Get Rid of Clutter With Mercury Retrograde

Welcome to the Mercury Retrograde Decluttering Challenge!  Sign up for free HERE to join the mailing list!   Then you’ll just check your email daily for a short email that will describe your challenge for the day!  For your Decluttering Challenge you will just need 3 things:

  • A Trash bag
  • A box for items to donate or sell
  • A box for things you need to put away somewhere else

Each challenge will simply outline or give ideas for a space in your home to declutter.  You can do the area that is suggested, or you can choose a different area of your home to work on.  You’ll do best if each area is broken down into smaller sections, so instead of “The Desk”, you’ll choose “The top desk drawer” etc.  Then with each small area, you will take your trash bag and two boxes, and you will go through the items in that area.  You will either keep them where they are, or decide to throw them away or donate/sell them.  Some things you will find that you need to keep, but they don’t belong in this area.  You will put them in the other box to be put away somewhere else.  You can take anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes going through this area and putting things in the boxes or bags.  When you are done, take the trash bag to the garbage, and take the donation box to a closet or storage area.  (By the end of this Mercury Retrograde challenge you should have a large box or two for donations or a yard sale!)  Then you will take the third box and walk around your home putting those items away in places they belong.

Don’t overthink it!  As you go through each area, don’t spend too long thinking about the things you find.  A simple Three questions for each thing you find should be:

  1. Does it belong here?
  2. Is it useful? (does it work, do I use it?)
  3. Do I love it?

If you don’t answer yes to all three questions then it goes in the trash bag or one of the other two boxes.

If you don’t need to declutter in the space I suggest for a certain day, you can choose a different area to work on.

After you finish, feel free to share your progress with me on Instagram!  Use the hashtag #MercuryRetrogradeClearMySpace and tag me @hestiasmuse

Spring Cleaning for Witches & Pagans

Confession time: I hate cleaning house.  Or at least, I hate cleaning house when it is just for no other purpose but to clean the house.  I need a better reason to clean, which is why I have found creating rituals and building a spiritual practice around my housework makes it much more rewarding.  When I remind myself that there are energetic and spiritual benefits to doing these “chores” I am much more likely to get them done.  So here I will share with you a few key concepts and ideas that help motivate me when it comes to Spring Cleaning.

With the season of spring comes a refreshed energy vibration that often leaves many people feeling the need to start new projects and ventures.  As a Pagan observing the Wheel of The Year, the Spring Sabbats such as Imbolc and Beltane can fill my mind with sometimes lofty dreams about my goals for the future.  After months of rain and cold weather, I will often feel like I am waking up from a long slumber – and I’m suddenly hyper aware of the state of my house.  Where did all this stuff come from?

Connect With Your Ancestors.  The sudden need to purge and refresh the home isn’t new or modern.  “Spring Cleaning” is a practice that can be traced back many years to our ancestors of almost all cultures.  The tendency towards hoarding and saving things in your home can probably be traced back to some basic survival instincts of our ancestors,  along with the process of then emptying out the store houses and preparing the home for busier spring and summer work projects.  Opening up the shutters and letting in fresh air was a welcome change after long and dark winter months.   Use your time cleaning to intentionally connect with your ancestors and the changing of the seasons, embracing the time of spring as a time to refresh, renew, and bless your living space for future months.

Removing Stagnant Energy.  Energy flows freely throughout your home and while smudging with sage or other energetic clearing practices can be beneficial, just the act of moving things around can help break up stagnant energy.  You’ve probably spent more time indoors during the winter, and remnants of your shifting moods have gotten “stuck” on objects around your home.  Piles of clutter can create something like a black hole or vortex of negative energy. Need to change the energy in a room?  Straighten up, get rid of some clutter, and move at least 7 things around the room to different locations.  (for example try the lamp on the other side of the desk, move some pictures on the walls to different places, and move your favorite decorative cat to a different location in the room.) You will immediately feel a shift in the energy flow in that room.  Follow up with some smudging with sage and the ringing of a bell to help purify the space.  If the room needs a BIG energy shift, rearrange the furniture and get rid of as much clutter as possible.

