“Begin by clearing your space…”
Nearly every spell you’ll perform begins with clearing the energy out of your space. Some spells will give detailed information on exactly what to do, but if you’re following more advanced texts or writing your own spells, it’s generally assumed that you know what to do. Maybe you’ve been told the only way to space cleanse is to burn sage or sprinkle salt and you just don’t feel connected to the process. There are countless ways to wipe the energetic slate clean—how do you know which one will work for you?
I’ve compiled a list of twelve different ways to clear negative energy according to your zodiac sign. There are a few ways to use this list: you can read this for your Sun Sign, which governs health and creativity, but you might also want to read the sections for your Moon, which rules home and feelings, and Neptune, the planet of mysticism and otherworldly connection. If you’re familiar with your natal chart, check the sign in your 8th House which deals with magic and transformation. Depending on how you relate to magic and where you are in your witchcraft journey, you’ll feel more drawn to one option over another.
There’s nothing subtle about an Aries: you always seek the most impact for your action. Burning salt is one of the most intense ways to clear a space and some reserve it only for clearing out the worst energy, but a bomb still kills a mosquito… In a heat-proof, flame-resistant dish, add a handful of sea salt and pour rubbing alcohol or strong clear spirits over the crystals until just moist: you don’t want your salt swimming in spirits. Use a long match to light the alcohol, taking extreme care not to burn yourself or your surroundings in the process. You may wish to meditate on the flame as it burns, but since the salt will pop periodically, keep your eyes and hands away from the dish until the flame is extinguished. Never leave an open flame unattended.
A Taurus is either all in or all out, and when it comes to your space, comfort and aesthetic goes hand in hand. Chances are, you have everything exactly as you want it all ready and cleaning and rearranging just to shoo out pesky negative energy just isn’t what you had in mind today. You might choose to strategically place some house plants to keep things perpetually fresh so when ritual time rolls around, you’re ready to get down to business. Miniature roses are excellent at raising the vibration of a space, and rosemary and basil are excellent purifiers as well as handy cooking herbs.
The Gemini mind is always racing and when it comes to spell work, the space you cleanse is as much internal as it is external. Channel your inner potions master and mix a few drops of essential oils that correspond to your goal, or bottle up a go-to blend that includes purifiers like lavender, tea tree, and cedar to diffuse while you prep your other materials. The act of mixing oils and setting up your diffuser will force you to focus for a few minutes and set you up with a calm, clear mind.
To a Cancer, space is synonymous with home. Whether you perform your work at home or in a common ritual space, you treat it all with the respect you would your own habitat. Use sacred colognes like Florida or Kananga Water to wipe down windows and doors or a specially prepared floor wash corresponding to your goals to clear and prep your home.
Is there anything more glamorous than the witch in her ritual dress, hair woven with flowers, wafting smoke through her space from a beautiful seasonal herbal bundle? Not to a Leo! Smoke clearing has been popular in recent years but it’s also one of the most beautiful methods of active cleansing. Many stores carry ritual cleansing bundles and a quick online search yields hundreds of crafters who provide gorgeous seasonal varieties, but it’s easy enough to make your own: harvest herbs and flowers from your garden or hit a local produce market and look for fresh herbs like basil, lavender, sage, and bay, along with flowers sacred to whichever planet or deity you’re working with. They can be easily woven together with cotton thread and hung to dry at home.
Virgos are the Kings and Queens of Clean, and if you’re going to cleanse the energy, you may as well cleanse the whole room. Floor sweeps have been used in folk magic for centuries and remove negative energies while you remove routine dirt. Spread a blend of selected herbs and sea salt across your floors before you sweep working from the back of the space towards the front. You can choose whichever herbs call to you or correspond to your work, but rosemary, basil, cedar, and hyssop are good general-purpose purifiers to have on hand. Sweep up the herbs in the same direction you laid them down, generally working towards your front door to move the energy out. Be sure to collect the used herbs and throw them away, and bring the trash out as soon as possible so that negative energy isn’t hanging out in your trash can instead of your floors!
