down a few words or a sentence describing the way you feel when most “at home.” For some this could be having everyone they love gathered around a table, while for others it could be a private space of calm and serenity. Visualize this feeling infusing the contents of the jar. Place your paper beneath the jar and store in a cool dark place for one month. The color will deepen to a lovely pink!
Strain before use. Add ½ cup infused vinegar to a gallon of warm water for a simple mopping or spray-cleaning solution. Before cleaning, spend some time setting intentions. What are you releasing or banishing from your home and life? Are there areas feel that stagnant and need a little extra focus? Next, mop using your new vinegar cleanser, taking time to visualize the environment you are creating.
Want to add a chant? Go for it! I often whisper, “Should unwanted energy come to stay, let cleansing water wash away.” (This also serves as a great bath-time mantra!)
There is no right way to cleanse a space, the most important part of the ritual is that it feels right to you. After completing your cleaning, take a moment to note the feelings that your cleansed space evokes. Your home should be a sanctuary in which you feel safe and celebrated!
This piece was excerpted in This Witch Magazine Spring 2020, Volume 1 Issue 3.