“Beauty extends from the fireside of my hogan.”
-Navajo House Blessing Song
We use the phrase “Blessed be” frequently, but do we truly understand what we’re saying? First, it’s an interesting historical fact that the word bless is taken from a root word meaning blood. This dates back to the times when altars were prepared for the Divine by sprinkling blood over the surface. While at first this sounds a little gruesome, we must remember that blood represents life’s essence.
What is Magic Blessing?
Going further, bless also means to set apart, protect, make happy, liberation from temporal concerns, and consecration. Putting this together with the original linguistics, when we say, “Blessed be” we are invoking all the best things in life, including safety, joy, and enlightenment, on one another. That’s quite a mouthful!
Now let’s take this to a more personal level. What about blessing our loved ones, our pets, our homes, and ourselves? Aren’t these people and places worthy of “blessed bes”? Certainly, but sometimes we neglect blessing back to hearth and home. This happens in part because many folks are still a little nervous about the idea of being a Priest/ess in their own lives. It also happens because we seem to equate “self-blessing” with “selfishness,” which is simply not true. Consider: How can we hope to bless others effectively when we don’t know how to receive blessings in our own lives?
Five Steps for a Simple House Blessing Magick Ritual
When you first get involved in Wicca or Witchcraft you may find ritual very different than what you experienced in other religious contexts. But if you think of ritual as a kind of theater where you are telling a meaningful story, it makes more sense. With home blessing you’re typically working alone so you become the set crew, writer, actor, and director!
In working on a personalized ritual, it helps to know what makes this effort successful. Below are five steps for making house blessings simple and effective:
A defined beginning that sets the tone for the ritual and designates sacred space.
Strong sensory input, each part of which represents the ritual’s goal symbolically or literally.
A defined pattern that gets followed closely each time that ritual is performed.
Meaningful location, decorations, and other blood elements that create a sympathetic environment within which the ritual’s theme unfolds.
A defined ending that provides closure and grounds the participants.
Pagan House Blessing Basics
First, rituals need to have a defined beginning. Whatever marks the start of the ritual also designates the line between world-and-not-world and prepares the participants (in this case you) for what’s about to occur. An example suited to your home would be lighting a central candle on your altar. This is also the time when you upon guardian energies and the Sacred for assistance, protection, and participation.
These guardians include those who protect the threshold between worlds, natural spirits, directional or elemental spirits, and/or spirits who walk with you as companions and guides. If you wish you can call on your Animal Totem too.
Exactly what words, actions, and directional correspondences an invocation uses depends heavily on your personal magical tradition. For example, while many shamanic systems associate North with the air element, Wiccans associate East with air.
What’s most important here isn’t the logistics but finding a meaningful way to honor the four corners of creation, the Creator, and to welcome those energies into your observance. This effort creates a sacred space, one that has been set aside and consecrated.
Additional Magic Ritual Elements to Consider
First Impressions Count: Rituals need strong sensory input. Sounds, aromas, textures, and sights all affect the way we feel and react in the sacred space. Sensual cues gently guide our minds away from the temporal into the spiritual realms. Therefore, the more senses that come into play (especially those to which you respond strongly), the better the overall impact. Since we are talking about house blessing, visual components might include family photos and an aromatic addition might be burning your favorite incense.
Patterns of Power: Ritual always follows a specific pattern. Ritual acts like a blueprint for the spiritual energy that you want to draw into your reality. Each time you work with a given design it becomes easier to create that associated energy. Eventually this pattern becomes instinctual and imprinted on your soul. In this manner, with time and repetition, ritual becomes life and life becomes the ritual and act of worship, no matter the setting. Among the goals of modern Neo-Paganism is finding ways of bringing the Sacred back into every moment of life and expressing that connection through everyday activities.
