A spring clean is a little cliched, but this time of year it really feels like the right thing to do. I am drawn to open windows, dust out cupboards, and generally ‘air’ the house, even with the snow still on the floor outside. I want the fresh, clean (cold!) air to circulate the house and blow out the Winter, and below are some ideas on how to achieve this using herbs……
A basic cleansing ritual is of course the smudge stick – usually white sage, but here are some other Herbs you can use for other purposes.
Basil – A herb of protection and good fortune for those that live within the house. I also find Basil to be a happy, friendly Herb in general – how can you not be cheered by a thriving pot of basil on the windowsill? Add to water when washing surfaces and floors for its cleansing and good fortune properties.
Bay Laurel – One of my all time favourite Herbs, no home is complete in my opinion without a Bay Laurel planted in the garden or a pot somewhere. Bay Laurel offers protection for the home and for the occupants. Hang a bunch of leaves somewhere or place a few leaves strategically throughout the home. Hang a bunch in the kitchen and you will always have them on hand for cooking too. I pick a fresh bunch each May and burn last years on the Beltane fire but this would be equally suited to undertake at Imbolc – coming up in early February.
Elder – Small, little crosses or stars of Elder can be placed in each room and Elder blossoms (when in season) can be used for adding to drinks and ritual cups. Apple blossom is also very pretty to bring into the house, as apples are associated with love and fertility. Just don’t bring in too many branches as every blossom has the potential to become an apple.
Mint – Again a wonderfully fragrant Herb, to be used in washes and sprays throughout the house, for general cleaning and cleansing and a good herb to use in a house blessing. Mint tea is the easiest of herbal teas, just add a few sprigs to hot water. I do have some mint that has valiantly made it through the winter.
Rowan – Like Bay Laurel, an excellent tree to have near the home and in and around the home. If you have the room plant as a young tree and they do not grow that big. Like Elder, you can make small crosses or stars to be placed around the home as talismans of protection. Rowan is traditionally the wood used for staking vampires.
Lavender – Universal Herb of healing and cleansing, tie dried Lavender in a bunch with a combination of the above herbs and burn as a home made smudge or add to washes, spray bottles and mop buckets.
Always remember to open windows and doors if possible when cleansing, this encourages the movement of stale air and energy within the home, particularly in winter when we have been boxed in.
Keeping healthy plants and herbs in your home environment will go a long way to keep the home happy and healthy anyway. A good tip if you are new to keeping house plants is just to keep an eye on them – follow the care instructions but if you find that they begin to look unhappy keep moving them around the home until they find their perfect spot. Even the most forlorn of plants can be very forgiving when it finds somewhere it likes.
If you really get the cleaning bug, then make up a batch of my zingy herbal cleaning powder and get sinks, taps and surfaces shiny and fresh.