Santeria (Lucumi) and New Orleans Voodoo are both “get your hands dirty” religions, literally. Some even theorize that the reason participants frequently wear spotless white clothes, only to the roll around on the ground and dirt is a test of practitioners devotion and resolve.
The New Year is a time for new beginnings. Out with the old and in with the new as the saying goes. This year the New Year coincides with the new moon. This moon phase is traditionally a time for many pagans to begin new projects, start new ventures, and welcome newness as a whole. This is a time for buying new brooms, magical and otherwise, and cleaning house, both literally and figuratively.
So much of what I see today in the pagan community is extreme emphasis on pomp and circumstance. It seems as if the pageantry and costuming have taken over the substance of the religion and I’m left scratching my head. One way to get back to the ancestral roots of these practices is to perform a spiritual cleaning, start with a Broom, Besom or Scourge.
Magic Floor Washes
New Orleans Voodoo, Hoodoo and Santeria (Lucumi) all rely heavily on the use of floor washes to cleanse both sacred and mundane spaces. These can be as simple or as complex as the situation calls for. Some people periodically sprinkle their thresholds and window ledges with Florida water, sea water, or holy water. Sometimes I like to use other spiritual waters from sacred places: waterfalls. Glaciers, Significant streams, and even tap water can be used to represent the spirit of place. One of my spiritual teachers used to make his own spiritual water by shredding pieces of paper from a significant event and adding those to a bottle to infuse the energy into the water.
Make a Ritual Broom or Scourge
The first step in doing a spiritual cleansing is to make a ritual broom. There are many places to find detailed instructions for making a Witches’ broom or Besom. They can be found at briar-rose.org, witchway.net, and from Patheos’ own writer M. Horatius Piscinus’ post on ritual items which also mentions useful suggestions for crafting a besom.In Santeria, and occasionally New Orleans Voodoo instead of a ritual broom, a bunch of flowers and herbs are bound together to use as a tool for sacred blessings and cleanings. Very often these include white mums, basil, yarrow, palms, and ferns, and most importantly whatever hers and botanicals are readily growing in the immediate area. They are strung together with ribbon or natural cord and then used to sweep and brush the area, and the individual. Afrterwards they are placed at a crossroads or a specific place determined by divination.
Blessing and Protection Floorwash
Kolonia 1800 with Sandalwood (Con Sandalo)
Mix all ingredients, leave in a sunny window for 24 hours then use liberally on your home and yourself.
Many ready made cleansing formulas are available at your local botanica or Santeria supply store. One of my favorite formulas for cleansing is Van Van Oil and Bath, which could be used as is, or easily turned into floorwash. Formulas for these usually include lavendar, vanilla and vetivert. One of the best commercial formulas can be obtained from the Lucky Mojo website. Cleansings should be performed on a regular basis, especially before any major ritual or working. For more information on cleansing please check out Cleaning House with Voodoo. Stay clean people!