A Libra will often chose form over function, but luckily, there are plenty of beautiful ways to cleanse space. Decorate your home with lamps made of Himalayan salt or Selenite crystal to keep your space fresh and clean every day. If you’re more of a DIYer, you can make your own lamps using jam jars, herbs, and vegetable oil to be lit specifically for spell work—you can keep salt and crystal lamps lighted daily, but be sure never to leave an oil lamp unattended especially if you have small children of pets sharing your home. Air signs incredibly active (and often cluttered!) minds, so be sure to choose an option you’ll remember to use properly!
Despite your water sign status, Scorpios deeply inhabit their own body and the space that needs cleansing more than any is yourself. Chances are, you collect negativity from people and experiences and store it without even realizing. Remove it with regular ritual baths. While the tub is filling, add epsom salt, crystals, and herbal sachets before taking a long, meditative soak. You can choose herbs corresponding to your goals before spell work, but traditional purifiers like apasote, rompe saraguey, hyssop, and high john the conquerer are good to keep on hand for weekly resets.
There’s nothing worse than telling a Sagittarius what to do and while you often buck tradition, you’re also a perpetual student and respect tried and true results. Resins have been used for millennia as offerings and ritual tools and many magicians and witches still regard frankincense as the gold standard of purification. Using a heat safe censer or dish, light a charcoal tablet and allow it to smolder before carefully placing resin clusters on top. Use tongs to avoid burning yourself and be aware that resin may pop and crack as it burns down. If you’re working with resinous wood like Palo Santo you can forgo charcoal and light the stick itself, but be aware that the resin will interfere with its ability to burn cleanly and you may experience dripping or spontaneous extinguishing.
Capricorns are utilitarian and purpose-driven. You don’t have time for showy cleansing rituals, especially when you’ve carved out precious time for your spell to begin with. Cut back on time spent by purposefully opening your windows while you set up your supplies or perform your pre-ritual meditation. The fresh air replaces stagnant energy in your space and energizes you before pouring your magical heart out to the universe. If you live in a home with screened storm doors or a safe outdoor exit, you may want to open your doors as well to circulate the energy even faster—just be sure small children and pets are secure!
Ruled by Occult Master Uranus, you’re no stranger to the strange, Aquarius! When it comes to cleansing and grounding a space, you thrive on weird and esoteric rituals. As an air sign your mind needs to be fully engaged and nothing grabs your attention quite like the opening rites of occult organizations and secret societies. Start with the Order of the Golden Dawn’s Lesser Banishing Ritual of the Pentagram and work up—the society wrote many versions of this ritual using different symbols to represent planetary energies they wish to invoke or banish. These rites tend to be complicated but that’s the kind of stuff you thrive on—just try not to get turned off by the outdated language and remember, most of magic is metaphor!
Most Pisces live their lives with one foot in fantasy, so when it comes to clearing out negativity and preparing your space, no one is better at creative visualization. You don’t need fancy tools or complicated rituals—your mind is magic all on its own! Before any spell work, sit comfortably and quietly in your space and close your eyes. Recreate the setting in your mind and feel into the vision for areas that have collected negative energy or need a little more attention. You can imagine the cleansing however you feel most powerful: as a water sign, you might choose to imagine purifying energy as a wave of cool, clear water washing every corner and surface before draining through the floor and into the ground, where it’s neutralized. Maybe your mind is a bit more ethereal and you want to envision the room bathed in white light which grows stronger until it burns away all negativity. This is your imagination (which is just as real to a Pisces as anything else!) and the possibilities are endless.
The next time you plan a ritual or spell, try a new method of cleansing. If you find yourself just going through the motions of your go-to method, you may be energized by something new. Remember, magic only works if you put the energy into it and if you’re not excited by your work, you’re not likely to see results!
All images by Robert McGinnis