January. A quiet time after all the hall decking, gift making, card writing, family visiting, celebrating, busy-ness of Yuletide, but before the time of committing to our intentions for the new year at Imbolc. As a younger witch, I struggled with this month. The slowness of it didn’t appeal to my fiery desire to quickly leap into the activity of spring. Now I appreciate this pause, this breath between the years. We need this spaciousness. It can be difficult in our frenzied society structured upon human “doing” rather than human “being” for us to allow ourselves the time we need before starting things anew.
For me, this month is about cleansing. Though the lights and tinsel of Yule were cheerful for the season, they now feel cluttery and claustrophobia-inducing. The once-fresh greens are now dry and wilting. The alcohol and sugar-soaked celebrations have wreaked havoc on my body, and I am ready to get back to my regular healthy diet. Cleansing, magically and physically, is not only a way of clearing out the old, but also preparing for the new. We are creating a nice, clean sheet of white paper to write our new year on. You don’t have to know yet what you are going to write, you’re just giving yourself the fresh palate you need to be creative.
In our home, a cinnamon broom (we get ours from Trader Joe’s, which always sells them at Yuletide. If you don’t have Trader Joe’s in your area, you can get them here), hangs in the kitchen year-round to magically keep our home clean and protected. At this time of year, after the Yule decorations have been put away and the house has been physically cleaned, we take the broom down and use it to sweep the energy of the old year (and any cobwebs I spot in the corners) out of the front door. Then we burn it, along with the old greenery from Yule, and hang up the new broom, infusing it with a spell of words to keep our house clean and protected for the new year.
Besides cleaning my house, I also like to focus on magically cleansing myself of anything that is no longer serving me. This weekend I sat in a nice hot bath, with some salt and herbs and a bit of magic sprinkled in, and let all within me that needed to go release easily from my body, the water returning it all to the great cauldron to be transformed and shifted into something new. As I sat there, I could feel each part leaving, coming up as last thoughts or doubts before they drained away. I knew the spell had worked when that one last voice asked “Wait, what if I’m not ready to let go of it?” and then that voice itself was silenced. What parts of yourself need to be released and transformed so that you may do your work in the new year unencumbered?
If baths are not your thing, showers are also an excellent way to magically cleanse, feeling the water wash away all that is unneeded down the drain. Showering after ritual is often how I re-ground myself and let go of the magic that was done so that it can do it’s work. To make your shower a little extra witchy, you can make magical shower melts infused with a cleansing spell:
While creating these spells, I held onto a memory of walking through a eucalyptus forest on a very windy day. The air was crisp and the eucalyptus-scented wind whipped around me joyfully. In that moment, I felt that the forest itself was cleansing me.
Cleansing Shower Melts:
- 1 cup cornstarch
- several drops food coloring (I used half blue and half green)
- Essential Oil of your choice (I used about 50 drops of eucalyptus oil and about 10 drops of lavender oil)
- 5-8 Tablespoons of water
- Something to mold them with (I used silicone mini muffin cups, you could use an ice cube tray. I recommend silicone)
- A sharp tool to inscribe runes/sigils if desired
Ground and center yourself and set your intention of creating a cleansing spell. You may have a few words in mind to repeat as a chant, a song to sing or hum, or hold a fresh and clean memory in your body as you create these. Add food coloring and essential oils to your cornstarch (the food coloring won’t really show up until you start to add water). Add water one tablespoon at a time, mixing it in after each tablespoon. Your mixture will become crumbly. When you’ve added just the right amount of water, your mixture will acquire a silly-putty like texture. Press into your molds and stick into your freezer for about an hour to set. Once you’ve taken them out of the freezer, you can use a sharp tool to inscribe any sigils you like. I inscribed the rune laguz onto mine. I wrapped mine individually with cling wrap and put them in a tub that I keep in the freezer. When you’re ready to use them, just put one on the floor of your shower where the water will hit it, melting it and releasing the magic and the oils as you shower.
A word of caution: Yes, you can also use these in the bath. However, I once got eucalyptus oil on my lady parts and it was NOT GOOD. So, if you plan on also using your shower melts in the bath, make sure you use an essential oil that will not irritate your sensitive bits.