Here in Thornesworld I’m not all that hot on Spring Cleaning. In the spring I’m just too busy getting outdoors in the garden to really clean house.
I know, I know. Spring cleaning began as the way to clean out all the winter gloomies and yuckies and germs and stink. But these days, no matter how cold it is, we all take baths, don’t we? I mean, do any of you really still believe that a bath will kill you or in the least make you deathly ill? I’ve gotten over throwing my refuse from meals and such on the floor of my castle in the last few centuries or so, too; so thank Goddess that’s not an issue anymore. In fact, the house stays so clean during the winter (due to the reasons below) that spring cleaning isn’t much more than a wave of my broom and a twitch of my nose!
Well… that might be a slight exaggeration. Of course after a long, cold, winter inside, I like to throw open the windows and doors, grab both my magickal and physical arsenal and do a little house cleaning and cleansing, but the really deep clean? That waits for Fall in Thornesworld.
I can’t speak for all witches, or even any other witch but me; but I am super in tune with the turning of the wheel of the year. The seasons as they come and go are times of change on both inner and outer levels for me. I hear a lot of folx say that there are no seasons in California, but I must heartily disagree. We may not get tons of snow, and it can be hard to come by a road covered with the bright colors of fallen autumn leaves, but our seasons are as distinct to me, (and must be to any who stop to really experience them), as are night and day.
Comes fall. The days begin to cool and I have more energy again. We’re wrapping up the gardening, lots of harvesting and canning or freezing our bounty to carry us through winter. Time to start picking the pumpkins and gourds and the Winter Squash for storage. It’s time for outside cleanup and prep. Making sure tools are put away and the house is sealed up tight against the coming cold. There’s kindling to gather and cordwood to cut, split and stack, and yes, the house to clean so we can enjoy being inside for the Winter months.
Sometime around the first of October is when I get serious. Ancestor season has arrived. Winter is the time I go inward, both physically and magickally. Who wants to be cooped up inside a dirty, dusty house all Winter? So I grab my magickal vinegar, light some of my Clear & Cleanse incense, crank up the tunes, and get to work. Yeah, yeah, there’s more to doing a Deep Cleanse & Bless than that, and you can find my full kit along with 11 pages of detailed instruction/guidance HERE, but it’s a good start toward making everything clean and clear for both myself and my guests. (Besides, if I light the fireplace without removing the current inch or so of dust, we might explode.)
October brings with it Ancestor Season. It’s the time of year when their presence is most strongly felt so a good cleaning of all the home altars is in order, with special attention given to my Altar of Beloved Dead. My little mommy passed in January of this year, and I’ve kept her ashes on a small altar in my bedroom since she came home. I needed to feel her close to me, simply said.
But as All Hallows Eve approaches, I’m cleaning (and cleansing), arranging (and consecrating) this very special altar to make room for momma there along with seasonal decorations, more candles for the many rituals and offerings that will be made. I have a lot of guests from Hallowe’en thru the calendar New Year, and many of them stay on through the winter. They seem to love the warmth and light in this old stone house that has space dedicated specially to them.
Along with the living friends and family that come to celebrate and enjoy our traditions, this is the time of year that I celebrate and honor my beloved dead; all of my ancestors, my husband, friends, family, and lovers who have passed on. After I spruce up their year round altar I pull out more photos and mementos. I cook their favorite foods and we offer some to them on that altar, along with clear water from our well and the light of many candles and sweet smoke from resins and herbs, and we the living eat of their favorite foods and share the stories. Although our beloved dead are only a thought away all through the year, the winter is when they come in and cozy up close to the fire to enjoy the light and celebration.
Winter is also my time for study and deeper meditation, it’s the time that I spend hours gazing into the fire to see what I might see, the time that trances come easily with needlework, crochet and spinning, and that I set myself to divine my path forward as I meet the challenges and joys of the coming year. My beloved dead being especially close during this time offer me guidance and comfort through the long dark nights of winter.
I’d love to hear about any rituals, traditions or observances you all have during this time of year. And if you’d like more information or advice on how to make and keep an ancestor altar, feel free to ask. I’m happy to be of service.
In Light and Shadow,
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