We moved into this house in August after being at a place for nearly seven years. It had been really hard for me to leave that little witchy cottage, but after a whole plethora of very serious structural problems and an absentee landlady, we knew it was time to go.
Our new place is pretty great, but as a busy graduate student I haven’t had a lot of time to do work here. I started the semester just as soon as we were moved in and unpacked, so there has been very little settling in time in this new place. In a lot of ways, I feel like it’s been a very nice, comfortable hotel stay, and not a “home.”
On top of that, my pride was pretty insulted when another witch came by and said “how long have you been here?” and then went on to tell me how the place didn’t feel very magical and was I sure a witch really lived in this place?
I did a pretty intense ritual cleansing and blessing of the home and property before we moved in, and we have a little household altar in a communal space with gifts and offerings from all who live here, so it’s not like no magic has been done in this space. And these things like building relationships and energy take time, right?
After a series of plumbing problems (clogged drains, replacing water pumps, broken water heaters) I gave a few frantic prayers to Cloacina, who is the Roman goddess of the sewers. After a month of water issues I began to wonder if all of the problems we had been having weren’t just bad luck, but perhaps I had made some land, local, and house spirits feel angry or neglected.
Now that my semester is over I have some more time and I’m trying to be very aware and intentional with how I spend that time. Yes, I have to write holiday cards and my report for my volunteer work is overdue and my bathroom floor needs to be scrubbed, but on Saturday I decided to do some much needed yard work. Seriously, I’ve been looking forward to this for months, even going as far as buying bulbs about a month ago in anticipation for my free time in December.
It’s hard for me to do a lot of yard work because I have tendonitis in my wrists from when I was a barista in my past life. Despite the pain I knew was to come, my sister and I raked the front area in front of the house, where a flower bed should be. Before we moved in this house had some heavy-duty work done to it (all the stuff our old place needed). When the foundation and plumbing were fixed, all of the plants and bushes right out front were torn out. So all that we have right now is dirt and rocks and roots and random sheets of black plastic.
It was hard work and we were out there for hours and my arms and hands hurt for two days and my knees are bruised, but it felt very, very good to be out there, getting dirty and sweaty and making my space look nice. It’s not perfect because it’s December and there are limits to even my magic, but it looks much cleaner, and maybe feels a bit happier. And I’m really hopeful for hyacinths and daffodils next spring, and I have plans for some wild flowers and maybe even a tomato plant or two.
But really it’s not just about the yard looking nice, but about me seeing the worms and spiders and the little tiny salamander, and getting dirt in my hair and under my nails and my sweat in the soil and really touching the land, feeling the land. And it’s about spending time with my sister and not sitting in front of the computer, worrying about class or my clients or anything else.
It was me and my sister, and the dirt and the rocks, the land spirits and the bulbs. It’s about making connections and putting down roots, because these things take time. But when the time is there it’s good to use it because the results will be satisfying and hopefully, I’ll have flowers in the spring.