Trance journeying, also known as astral projection or faring forth, has allowed me to travel many roads to many realms. Each of those trips to the Otherworld began with a point of origin, usually a carefully constructed home in the astral. Wandering the worlds is all fine and good but I rather enjoy having a home from which to depart and to which I may return. Home has taken on many forms over the years and it has served many purposes as well. Whether a cabin in the woods or a damp cave yawning into a mountainside, home always reminds me of who, how, and why I am. Home is also safe. It is from that place of self-knowledge and security that I step forth into the worlds.
The first home that I ever occupied in the Otherworlds was a cave in the side of a mountain. I had not created it; it was given to me. That cave spoke to a part of my nature, but I was not yet comfortable with that part of myself, so I fled through the desert, across the mountains, and into the green valley, thereby rejecting my ancestors’ kind gift to me. It would be some time before I returned to that place, made the proper offering of strong mead, added a few personal touches, and called it home. The place I built for myself in the green valley provoked no fear. With a rather large offering of gourmet bread and milk, I rented a corner of the green valley area from a spirit who resides there and erected a modest cottage on the site with her permission. I filled the cottage and surrounding area with symbols and signs of my penchant for travel, healing, making connections, and sharing both wisdom and knowledge. Like a good witch, I also warded it well against unwanted visitors using runes, spoken charms, and the sharp edge of my will. From that home in the green valley, I journey the Nine Worlds among Yggdrasil’s roots and branches.
As you may have gathered, each of my homes is a sanctuary. Each reflects important parts of me, and is a safe place where I can collect myself, record journeys had and lessons learned, and plan my next walk on the wyrd side. I’ve learned that whether the home is gifted or built with your own power, it must be tended. As we grow, learn, change, and transform our home will need to change and transform to meet us where we are. It’s harder for an astral home to change along with its owner if they are not visiting it once in a while. Your astral home will bear less and less of your mark with time in the absence of regular upkeep. With time and experience I found out that it’s important for me to perform intentional astral housekeeping at least twice per year; I like Midsummer and Yule. Major renovations usually happen then but I have been known to make a few on the spot changes to keep the place current to who, how, and why I am at any given moment. I figured this out one day when I returned from an impromptu journey to Vanaheim and my home felt too small. I realized that it felt small because I had gotten bigger, because I had grown beyond my surroundings in the intervening months. With a deep breath and a push, I added a room, expanded the living room, and added two windows; I also changed the warding runes. The place fits much better now.
In addition to being sanctuaries, my homes are also fortresses. I take the time to make them safe because I know that I will be tracking “grime” from multiple Worlds and I don’t want that in my personal space. I’ve found that the same types of wards used on a home in our World work well on a home in the astral. I also find that, just like in our World, wards drawing on magic and energy that you know well tend to work better than some newfangled magic you just read about in a book with questionable references. When it comes to warding, I personally appreciate the classics: basic shields, traditional protective symbols, runes, or bindrunes, and folk charms. (If you have something knocking on your door that can’t be managed by the classics then you may do well to consult a practitioner with more experience than you, across a few different magical systems, in addition to doing some quality research.) Because my astral homes are secure extensions of my being, they also make a handy place to store some of the items that I pick up on my travels. If a spirit or power that I trust gives me something on a journey, I store it in my home. That could be anything from a bottle of mead to a pretty trinket. My home is also then a place where I can sit and enjoy the gift, making it a communion of sorts with the spirits and powers with whom I work.
Not every single one of my astral travels begins and/or ends with my astral home. As I mentioned in a previous post, sometimes I have to pick up and go journeying no matter where I am or what I am doing, but having a home base is a great way to stay centered, grounded, or oriented within a work context that can have quite the opposite tendency at times. The work that I do is important to me, and so are my sanity and integrity. Traveling the Worlds can be wild at times and having a well-kept astral home that is secure and rooted in the best parts of myself can be incredibly reaffirming and balancing.
ness to follow the pathways of knowledge where they may lead, and trust in the Powers with whom I work.