Cleansing like grandma used to

Cleansing like grandma used to

Because the spiritual practice of cleansing your personal space/home/altar has become so popular and has led to over harvesting of California White Sage, Palo Santo, Dragon's Blood Resin, etc. it made me think of when I first started out on my path.

In all honesty, when I started practicing over 25 years ago, I was actually very unfamiliar with sage. I had heard of Desert Sage but never California White Sage. I was in awe to learn of this and of course jumped on that bandwagon as well.

But as time went by, I started thinking of things I saw growing up in my grandparents home and also what I saw on the Laguna Pueblo. And while it was never said "Oh, we're cleansing the home," I always wondered why my elders would burn things while walking around the home. 

So, going through the rolodex in my mind I remembered what I saw and what was actually said. For example, in my Mexican/Jewish grandparents home I always saw them burning the peels of onions and or garlic peels. My grandmother would say "You're not supposed to throw your peels away, always burn them." But why did she walk around the home while burning them in a pot? Of course later in life I realized what she was doing. However, back then you never questioned your elders as to why, just watch and learn.

Of course later I researched the magickal properties of onion and garlic. My Mexican family was very Catholic but they were also very superstitious and believed in black magick and the bad people who they believed practiced it.  So, onion and garlic were the go-to as they both have strong protective energies, break hexes and curses and the smoke provides a shield of protection to hide you from the wrongdoings of others that may wish you harm. They are also known to purify a space. 

As I became older and started spending more time with my Laguna family, I saw them using Cedar and/or Juniper (Also my Dine' friends and family use Cedar). Mama Kowice would get a small iron skillet, putting it on the stove till it became burning hot then proceeding to throw in the Cedar or Juniper pieces. She grabbed the handle with a thick oven mitt/kitchen towel whatever was handy and walked fast throughout the home while they were burning. This process was done quickly as you could still feel the hot handle burn through the oven mitt.

Now my Pueblo family were more open as to why they did this, and they said it was to rid any negative feelings or energy that might be in the home. This was used especially after a bad day, family disagreement or tragedy. And while there is an abundance of Desert Sage in our area that was rarely used, my family’s go-to was always Cedar and Juniper.

Cedar promotes peaceful thoughts, protection of one's space, drives away negative energy and a ton of other things. Juniper drives away evil entities, emotional healing, drives away misfortune and promotes love just to name a few. My family also believed the smoke cleaned the air of anything that might make us sick, i.e. colds, viruses, etc. 

Now throwing in my modern twist to my family's traditions, I just add more herbs. I love using rosemary and pine from my yard, and even rose petals. Nowadays I don't use a cooking pot or an iron skillet to burn them, but I do use my charcoal disc, or a burner with a handle, with some sea salt to line my burner to add that extra cleansing vibe and to reduce the heat.

So, in conclusion, if you don't happen to have a background where you saw things like this my advice to you is just look around you. Your yard, local area, and even the kitchen is filled with magick. Look into the spices you use daily. They all have properties that you might need or want to use to cleanse your space.  

Hope you enjoyed this piece of my family history and hope it helps you on your spiritual magickal journey.

Much love and happy magickal musings, Desert Siren

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