In “Ask a Witch,” Gabriela Herstik answers your questions about channeling ancient wisdom in the modern age. From spellcraft to finding your path, explore what it means to be a millennial witch.
Question: Do you have any tips for creating a witchy home?
Answer: Ah lovers, it’s finally that time of year when our homes get to look more witchy than ever. Say hello to autumn, the season of the witch. We are now in the throes of the season, as Mother Nature continues her descent into the darkness; so why not create a home that invites this energy in?
Every witch's home will look different. While the idea of a witchy home as an aesthetic is popular now (thanks, internet!), the truth is, if you’re a witch with a home, your home will be witchy! But there are a few ways to make your home even more magickal. By creating an altar, using sacred smoke to cleanse your space, decorating with art that inspires you, working with earth magick, and using protective magick to bless your home, you’ll be on your way to creating a sacred space that’s more high vibe than ever. Here's how to do it.
Create an altar: If you don’t already have an altar in your home, then now is the time to make one! An altar is a focal point of your magical work, also serving as the energy center of your sacred space. It can be decorative, to help you connect with a specific purpose or used to work a specific spell or ritual.
To create an altar, you’ll need a surface. This can be anything from a windowsill to a bookshelf to the top of a dresser, which is what I use. Then you’ll need things to add to it; think: crystals, talismans, heirlooms, flowers, cards, a cauldron, candles, or whatever else you want. If you have a working altar, adding something to represent each element (fire, earth, air, and water) is customary.
Use Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr to search for inspiration and then get to work! Before you start, you may wish to wipe down the space with Florida Water or Rose Water for protection and abundance. Place things on your altar, moving them around until it feels right, and then use the smoke of palo santo or sage to cleanse the space once everything is arranged.
Your altar should be ever evolving, and you can add things in depending on the season, or your magical work. You can also dedicate an altar to a specific deity or guide, as well as to your ancestors.
The witch's New Year falls on Halloween, and is the day when the veil between this world and the next is the thinnest. We can honor our ancestors by placing photos, talismans, heirlooms, and things that connect us with them on our altar, or by dedicating an entire altar to them.
You can have as many altars as you want through your home. Maybe one is for protection at the entryway of your house, and one is for abundance above your hearth. Get creative and enjoy the process!
Use sacred smoke to cleanse: You can use sacred smoke to cleanse your space, as well as your altar. If you want to banish negativity, try working with palo santo and sage; if you want to attract positive energy and spirits, work with sweet grass. Open the windows, and start at the front of your home. Light the herbs until they’re smoldering (and not aflame), and then using your hand or a feather, move around your home, making sure the smoke gets in the corners. Ask the universe—or whatever being or deity you believe in—to cleanse your home of anything that doesn’t serve in your highest purpose. You can also ask that any negativity moves towards the light.
Go through your home, cleansing any electronics, house plants, or altars. Do this in each room, continuing to ask for blessings and protection. You can also imagine a gold or white light emanating from the herbs and cleansing your space even more. When you’re done, thank the universe or whatever you called on.
Utilize crystals and flowers for protection and beauty: Another easy way to make your home more beautiful is by bringing the earth into your space. Buy flowers to decorate, leaving them on your altar or out in view. I love to dry roses and hang them in my room. You can do this when the roses are fully bloomed by tying them with a string or elastic and then using a tack to pin them to the wall. Not only will this capture the energy of the flower, it will also remind you that death is beautiful in its own right—an important message, especially for this time of year.
You can also use crystals as centerpieces for your décor. Try buying a crystal candle holder, or taking raw stones and setting them next to your flowers. Put these on your coffee table or bedside table for some extra beauty. I love amethyst and rose quartz in my home for healing and love, as well as tourmaline and onyx for protection.
Charging your stones: You can charge these crystals by running them through sacred smoke, leaving them in moonlight, sunlight, or in a bowl of salt overnight. Once the stone is charged, take a few minutes to breathe and ground yourself. (You can do this by imagining the base of your spine as a golden cord connecting you to the core of the earth.) Then, hold the stone in your left hand, imagining a white light from your heart expanding until it encompasses the stone. Think of what you want this stone to help you do, like protect, heal, or inspire you. Embed this energy into the stone, asking for its assistance. When you’re done, ground your energy by placing your head on the earth or sucking in like you’re breathing through a straw.
Decorate with art: I cannot speak enough about how amazing it is to have a space decorated with beautiful art. Whether you’re buying prints from Bill Crisafi, Courtney Brooke, Fay Nowitz, or simply searching Witchsy or Hauswitch for the latest and greatest indie art, there’s no way to go wrong. Use Instagram to find artists who inspire you and support them! Again, there’s no wrong way to make a witchy home, and the most important piece of the puzzle is that you’re surrounded by things you love.
Turn your cleaning routine into an offering: Listen, I’ve hated cleaning for a long, long time. But once I started viewing it as energetic maintenance, my relationship with it changed. Now on Sundays, I clean my room and bathroom as part of my ritual to say goodbye to the week. Once I’m done doing the dirty work, I’ll wipe down my desk and nightstand with Florida and Rose Water, and then clean and rearrange my altar as well. Once I’m done with all of this, I’ll sage the heck out of my entire apartment.
Make cleaning fun; I love putting on music and wearing pretty lingerie so I feel like a chic housewife while doing it. Create a ritual out of this by using sacred smoke to cleanse your space after. Offer this fresh space to your magick, to your ancestors, and to the universe.
A ritual for protection: This is a simple ritual you can do for protection, to say goodbye to the week or season, and to protect your space.
You’ll need: an onyx, labrodite or other stone that’s cleansed and charged for protection; sage or palo santo, a lighter and a fireproof bowl or alabaster shell; and a wand or athame (a ritual knife) if you have one. Here's what to do:
- Clean your home! Clean, clean, clean for some fresh energy.
- Ground your energy, breathing into your feet, finding stillness and space.
- Cleanse your home with sacred smoke, starting at the entrance. Ask for protection as you move through your home, fanning the smoke to reach in all the nooks and crannies.
- When you’re done saging everything, including all altars, move back to the front of your home. Place the charged crystal at the entryway, under the doormat, or near the door of your house.
- Using an athame, wand, or your finger, draw the sign of the banishing pentagram at the front door of your home.
- To do this you start at the left lower point moving up to the top of the pentagram, down to the right, over to the left middle, straight across to the right, and then back down to the bottom left where you started. This pentagram is, in this case, used for banishing negativity.
- Then say, "By the power of earth, air, fire, and water, I infuse my magick and create this boundary. With the blessing of spirit and the universe in me, I banish and repel negativity. May only that which works in my highest purpose find it’s way through this entrance. So it is and so it shall be."
- Take a second to imagine a white gate of light protecting the entryway of your home. When this feels complete, you can ground your energy by placing your forehead on the floor, imagining all the excess energy returning to the earth.