The weather is starting to change and in the evenings I often feel chilled. I still have a few fresh herbs in the garden. This self care practice is perfect for moving stagnant energy, purifying living spaces and clearing the energy of the “old year”. In many cultures washing floors is more than removing dirt. Some people consider the end of October to about beginnings/birth rather than endings/death.
I lived in Central Asia for 9 weeks and witnessed the regular ritual of the babushka in our apartment block. She would wet and sweep the packed dirt entrance way both to keep down the dust and provide some kind of “magical” service for the community.
When doing a house blessing one can imagine bringing abundance, health, fertility, wealth, good luck and other positive qualities into a home. When doing a clearing one can imagine illness, bad memories, misfortune, conflict, obstacles, traumatic events, stress and negative aspects being expelled. This is an opportunity to do some “house cleaning, start over, repair ruptures with people and nature, or begin a new habit or project.
To prepare the solution pour 1 gallon of boiling water over 1-2 cups of fresh or dried herbs. Let cool to room temperature and strain out the herbs. I like to use a combination of Basil, Rue, Mugwort, Sage, Oregano, Marigold, Lavender, Rosemary Feverfew and Angelica depending on what I have as excess in the garden. Some people like the sensual and ritual practice of squeezing and straining out the plants by hand. Compost and discard them with respect when you are done.
While your herbs are infusing……
1)Open all windows and doors.
2)Pack up anything you no longer want or need and dispose of/donate it.
3)Re-arrange furniture, redecorate.
4)Burn incense in the following areas-rooms, corners, closets, basement, attics, stairwells, chests, armoires, under beds, and any large hidden places.
5)Sweep all floors. I use a special broom just for house blessings/clearings.
Some people might like to prepare themselves in a ceremonial way by taking a bath, wearing white clothes, lighting a candle, or doing an energy sweep/clearing of the body with a straw hand whisk.
Once the infusion is ready use it to mop all floors, Paying special attention to corners and areas under rugs/furniture. If you wish to do more of a ritual start a the doorway of your house, walk in and bless each room going clockwise. You can dip plants, a feather, fan or some other item into the water and flick it vigorously at the walls as you pass through. Finish by dumping an leftover water on the front porch or in your yard.
Angelica archangelica is a biennial/perennial plant in the parsley family. It very important to be sure of with identification for any plants in this family as it includes poison hemlock and hogweed, which are poisonous. Angelica grows well in most urban gardens. In the wild it prefers environments that are damp-swamps and marshes or well watered by rivers or streams. This plant grows 3-10 feet high. The stem is tall, thick, hollow, grooved, and tends to branch at the top. It is bright green with a blue/white matt like bloom. It’s few leaves grow from the stem as a sheath similar to celery. These can be quite large , triple divided and pinnate in shape. The pale green flowers grow as a large , spherical, compound umbel at the top of the plant . The “fruit” are green, oblong and similar to fennel but as they dry burst into yellow two winged seeds. The roots are red to brown. Like most members in its family, the whole plant has a very distinctive smell and taste. Angelica is sweet, spicey, and agreeable with a bitter aftertaste. All parts of this herb have been used as medicine.
Angelica has been used to address all manner of complaints related to the digestive and respiratory systems. It may provide relief for gas, ulcers, indigestion, colic, stomach cramps, vomiting, coughs, colds, asthma, bronchitis, It has a historical use in treating retained placenta, weak kidneys or spleen, headache, poor appetite, water retention, anemia, poor circulation in the hands or feet, painful periods or menstrual problems, urinary tract infections, the flu, and motion sickness.
Externally as a salve, lotion, or wash- Angelica has been used for rheumatism, muscle cramps, wounds, scabies, itchy skin, gout, arthritis, and electric shock.
Studies have shown this herb to be anti-fungal , anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. Useful as an anti-septic or antibiotic.
The stems are candied for desserts and the leaves pair well with seafood or soup.
Energetics: sweet , pungent, warm, dry
Spiritual/Energetic Uses: Inspiration, creativity, clarity, good fortune, protection (especially at moment of birth or death and other life passages), connection and guidance. Helping us to expand beyond our comfort zone and embrace new things.
Contraindications:large dose or therapeutic prolonged use can have a negative effect on blood pressure, respiratory rate and heart action. Do not take during pregnancy, if you are diabetic, with a high fever, have a bleeding disorder/hemorrhage. Use only the dry root.