Ritualize a Cleaning Project. You may have that one project you have been putting off: cleaning out the closet or the desk drawers that have just become a place where stuff gets shoved when no one wants to put it away or knows where to put it.  Try to look at this project from a different perspective.  What do you wish this space could be used for?  Do you want your desk to be a place where you work on your home budget, homework, or running your small business?  Set this as your intention.  Now, which God or Goddess do you want to call on to help you with this goal?  Is there a certain Deity you will work with if you are a student, or one that you will call on to help your business be more successful?  Gather the tools and offerings you will need to work with this chosen Deity and then create a ritual around the work you will do.  In many cases, the work itself can be the offering – as you spend your time cleaning this space and turning it into a more effective space for its chosen purpose, this work is your devotional offering to your chosen Deity.  (If it is cleaning a child’s bedroom, you may wish to work with a Mother Goddess such as Demeter.  For a couple’s master bedroom maybe a God or Goddess of Love would be chosen, etc.)  Once you have gathered your supplies and created your ritual, you can cast your circle as usual, expanding the circle to include the space you will be cleaning.  Then just go about your cleaning project, staying mindful and focused on your intention and devotion while you work.  Try to remove anything that doesn’t fit with the intended purpose of this space.  If the project will take more than one day, just close the circle each time you are done for the day, and open it again when you have time to continue.  When you have completed your project, devote the space to your chosen Deity and ask them to bless the space for it’s intended purpose.  This may also help motivate you to keep the area clean and clutter free as it is now more than just a desk or a bedroom, but also serves as a shrine and an area with a purpose.  Perhaps decorate the area with an object that is related to this Deity in some way as a visual reminder of the work you have done to honor them and the blessing you have asked for.

I hope these ideas have you excited for taking on your Spring Cleaning projects (though they are certainly not limited to the spring season and can be implemented at any time!)

JOIN ME for a Mercury Retrograde Decluttering Challenge!  Sign Up Now to get a simple daily challenge delivered to your email and we’ll embrace the Mercury Retrograde energy or review, release and renewal by getting rid of clutter in our homes, one day at a time!  Starting Monday, April 10th!

 

Deck Review: The Kitchen Tarot

This week for my card of the day posts on Instagram and Facebook I used The Kitchen Tarot by Dennis Fairchild and Susan Shie.  I wanted to give this deck my official Review and talk a little bit about it for my fellow Tarot enthusiasts.  (Disclosure: I have not been asked to write this review by the publisher or the author of the deck and I am not receiving any kind of compensation or payment for doing this.)

Fittingly enough, my first card of the Year for 2017 was The Calendar AKA The Moon!
As we all collectively changed our calendars and thought about cycles, and some people were no doubt recovering from a late night celebrating and ringing in the new year – here came this card about resting, taking time to dream and plan ahead and be aware of the cycles of the Moon.
The Kitchen tarot artwork by Susan Shie is simply perfect.  Each of the Major Arcana cards was made as a large mixed media quilt with images of the home or things in the kitchen replacing our familiar tarot archetypes.  The symbolism is really fitting for each card, with things like “Cream and Sugar” for The Lovers card and “The Compost Pot” for the Death card.  There are teeny tiny words filling in most of the spaces inside the quilt sections.  Some of these words are sayings or affirmations that reflect the lesson of the card.  Some of the words are more personal stories that the artist felt were moments of her life that fit in with the story or archetype of the card.

