No one really likes to clean, but we all know we feel better when our physical space is tidy. It's one of life's necessary chores. Start your spring off with a good thorough cleaning, and then follow that up with a spiritual cleansing. This is a great ritual to perform at Imbolc -- remember that for many of our ancestors, washing came only a few times a year, so by February, a house was probably smelling pretty ripe. Pick a bright sunny day to do a clean sweep, and then invite friends and family to join you in a blessing of your home.
First, do a complete physical cleaning of your house. Put on some music and thoroughly clean every room. Strip sheets off the beds, turn the mattresses, dust every surface, and vacuum every floor. Sort through those piles of paper on your desk, and get rid of things you don't need to keep; file everything else. Gather up the kids' toys and put them in baskets for easy storage. If you need to get rid of things, do it now -- set aside a box for charity and put gently used items in it. Set aside another box for trash, and see if you can fill it up!
Once your house is clean -- and this assumes you did the kitchen as well -- it's time to have some fun. Call up some friends and invite them over for a potluck. Cook up some Imbolc-themed comfort foods, such as Braided Bread or Beer Battered Fish & Chips, and have a small potluck celebration. Ask each guest to bring a small token to bless your house -- pebbles, shells, interesting bits of wood, beads, etc.
You'll also need the following:
- A bowl of water
- Some sea salt
- A smudging bundle of sage or sweetgrass
- A blue candle
- Some Blessing Oil
- A bowl or bag
Begin at the front door -- it is, after all, where you welcome guests into your home -- and go through the house in a sunwise direction (clockwise). Ask your guests to help you by smudging the perimeter of each room with the salt, sage, candle flame and water. You may wish to say some sort of incantation as they do this, something like:
With the purifying power of water,
with the clean breath of air,
with the passionate heat of fire,
with the grounding energy of earth
we cleanse this space.
As you pass from room to room, anoint each door and windowsill with the Blessing Oil by tracing the shape of a pentagram or other symbol of your tradition. This prevents anything negative from crossing into the home. If you like, you can offer a small incantation as you do this, something like:
May the goddess bless this home,
making it sacred and pure,
so that nothing but love and joy
shall enter through this door.
Finally, once you've gone through the house, ask each of your guests to deposit their blessing token in your bowl or bag. Keep it in a place of honor in your home -- on the mantel or in your kitchen is a good idea. Gather around the dinner table, break out the goodies, and enjoy a feast with your friends and family!
* If you don't have Blessing Oil, you can use rosemary oil instead. Make your own by infusing fresh rosemary in grapeseed or flaxseed oil.