My homes have always had something of a reputation – a good friend described one of them as a ‘magickal bunker.’ Others comment on the richness of the energy, or how safe and comfortable my houses feel. So, one of the questions I get pretty frequently is how to achieve the same thing: what enchantments do I use on my home, and in what order? How does one set up an enchanted home? What is the best practice for moving into a new home?
I’ve written before about protection magick specifically for dwellings: home warding and set-and-forget apotropaics. I’ve written about enchantments for specific parts of the house like thresholds. I don’t want to retread that information – please look up those articles for ways to get started on those particular areas of home enchantment. Today, I want to focus on relationship building with your home. I have a specific pattern I follow for moving into a new home and claiming it as my own. As always, everything I share with you comes from my own practice – a cobbled together collection of magick I’ve gathered along the way from many different sources. Take the pieces that work for you, just as I have. I follow a corvid magickal philosophy: if it’s shiny and not attached to anything (like another culture we could be appropriating from), I tuck it into my nest.
Cultivating a healthy, cocreative relationship with your home is beneficial across your entire life: it boosts your magickal workings, makes your time at home more healing and nourishing, and supports all the Beings that shelter under your roof.
The first action to take when moving into a new home, or beginning the process of enchantment on your own, is to shift your perspective. In Western culture, we have a distinct line between what we consider to be alive/enspirited and what we consider to be an inert, lifeless, spiritless object. This translates to a user behavior that spills into many areas of life. It’s part of why people who really do mean well still approach their lives with a transactional or ownership mindset. So, the first perspective shift to develop is:
You are a temporary guardian of your home.
Go back and read that sentence again. If your home is reasonably constructed, it will outlive you. You are part of your home’s journey, but you are not its entire story. Over time, dwelling spaces become enspirited. Depending on how and when they were built, some homes were designed to be enspirited from the very beginning. Understanding that you are a friend along the way but not the center of the story is one necessary mental shift. The second shift is:
Homes are supposed to be haunted.
Groucho Marx glasses optional
Use “sentient” or “enspirited” if the word “haunted” makes you uncomfortable. Your home, and the land it lives on, is a spiritual polyculture of all the beings that have lived and currently live there. I learned the term “spiritual ecosystem” in relation to homes from teacher and writer Trey Moonwood, and it’s my favorite way to describe the landscape of a given home. A house is present for a lot of life and death: the birth of baby birds in the nest up under the eaves, the death of the mouse in its burrow down by the foundations, the burial in the yard of a beloved cat or dog who lived out its final years peacefully sleeping in the sunbeam in the living room. Sometimes humans are born and pass as well. I know of at least one peaceful passage in my own home, there were probably more (my house is around 150 years old). These Rites of Passage are often quiet and unnoticed by the living, but the cumulative impact of them over time is profound.
The everyday actions of those who dwell within a home leave traces as well. There is gentle, old magic in creating a meal for our family, tucking children in at night with a kiss and a blessing, watering and cutting flowers in the garden, and spring and fall cleaning. The humans who lived in your home before you did not need to be of a magickal orientation to influence the ecosystem of the house.
When you move into a new home, you are finding your place within that existing ecosystem. Cultivating a healthy balance with the spiritual polyculture already present takes time, attention, and intention. I see entirely too many magickal protocols for moving into a home that are the spiritual/energetic equivalent of setting off a nuke. There are better, healthier ways to cultivate your relationship with your home than to completely wipe the slate clean and start over.
Introduction and Opportunity to Depart
My very first step when moving into a new space, or resetting a space I already live in, is very simple: I open a few doors and windows. Then, I light a candle in the space I feel is the center or “hearth” of the home. I tune in to the energy of the house, usually by placing my hand on the wall. Then, I introduce myself:
“Hello, spirits of this place. My name is Irene. My spouse, Ash, and I are moving our household into this home. We come in a spirit of peace and cooperation, and all who wish to remain in a cooperative way are welcome to stay. If you do not wish to live with us in good faith and right action, it is time to go home to your family. Go with our blessing and leave no trouble behind you.”
I wait a little while for any spirits who don’t like the look or sound of us to leave. There’s often a feeling of shifting around, but if you’re not sensitive to spirit movement, simply allow about five minutes. Then, close the doors and windows that were opened as departure routes. I follow the introduction and departure with an offering to the spirits who choose to remain, and a pledge to treat them well and compassionately, and to work together.
If your home includes land, it’s good to “claim” and protect that space as well. The method of landtaking that my spouse and I use comes out of our Heathen (Norse) practices. We light a torch (in our case, we use a torch made from lightning-struck oak to add a little bit of Thor’s blessing and protection) and carry it around the perimeter of the property. As we do so, we say a similar thing to what was said in the home during the introduction and opportunity to depart: “Hail to the Landvaettir and spirits of this place. We claim this land as our home and hall. We come in the spirit of peace and cooperation. If you do not wish to live with us in good faith and right action, it is time to go home to your family. Go with our blessing. All baleful spirits are barred from here.”