 

The guidebook that comes with the deck is well written and continues the theme of the kitchen through clever puns and allegory while describing what the card may mean in your life.  Some of the symbolism is explained, and an affirmation is offered for each card as well.  This deck is perfect for a “Card of The Day” or “Card of the Week” type reading, and I also like to use it occasionally in a 3 card spread such as “Body, Mind, Spirit” to get a deeper picture of energies present in my life.  When these sometimes profound Major Arcana archetypes come into play in your life they can sometimes be overwhelming.  . . but when they are interpreted and presented as familiar themes that I encounter in my kitchen – they can suddenly feel familiar and manageable!  What a blessing!
Overall I do love this deck!
I would rate it 4 stars out of 5
The only drawbacks I find when working with this deck are
1) I wish it were a full deck and included Minor Arcana Cards!  But that doesn’t stop me from using it or getting accurate readings with it… I just would like to see what a full deck looked like!
2) The small detail in the cards is hard to see.  Sometimes I wish I could read some of the small lettering in the artwork as I feel like I might be missing out on something the artist wanted me to see!

 

I would be happy to do a 3 card reading for you with this deck!  You can order one through my Etsy Shop or visit my website to learn more about the Tarot and Oracle Card Readings I offer!

 

The Kitchen as a Sacred Space? YES!

This week on my facebook page and instagram page you may have seen my “Room Of The Week” posts that have been focused on The Kitchen.  While our modern kitchen is a far stretch away from our ancestor’s kitchens, we can struggle to see it as the “Hearth” of a home.  Without the open fire, is the kitchen still a Hearth?  My answer is yes.  Much of our daily life is still centered around this part of our home where we store food, prepare food, and wash the dishes.  Some people might feel that the Oven is their new Hearth, while others may find it to be the Kitchen sink – or even just the kitchen as a whole.  For someone who is spiritually minded (meaning spiritual but not pinning this down to just one religion or spiritual path)  The kitchen can be seen as a room of nourishment and healing, as well as alchemy and devotion. We find nourishment for our bodies (and also for those cravings that feed our spirit) We can cook up a batch of soup for a sick family member, or comfort food to take to someone who is grieving.  We watch as magic-like alchemy takes place in pots on the stovetop and rising dough on the countertop.  We can also express a form of devotion and commitment to our home and family by cleaning the kitchen.

I asked everyone on Sunday to determine what their kitchen needs most in order to begin feeling like a sacred space.  Does it need to be Decluttered?  (That’s where I am starting and recommend If you have too much stuff in your kitchen or many things that don’t belong there.)  Or you could be at the Organizing Stage, where “too much stuff” isn’t the problem as much as “where does it go”?  Finally, if your kitchen is already clutter free and organized, you can move on to Deep Cleaning – these are the tasks you don’t do every day like cleaning out the fridge, cleaning the small appliances and backs of cabinets, etc.

When your kitchen is cleaner and more organized it is much easier to connect with it as a sacred space.  Clutter or mess causes stress and blocks our intuitive guidance.

Here is part of a blog post I wrote in 2015 (from the post titled “Starting Over”

“Confession Time; I’m a horrible housekeeper.
Ironic, since my Matron Goddess is Hestia – Keeper of the Hearth.  But this is exactly why She’s my Matron; I return to her when I need the motivation to care for my home properly.  She reminds me that caring for my household is a great act of Love – for myself and for my family.

In mythology, Hestia volunteered to keep watch over the Fire of the Gods.  Instead of returning to Olympus with her brothers and sisters to reign and rule, she chose a life of service; keeping the Fire of the Gods lit and tended.  In ancient times it was important to keep the hearth fire of the home lit and ready at all times.  It was the source of heat, light, cooking, and other preparations and activities that went on through the day.  If the fire went out or was untended and dwindled – precious time would be needed to get it going again; time that could have been used being more productive.  One never knew when the fire would be needed, so it was best to keep it steadily going.  As Hestia watched over the Fire of The Gods in this way, she became the Goddess of The Hearth and Home, representing the service of the housekeepers that blessed the household and kept it running smoothly.  

In our modern world, we don’t need to keep a fire lit in our homes at all times.  Yet we do take actions that keep the household running smoothly and keep our family safe, fed, and protected.  Paying the electric bill.  Preparing the meals.  Cleaning and Maintaining the home.  Hestia reminds me that these acts of service are a loving choice I make for my family – not an evil chore that I am tied down to or required to do as a slave, but an act of love.”

….. and continued….

