I feel like it’s rare nowadays that I talk about something that isn’t something from the Corpus Hermeticum or something about geomancy, but to be fair, those are a major part of my Work and studies, and much of my writing is focused on what I’m currently working on or exploring. In many ways, my blog is a sort of formalization of my thoughts and notes as I go about my practices that I share with the world because…I mean, why not? I have a blog because I like to share information, and if that information can help others in their work, then all the better. To that end, there’s something small, but immensely helpful (or so I find, at least) that I want to share today. Remember how I mentioned not too long ago what my daily ritual routine looks like? That was a really high-level overview of what it is I do, because I didn’t get into the specifics of what my actual prayers are, what the offerings I make are, or the like. There are also a few minor things I do regularly that, although I don’t often see a need to share so publicly, there is something today I wanted to show: a daily blessing of my own home requiring nothing more than water and a prayer.
Every day when I wake up, I take a shower and salute my orisha. It’s nothing required of me, although it is required of some, and although it’s not required of me to do so, I take comfort in it and draw strength from it. Because the orisha I’ve been initiated to is one of the so-called Warriors, his sacred space resides in the foyer of my house by the front door, so every day I get a little gourd of water, sprinkle some as a libation, and ask for his blessing in my life as the first nontrivial spiritual act I do every day. Prayer is important, to be sure, but every prayer should be accompanied by a small libation of cool, clean water, which itself is the foundation of all life, and thus the first offering we make to orisha in any situation, as it is also the foundation of all offerings. Life couldn’t exist without water, of course, but water plays so many roles in our lives: it soothes, it cools, it heals, it purifies, it lustrates, it freshens, it protects, and it does so many things for us in so many regards. Although there are often many types of waters used for spiritual work, plain water—so long as it’s cool and clean and drinkable—is the foundation of them all, and regardless whether it’s from rainfall or springs or rivers or wells, it’s water that allows us to survive. Just how Hestia gets the first offering for the Greeks because without her there could be no home nor temple to worship in nor hearth nor altar to worship at, water for me is the first offering because without it there could be no life that could make offerings nor anything to grow or cultivate to give as offerings.
None of the whole orisha-saluting bit, of course, is something I recommend to people who don’t have orisha (although perhaps similar devotional salutations could be made for those who have similar relationships with their own gods), but I wanted to introduce this as context for what comes next. It’s because this first daily salutation takes place in the foyer of my house that I’m already right next to the front door of my house, and because I don’t need to pour out the whole gourd of water for my orisha but just use a few drops to sprinkle as a token offering, that I came up with the idea of how to use the rest of the water in the gourd. After all, if water can do so much, why not use it for the main gate of my house as well?
So I started developing a bit of a routine of sprinkling water in the threshold of my house, out towards the road from the front door, and around inside the foyer every morning as a way to bless, purify, protect, and cultivate goodness within my house. After a while, the happenstance impromptu requests I was making became a formalized prayer in and of itself, and it’s this whole little ritual that I want to share today. This is something anyone can do, and I would recommend anyone who can to do it for their own home wheresoever they might live or reside—even for temporary places, like hotels, or even places of business one works at or owns.
First, get a small bowl of water, about one or two cups’ worth. Any bowl can be used, it doesn’t have to be fancy or consecrated for any particular purpose, so long as it’s clean; a thoroughly-washed margarine container or something would be fine. Holding the bowl in your submissive hand, stand at the front door of your home (or whatever place) and open it up enough for you to stand in the threshold of it. Repeatedly sprinkle drops of water from the bowl in the direction of the road from your doorway while reciting the following:
With this water do I cleanse the roads and the ways from this house into the world,
for the sake of myself (, my husband/wife/spouse, my children, my housemates, my colleagues, etc.)
that we may have good roads, clear roads, easy roads, safe roads to take in this life this day
that we may make all our destinations swiftly, secretly, speedily, and safely
that we may not be obstructed, impedited, confused, delayed, or distracted
that we may have safety on our way to our destinations,
safety while at our destinations,
safety on our way back from our destinations,
and safety while at home.
