Everyday Witchcraft: Simple Steps for Magical Living

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Spiritual Fall Cleaning

Yes, you read that right—I said FALL cleaning. I know we usually talk about spring cleaning, and in fact I have written articles and given classes that focus on what I call “Spiritual Spring Cleaning.” But in the last few years, I find that I am more likely to do my big cleaning and clearing push in the fall instead.

There are a couple of reasons for this. For one thing, here in the cold and snowy Northeast, we tend to get stuck in our houses a lot during the winter. [There are people who actually go outside for such winter sports as skiing and skating. Please see “cold and snowy” above for why I’m not one of them.] If I am going to spend all that time in my house, I like it to be clean and neat, and have good energy.

But it also seems to me that clearing and cleansing and protection work fit well with the waning energies of the season. In the fall, things are slowing down; the nights are longer and the days shorter, there is less light. All around us, the natural world is dying off or getting ready to slow or cease production—leaves fall from the trees, gardens get put to bed, birds fly south for the winter. This makes it a good time to make your own “nest” ready for the quieter, darker, colder months to come.

I like to start by clearing away “crap.” Each of us has a different definition of crap, of course, and I’m not suggesting that you toss your collection of vintage bottle caps if it you have a deep, emotional attachment to it. I’m talking about the accumulation of useless stuff that most of us have lying around—things we meant to sort through and throw away, but never got around to. Old paperwork, letters and cards from people you don’t even remember, clothes you never wear, tools you never use; you know what I mean. Start by doing a clear-out. Throw things away, donate them to the needy, find a friend who will actually use whatever it is. (For instance, when I started going through the room where I store most of my craft and Craft supplies, I discovered I had enough candles stowed away for three or four lifetimes. So I let the folks in my group pick out the ones they wanted, and brought the rest to the Salvation Army.)

Once you’ve cleared out the clutter, and organized whatever is remaining, then it is time to do the big fall clean and cleanse. If you want, you can start with yourself. Take a ritual bath or shower and wash away the busy, hectic summer season that lies behind us. Maybe do a fast for a day, or take a couple of days to just eat really healthy to prepare your body for the tougher winter months. Fall is the perfect time to do this; since there is such an abundance of wonderful fresh fruits and veggies, you can eat healthy with virtually no effort at all.

Then clean and cleanse your house. I took a good look at my broom (my regular cleaning one, not my magical one) and realized that it was over ten years old and falling apart. So the first thing I did was to buy a new broom, and consecrate it for cleansing work. Then I went through the house from top to bottom and swept every room, being mindful of not just sweeping away dirt, but negative or stagnant energy as well. I finished up by going through the entire place with a sage smudge stick and a salt and water mixture, clearing and cleansing all the places (like windows and doors) where energy can come and go.

Fall is also the time I do my yearly protection work on my house. I make up a mixture of sea salt, basil, sage, garlic (just a token amount if I’m using it inside) and a pinch of cayenne pepper. This year, I added some charcoal from the Midsummer bonfire, for an extra boost, as well as some magical protection oil I’d made up previously. You can add anything else that you like that is protective in nature. I go around the outside of the house, paying special attention to doorways, and then I go around the edges of my property (which isn’t very large). I ask that the house and those who live there be protected from anything harmful, whether intentional or accidental, and I focus all my energy on placing the house and property within a protective bubble. If you are in an apartment (or a neighborhood full of nosey people) you can always do this inside instead of outside. [Don’t forget your mailbox, since lots of things come into your house that way.]

When I’m done, the house is neater, the energy clearer, and I feel ready to settle in to my “inside” time of year, without the baggage left over from the previous, more active seasons. Of course, come spring, I’ll do another cleansing to prepare for that energy, but for now, I can sit on the couch with a cat (or three), a mug of mulled cider, and a good book. Who could ask for more?

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Deborah Blake is the author of Everyday Witch Book of Rituals (Llewellyn 2012), Witchcraft on a Shoestring (Llewellyn, 2010) as well as The Everyday Witch A to Z Spellbook (2010) and several other books. She lives in a 100-year-old farmhouse in upstate New York with five cats who supervise all her activities, both magickal and mundane.


  • Molly
    Molly Monday, 07 October 2013

    I have been feeling this urge profoundly this year! My husband and I were just talking about it last night--this crisp fall air feels like it is blowing in a sense of promise, potential, and possibility. Time to clean out the old and welcome in the new! I feel change in the air.

  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake Monday, 07 October 2013

    Exactly, Molly!

  • Emily Mills
    Emily Mills Monday, 07 October 2013

    My hubby and I had the urge to do a major fall cleaning the evening before Mabon/ Alban Elfed. We cleaned while I had a loaf of gluten free bread going in the oven. Somehow, it felt like the scent of the bread was helpful in tying it all together. We didn't bless the boundaries, however, so I will use some of this for Samhain. Excellent!

  • Deborah Blake
    Deborah Blake Tuesday, 08 October 2013

    Ooh, I love the idea of baking bread at the time you're cleaning! And then eating it afterward, of course :-)

    Samhain is a great time for blessing and protection work for the home.

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