“My starting point is the Kitchen Sink.  As I mentioned, we don’t really have a “Hearth” in modern homes.  Even homes that have a fireplace – that fireplace Hearth does not necessarily play the role of center of the home.  So what place in the home does serve as the central focus?  For me, it’s the Kitchen Sink.  This is probably because of FlyLady’s teachings of Starting with the Kitchen Sink.  Her theory is that if you keep your kitchen sink shiny, the rest comes easier.  It’s easier to keep up with the dishes if you’re not letting them pile up.  It’s easier to be motivated to keep the rest of the kitchen clean and shiny if the sink is clean and shiny.  It’s easier to be motivated to keep the other rooms of the house clean if the kitchen is clean.  Then the other things you need to do come easier too, because you don’t have to clean before you cook, or you don’t have to clean up the living room just because you want to sit down and relax.  In theory, if you keep your kitchen sink shiny, the rest will fall into place (it still takes work, but that’s the basic idea)  You can read FlyLady’s Kitchen Sink lesson HERE

So for me, the kitchen sink is becoming my “Hearth Fire”.  It is the place to focus on, it is the place to start and the place to end.  Hestia is considered ‘The First and The Last” and it was traditional to honor her first thing every morning and the last thing every night.  Incidentally – FlyLady says to shine the kitchen sink first thing every morning and the last thing every night.  So this just works!  ”

So thinking of the kitchen as a central focus of our home, we absolutely must also think of it as a sacred space.  It can’t really be one and not the other.  So as we have done in other rooms, we can Clear The Space and make sure that our kitchen is filled with things that serve a purpose or match our intention for that space.  You can read my full post on How to Declutter your home with a spiritual intention here – Clutter As A Block To Spiritual Flow. and make sure you follow my facebook page for some more tips and challenges through the week!

Bathroom Magick – Banishing

Bathroom Magick – BANISHING

You may not think of your bathroom as a very magickal place, or a place to do spells other than Ritual Bathing.  Check out my previous post about the Bathroom and see some ideas and tips for thinking of your bathroom as a sacred space (along with tips for cleaning it)

One type of magick that is perfect for the bathroom is Banishing.  As this is where we quite literally wash away dirt and grime, and ermmm… “release waste and toxins” from the body, we already have subconsciously related the bathroom to Banishing.  Let’s bring that correspondence to our conscious mind and utilize this space for some magick!

  • Pretty obviously, you can set the intention to banish or release stress and negativity every time you wash your hands and face or take a shower or bath.  You could even choose a soap that is infused with an oil or herb with banishing qualities and bless that soap with the intention of removing negativity every time you use it.  You can find soaps or face washes with Aloe, Blackberry, Cedar, Cinnamon, Clove, Coconut, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemon, Lime, Peppermint, Raspberry, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Tumeric, and Witchhazel – all of these have banishing properties as well as benefits for the skin!
  • For washing away a bad habit, get a bar of soap and carve the name of the bad habit deeply into the soap.  Use the soap every day during a waning moon cycle and as the words carved in the soap fade so will your bad habit.  (intention and willpower are also important here!)  When the words have faded completely, throw the remaining soap away.
  • Detox – find some bath salts, face mask, or body mud that have detoxifying properties.  As you use these products, visualize the product not only drawing toxins out of your skin – but drawing out negativity and stress too.  Light some candles and bring some gemstones in your bathroom that absorb negativity – like Obsidian, Onyx, or Black Agate. (check out these awesome detox bath and skin products!)
  • Flush it! For a quick banishing spell, write down what you want to banish on some toilet paper.  Examples; “stress”, “debt”, “illness”, “depression”.  Sprinkle some banishing herbs or spices on the toilet paper, wad it up and Flush it down the toilet!  This can be really empowering as you visualize your problem being flushed away.  Add some power by saying,
    “Problem of mine, you cannot stay
    Problem be gone, flushed away!”
Thanks for reading!  Do you have more ideas for banishing spells that can be done in the bathroom?  Leave a comment!
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