Repeatedly sprinkle water in all directions from your doorway, roadward and otherwise while reciting:
With this water do I cleanse our roads from all negativity,
all death, disease, and defilement
all injury, infirmity, and illness
all pain, plague, and poison
all sorrow, suffering, and sadness
all arrest, arrogance, and anger
all malevolence, mischief, and misfortune
all malefica, witchcraft, and curse
all damage, loss, and threat
that none of it may arise, that none of it may encounter us,
that none of it may seek us out, that none of it may arrest us,
that none of it may follow us back to this house…
Sprinkle water directly on the base of the threshold of your door back and forth while reciting:
…that none of it cross any boundary of this land
that none of it cross any threshold into this house
that none of it cross any doorway into this house
that none of it cross any window into this house…
Take up a handful of water and fling it directly out of your doorway, reciting:
…but that it may be blocked out, sent out, cast out, and thrown out into the world for good.
Sprinkle water into your doorway across the threshold of your home a few times, reciting:
And as I cleanse the way into this house do I invite blessing into this home…
Sprinkle water throughout the foyer, entryway, hallways, and the like of your house in the area of the front door, making a whole loop around the area eventually returning to the front door itself, reciting:
…good health, long life, prosperity, happiness, peace,
abundance, growth, pleasure, leisure, luxury,
joy, satisfaction, satiation, sufficiency, stability,
safety, protection, strength, courage, vitality,
determination, discipline, resolution, resolve,
camaraderie, harmony, companionship, love,
wisdom, knowledge, understanding, education,
accomplishment, victory, triumph, glory, honor,
enlightenment, empowerment, ascension, development, evolution,
and all good things for myself (, my husband/wife/spouse, my children, my housemates, my colleagues, etc.)
for all those who abide here in this house
for all those who lawfully, respectfully, and properly enter into this place.
Fling whatever water remains in the bowl out through the doorway towards the road, finishing with “Amen” or “So be it” or something similar to finalize the ritual.
That’s basically it. You don’t need to memorize the exact wording if you don’t want; I share what I say, but it’s mostly just lists of things I want to avoid or invite; customize the wording as you need or want, but note the process here: clearing and cleansing the roads, washing away the impurities in the world, then cultivating blessings in the home. The process of that is the important bit; the words you say are up to you and what you want to pray for. It’s best if you can do this before you leave home for the day, if you do at all for errands or work or whatnot, and also good if you can do it before anyone else in your household also leaves for the day so that the blessing helps them from the get-go before they have to get on the road themselves. It’s best if you leave the water sprinkled on the ground to evaporate normally, though it can be wiped up if you must if it’s a distraction or a danger for slippage.
I’m lucky enough to live in my own home in the middle of a forest with good tree-cover on all sides, so I have no worries bothering other people or being bothered by other people as I do this, and the people I live with are all spiritual people anyway, so nobody here is bothered by any of this that I do every morning (though, depending on how early in the morning it is, other prayers and things I do can be an annoyance to them at times). Still, not everyone has this sort of arrangement: some live in apartments on hallways, some live with family members who don’t know about or appreciate spiritual practices of blessing, and the like. Some of us have pets, too, which makes standing in an open doorway a risk (as I found out one morning when the asshole terrorist cat I live with decided to bolt through my legs). In these cases, as always, do what you can in a way that makes things as discreet and safe for you as possible: breathing prayers onto the water itself before sprinkling, cutting down on prayers, sprinkling water only on the doormat, sprinkling water in nearby potted plants inside your home, sprinkling water along the baseboards, or the like. There are lots of variations that could easily be made to suit your specific living arrangement, to say nothing of customizing this according to your own spiritual or devotional practices and relationships. For instance, if you have a Hellenic practice, you could turn this into an offering to Hermēs Hodios (for clearing the roads), Hermēs Polytropos (for safety outside the home), and Zeus Ktēsios (for protection inside the home), or to some other set of gods. You could also add a bit of honey to the water, or add a splash of holy water or a fragrant cologne or sweet fruit juice, or add other ingredients to the base of water itself.
In the end, although this is such a small little act, it’s the little acts that build up over time in a whole, overarching magical life. Sometimes these are things we come up with or pick up from grimoires, but there are countless such customary acts different cultures put in place for particular needs; I’m thinking of one old Roman custom of, when entering a house where a woman is giving birth, one undoes all their belts, shoelaces, braids, knots, and the like to help ease the childbirth by allowing nothing in the house to be tied up, so to speak. It’s these little acts that might well come across as superstition that, for many people, keep their lives whole; after all, if magic is the art and science of causing change, then any act can be made into a magical or spiritual one with the right intent. A little sprinkle of water to appease, soothe, smooth, and cool the roads and to wash away any defilement or impurity headed for the home is something we could all make use of, I’d think.