Dear friend, Thank you for encouraging me when I mentioned that I wanted to do a ritual, praying for the house. Thank you for supporting my spiritual life, which is the foundation of my wellness. And thank you for praying with me sometimes.
I’m grateful you understand the prayer part of me, grateful we can hold hands across religious traditions and talk to God together. You are dear to me. I want to tell you how it went and what I did.
praying for the house
First I felt the prayer moving in my body. Then when I wrote it down, I grabbed something from my desk–this cracker box that I painted with two dark frames some months ago, then didn’t know what to do with. I wrote the prayer in blue pen on the box, inside the frames.
Then I painted the blue over my prayer, and greens at the edges. That felt good, to nestle the prayer safely, blue in blue. Blue is protective for many people, like “something blue” in the tradition for weddings.
Then I decided to speak the prayer at the four corners of the house’s property lines. I packed my little bag with mugwort, which is a protective herb valued in my homeland. Mugwort grows wild, especially near water, and some grows in front of our house also.
I gathered rosemary from our garden, which is the queen of herbs for protection. I keep it on my altar at all times, and I like to wear it in my hair when I go out at night. (Rosemary is the queen of all herbs, second only to garlic, which is less like an herb and more like God herself in fiery deliciousness.)
I carried my usual glass water bottle also and decided to start at the southeast, at the intersections of the two roads here, by our house’s main garden.
It was eerily quiet out, much colder now with few people walking their dogs, few joggers, and almost no cars. There was no wind. I wore my big pink coat. It was in the 40s.
Ming was out hiking, so I did it alone, which is not my usual. Usually Ming witnesses and bodyguards me as I do witchy work, co-witching.
how it was
I stood facing the house, and I shed a few leaves of rosemary at the property line. I prayed the prayer, reading it with a few stumble places.
Then I put a little mugwort, and I kissed the wooden post there, the post of the deer fence. The kiss was an impulsive expression of love for this place.
The prayer is this.
Holy Mother, Mother of God, please bless this house. Please bless the water, the land, the spirits of the land, the air, the electricity, the wifi. Please bless the people here and all our relationships. Please help us be kind to one another and treat each other with respect and consent. Please protect this house from violence of every kind. Please help us tell the truth to ourselves and to one another. Please touch our hearts and teach us how to do justice in big ways and in small everyday interpersonal ways. Please protect us from harm, from outside and inside forces. Please bless our sleep, our dreams, and our health individual and collective and shared.
Thank you for our blessings. Thank you for all our resources and all the wealth we have, of so many kinds of spices, office supplies, word play, knowledge, opportunities. Please help us use all we have skillfully for the work of love and so we can fulfill our destinies and use our gifts for the good of all. Please help us all stay motivated to do the work you put us all here to do–individual and shared work. Thank you for the experiences we’re having now and how we’ll build on what we’re learning now in community for the rest of our lives. Thank you for the opportunity to love and feel pleasure and heal. We’re happy to do the work you give to us. Please bless us with gratitude and the energy to keep changing as we learn. We love you and thank you.
southwest corner and apple corner
Then I walked to the southwest corner of the house, near the incomplete greenhouse. I found the line, and I shed rosemary leaves there. I read the prayer again and sprinkled mugwort.
Then I looked for wood to kiss, and there’s a lil hawthorn growing there, so I kissed one of its twigs. I’d forgotten a hawthorn grows at our house, so I was glad.
Then I walked by the incomplete greenhouse, through the janky garden gate, to the apple corner of the house. The ground is covered in fallen apples, and the ground is uneven there. So it was a trick to get my footing and feel secure enough there to face the house, shed rosemary leaves, and read my prayer.
full of energy
I looked up. The house looked different from that place I had never quite stood, at the edge of the property line, right by the too tall apple tree that gives the tastiest apples. Yes, that tree matters to me very much.
Did the house look scary, in that moment? The sun was shining in the south, gleaming hard by the roof. The house looked big and full of energy, so much mixed up energy from so many housemates over the past 20 years, and before that. People with all different skills and weaknesses.
I shed the rosemary leaves and read the prayer. I paused at places I was feeling, like the mention of violence. Then I put mugwort and kissed a twig of the apple tree.
Then I looked by the neighbor’s house and thought how to get to the northeast corner of the house. I wished to circumnavigate the property. Yes, I might be able to squeeze by the neighbor’s, but that would be rude and technically trespassing.
So I decided to go through the house, but the basement door was being janky. I tried a few times. But my hands were numb with cold, and it was hard to work the knob. The ground was frosty in shadow places–it was chilly out. I hadn’t realized I was that cold until my hands didn’t work so well. That moment felt like a dream.