Keep it Relevant: Each part of the ritual needs to have meaning to those gathered. Without meaningfulness, ritual becomes a rote liturgy that provides no emotional connection. Rather like an electrical outlet, ritual offers potential power, but nothing happens if you don’t purposefully plug into that energy source (e.g., if you’re not connected because there’s no personal significance). Each meaningful element of a ritual constitutes one part of it’s “blood,” and therefore has the potential of substantially nourishing the energy desired. Think of this as preparing a stretch of land for planting. Cleverly conceived ritual elements fertilize and support your magic in the spiritual land generated by the sacred space.
Closing the Circle:Rituals have a defined ending that provides closure. Before a ritual you want to reconnect with the real world. So, as a ritual starts gearing down, you move into closing with something that says that while the magic created continues to move, the present work is done. Closing prayers are one example of this, as is the dismissal of the quarters in Wicca.
It would be misleading to say that every ritual you ever create or perform will have the perfect blend of each of these five elements. And with a house blessing all manner of interruptions can set your best plans askew. So when the dog trudges through the sacred space or unexpected company comes, reach into your creative inner well and “wing it. So, use this information as a guideline. Don’t let it become a stone-carved construct that binds creativity or responsiveness to your Higher Self.
Daily Magickal House Blessings
While many people only perform house blessings when they move into a new home, this can become an ongoing mini-ritual that you enact every day through thoughtful actions. For example, each day get up and light a candle to honor your house Spirit. Greet that energy warmly and ask the Great Spirit to continue the blessings in your home before rushing off to work.
Set up some type of semi-permanent personal or family altar where aspects of your faith can remain as ongoing reminders of the Sacred. Anoint your home with empowering oils and chant sacred songs while you straighten up at the end of the day. In whatever forms possible, turn away the business, noise, and harshness of Urbania from your personal space so that it truly remains a sanctuary. On those occasions when you want something more formalized than what daily maintenance provides, try this house blessing ritual.
This is brief so that it can easily be slipped into nearly any day’s routine, but you can certainly expand it. Read through the ritual a couple of times. Meditate about it and about what your home means to you, then make any personal changes desired. This takes a little more time than just using the prefabricated rite, but it will make the effort far more meaningful, and therefore more successful. If you like the results, copy the ritual into your Grimoire.
Easy Magic House Blessing Ritual
Invocation: If you have a family or personal altar set up, start the invocation there; otherwise, begin in the room where you spend the most time. Invite the Great Spirit and the elemental powers into your home in any way that feels comfortable. Make known your intentions and ask for their assistance in making your entire living space into a haven that defends and supports everyone in your home and your visitors.
Prayer: Recite this prayer or another of your choosing while moving clockwise around your home. This motion inspires blessings. Repeat the prayer as many times as necessary to complete a full circuit of your home, stopping in each room (don’t forget the cellar, attic, and/or garage). Take some burning sage, sweetgrass, or lavender with you to banish residual negativity.
“Sun Father, shine in my home. Let me see clearly and begin each day in this sacred space with hope. Earth Mother, give my home firm foundations. Let me and mine grow strong here together. Brother Air, move ever through my home with inspiring winds. Let me breathe of your inspiration and clarity daily. Sister Sea, wash through this place with healing waves. To each day bring a fullness of emotions and peace.”
Activities: In the center of the home, preferably close to your fireplace or stove, light a candle saying:
“This candle represents the spirit of my home and all who live or visit here. By the blessings of Spirit and the Ancestors, may it always be filled with perfect love, truth, peace, harmony, and wholeness.”
Let this candle burn in a safe place, replacing it as necessary. If leaving a candle burning twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week isn’t feasible, leave on any light source to represent ongoing warmth and health in your home.
Closing: Dismiss the guardians and your sacred circle in any way you wish. Thank them for coming and ask that they continue to watch over your home and fill it with love. If possible, spend the remainder of your day puttering around your house. Let your magical spirit revel in spiritual safety and the wonderful energized space you’ve created.
Expanded from “Shaman in the 9-5 World,” by Patricia Telesco. All rights reserved.