After the Christmas decorations come down and we move forward into a new year, I often feel the need to undertake a house blessing to refresh the energies within the home and to cleanse any old or negative energies. This may be especially needed if you have had to host lots of cantankerous family members over the festive period. A basic cleansing ritual is of course the smudge stick – usually white sage, but here are some other Herbs you can use for other purposes.
Basil – A herb of protection and good fortune for those that live within the house. I also find Basil to be a happy, friendly Herb in general – how can you not be cheered by a thriving pot of basil on the windowsill? Add to water when washing surfaces and floors for its cleansing and good fortune properties.
Bay Laurel – One of my all time favourite Herbs, no home is complete in my opinion without a Bay Laurel planted in the garden or a pot somewhere. Bay Laurel offers protection for the home and for the occupants. Hang a bunch of leaves somewhere or place a few leaves strategically throughout the home. Hang a bunch in the kitchen and you will always have them on hand for cooking too. I pick a fresh bunch each May and burn last years on the Beltane fire but this would be equally suited to undertake at Imbolc – coming up in early February.
Elder – Small, little crosses of Elder can be placed in each room and Elder blossoms (when in season) can be used for adding to drinks and ritual cups.
Mint – Again a wonderfully fragrant Herb, to be used in washes and sprays throughout the house, for general cleaning and cleansing and a good herb to use in a house blessing.
Rowan – Like Bay Laurel, an excellent tree to have near the home and in and around the home. If you have the room plant as a young tree – they do not grow that big. Like Elder, you can make small crosses to be placed around the home as talismans of protection. Rowan is also a good tree to use for Imbolc.
Lavender – Universal Herb of healing and cleansing, tie dried Lavender in a bunch with a combination of the above herbs and burn as a home made smudge or add to washes, spray bottles and mop buckets.
Always remember to open windows and doors if possible when cleansing, this encourages the movement of stale air and energy within the home, particularly in Winter when we have been boxed in. Keeping healthy plants and herbs in your home environment will go a long way to keep the home happy and healthy anyway. A good tip if you are new to keeping house plants is just to keep an eye on them – follow the care instructions but if you find that they begin to look unhappy keep moving them around the home until they find their perfect spot. Even the most forlorn of plants can be very forgiving when it finds somewhere it likes.