We add to the Landtaking by pouring out an offering at the corners of our property. I am a meadmaker, and one mead I create is inspired by the Æcerbot charm (and Chase Hill Kindred, who I first learned about this kind of mead from). Æcerbot mead contains a small amount of every fruit, herb, and vegetable I grow. I add a good deal of fruit to balance out the small pieces of savory or spicy herbs and vegetables. I use this mead in our Landtaking to connect the fruitfulness of the home and land I left behind me to the home and land I am moving into. Obviously, that mead is specific to my individual practice. An offering of clear spring water or a sweet and precious beverage would work for this part if you choose to include it.
Once we have made a complete circuit of the land with the torch, and poured out offerings, we trace protective runes at the sealing point of the circuit and then douse the torch.
There is a balance point to find with purification practices when you are moving into a home. You do want to clear up the stagnant or loose discordant energy that the previous tenants shed in the space (everyone has a bad day – it’s just a human thing, not a malevolent thing: we shed energy like we shed skin cells) but you do not want to blast the spiritual ecosystem into the stratosphere. So, the first step is not smoke or bells: it’s cleaning. Literally cleaning a space (wiping down the walls, washing the windows, vacuuming or mopping the floors) moves energy along with dust and grime. This is why spaces feel better when they’re freshly cleaned – all the human energetic detritus gets cleared out. When I move into a home, the step I take after Introduction and Landtaking is a top to bottom cleaning of the house. Crack a window so there’s an exit for the energy you break up and any spirits who have now decided that you’re serious and don’t want to stick around.
My personal pattern for cleaning is to go top to bottom and left to right (clockwise or deosil). If cleaning is one of those practices that confounds you, I describe the process my mother taught me and that I use to this day right here. In an empty house, it’s much easier, so my preference is do the big clearing prior to moving my belongings into my new home.
After physically cleaning the house, use either a lit candle or a light incense (one that is not used for banishing) to smooth any remaining energy patterns and tune the space. You can follow with bells if that is part of your practice. I find that sounding a clear bell helps settle the flow of energy and smooth it into harmonious patterns.
Strong purification work is only necessary in spaces that truly need it: homes that were the site of a traumatic event, or ones that include problematic spirits that need to be evicted. Those are rarities, however: most spiritual ecosystems are neutral to benevolent. It’s their home, too, and they want to be in good relationship with all the Beings there just as much as you do.
House Spirit Altar
After you move in, or even during the process, choose a place that will be an altar and offering location for the spirits of your home. This can look like many things: a small curio shelf, the space on top of a cabinet in the kitchen, a spot by the range, or an entire mantle. What’s important here is to have a dedicated space for making offerings to the house, and the house spirits. Good friendships include gifting: we give each other time, energy, love, food, beverages, and sometimes objects. Friendships with spirits are no different. The offerings change form a little bit – the time we offer is time maintaining the house and land as opposed to going bowling together – but the intention remains. You’re building a friendship: gift your house and spiritual ecosystem. Clear, clean water is always a good choice. Sweet incense, flowers, and food offerings can be effective as well.
Tend your House Spirit Altar regularly. I refresh offerings about once a week, and always express gratitude while I am doing so. When you are refreshing offerings, it’s also a good opportunity to tune in and see if you’re getting any messages from the house spirits.
Find a Name
Your home is your hall, and should have a name. You can look up the history of your house (many deeds and records are available online) for inspiration, or suggest a name that includes your aspirations for your home. I lived in an apartment we called Ardhcalla: “High Haven.” Another home was Callataigh: “Haven House.” Both of those names were created using Gaelic. The home I live in now, and hopefully will for the rest of my life, is “The Magic House.” We’ve tried other names but nothing seems to fit. That name came to me while I was steaming wallpaper before moving in. I’d watched Disney’s “Encanto” recently, and was thinking about how my home is a bit like the Casita in the movie. I started referring to my house as “The Magic House” and it just…stuck. If another name comes, that’s wonderful. If not, that’s okay too. For now, “The Magic House” seems to be what the spirits like. A divinatory tool can be helpful for determining which name your house spirits want.
When you talk to your house spirits, and make offerings, use the name. Names have power, and help inform the path we’re walking together. The Magic House is deeply magickal. My previous two homes were places of refuge from the world. Choose well, wisely, and with the consent and cooperation of your spirits.
By shifting your perspective and doing a few workings for claiming and setting the space, you’ll be off to a great start on having a healthy, spiritually balanced, energetically thriving home. Once you’ve established a friendship and a space to nurture it, the connection grows beautifully and naturally.
So, what did I miss? What do you like to do when you first move into a house? Hit me up in the comments. You never know when your practice is exactly what someone else needs to add to their own.
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