So I went through the breezeway door, and out the front door, to the northeast corner of the house. Our friends’ van is in the driveway right there. I stood by the pear tree at the border between us and neighbors, faced the house, dropped rosemary, and read the prayer.
The contrast is low, and it’s ok I stumbled on the prayer all four times. I looked at the house and thought this direction is iconic, nostalgic. My first views of the house were from the front like this, back when I knew almost nothing about it.
I put mugwort, and I was done praying for the house. What now? I drank water, and I offered water, pouring it twice at the northeast spot.
I thought about going back around and offering water at the four house property corners. But I can do this ritual again, and maybe pour water then.
I went to the south porch to rest in the sunshine. Wow, I was totally exhausted. Not quite like I’d run a marathon. But I had no idea it would be this much work, praying for the house this blessing and asking Mother God for protection.
“I should sing,” I thought. Singing is a good way to move more energy and send a prayer / seal a spell. But people were in the south living room, and I didn’t want to bother them. I pondered what song was inside my body wanting to be sung–maybe I could sing it quietly.
Then I started crying instead. I took off my jacket, my sweatshirt, my dress, and pulled up the legs of my pants. Sitting there in a blue tank top, I exposed my tummy to the sun, and I felt anguish move through my body.
I cried and cried, feeling pain about house events, the harm that was done to me, the mistakes I’ve made in who I trusted and how. I thought about the harm done to others, the social contracts we make, violence, rape culture, and harm in general. How people get power, how they maintain it, how words are used, how attraction and desire and touch are used to dominate and control. People get tied up in others’ pain, literally sometimes. There’s accident, and there’s intent.
I blew my nose, cried more, stopped crying, cried again. That was work too, but it’s real. I needed the release.
As I cried, I got two clear messages. They arrived as complete, fully formed sentences, as my messages often do.
The first was, “I’m sorry it’s come to this.” By that I meant doing ritual around our house for protection. Yes, it’s sad to need it.
The second message was, “I’m sorry we didn’t protect you.” I felt that as a deep apology for the young one who was most harmed by the situation I’m crying about. Yes, we need to protect each other, young or otherwise vulnerable.
It can be hard when a person is brilliant and constantly performs that they know what they’re doing. Of course consent is sacred, and we all need to make our own mistakes. At the time, when I asked how it was going and offered some examples of what I saw, and this young one said everything was fine, I had no choice but to accept that.
Hearing later how deeply it was Not Fine is hard. But I was also young once. My guilt for not helping more is my own. You can’t help someone who doesn’t want help.
Yet the remorse remains, and I carry Spirit’s apology or mine. I did convey that apology.
The third message I received was about freedom. Something like– who here is free? Who escaped? And who is still stuck in their wrong ideas?
It was a strong knowledge that the bright one escaped, and having flown the coop (or co-op, as it were!) is off to wonderful things.
They’ve done exactly what they needed to do for their happiness. I relate to that. I’ve made poor choices, learned a lot, and freed myself over and over, flying out into the rich chaos, like the brilliant free bird I am.
finishing the art
After crying on the south porch, I picked another rosemary twig for my altar. The work of love is mostly safe, but brightness can attract jealousy and hate. So I wanted another rosemary twig for my altar, and I came inside to finish my praying for the house art.
I drew my rosemary twig in the middle and some diamonds that symbolize Spirit, my mom’s love, God’s love.
Then this morning I wrote the two first messages on the side, and painted orange over it. The deed is done.
Next I want to sing loudly a Mother song, blasting it from my lungs and mouth from my altar in the north as I stand facing south, sound vibrations moving through the house. It’s to clear out energy like I did at the new years ritual. I imagined all the energy in the house and invited it to leave, if it was done doing its duty.
Nothing rude to the energy–just an invitation out the windows. It’s spiritual housekeeping. We don’t need it if it’s stale.
It’s hard to sing in another language while imagining rooms I have never been in, gently nudging the stuck stuff to unstick. But you know I’m on earth to do that work. Ringing a bell or shining a candle light is nice, but sound vibrations can go where I can’t.
I need to sing that song during daytime hours when I can make noise. It’s 4:30a and I’m glad I slept a real seven hours. Thank you for helping me hold my grief yesterday as I cried about my mom and about love in the warm south living room. You are so good at helping me and hearing me, with your unique intelligence.
I repeated to Ming kind things you said to me, and then he touched my back as I cried more in bed. Thank you for touching my back and to all the people who have touched my back as the anguish exits my body.
I love you, Laura-Marie Strawberry