Welcome to the first installation of our 2015 House Cleansing Ceremony! As with last year's, I plan to divide the ceremony up into parts so as to not present an overwhelming amount of information in one post. Because some of what I did for my house cleansing ceremony was repeated from last year, I have just two new posts to add before creating the 2015 master post: One on blessing keys and this one on protective ashes!
Protective ashes are something I've always done for my house cleansing ceremony, but I typically create them on my own. Here's a picture of our protective ashes, along with the rune chain, from last year:
Creating these ashes on your own is perfectly fine! In fact, this is my first year doing it as a group. As I explain how we created them, I will also pair it with ways you can do it on your own as well, if that's what you'd prefer!
Creating a Base
In order to create ashes, you'll need something to burn. A variety of items burn into ash and can be used as your base material. Obviously, this includes paper, but don't discount cloth, rope and herbs.
I tend to start with a base of salt. Salt has strong protective properties, so you're already on the right track! I add in various burned herbs with strong soothing and protective correspondences. This year, that included sage and lavender. Last year, I used basil and bay. Some herbs, like bay, are easy to write on. In cases such as this, you could start adding sigils, runes or divine names to your protective ash.
Actually, one way to create protective black salt is to take burned herbs and use a mortar and pestle to grind the salt into them. But that's not quite what we're doing today.
However, no matter how much herbs or material I add to my base, paper is incredibly important to how I create protective ash. Paper is so versatile. Because I would be relying on others to add protection to the ash, I decided to charge the paper with my own intentions as well. First, I burned the paper's edges in a counter-clockwise (banishing) motion. By doing this, I removed any previous intentions the paper may have had and added a "keep away" energy to the paper that was congruent with protection. That counter-clockwise motion also opens up the paper for energy instead of enclosing it. It allows the paper to project outward! Finally, I stamped each slip with an antique key in copper ink. I associate most with the image of an antique key, plus we themed our house cleansing in antique keys, so it worked out all around!
This is all the preparation I did before our house cleansing ceremony. Now, it was up to those attending!
Creating the Ash
During our house cleansing ceremony, I had each person who attended take a piece of paper and a pen. I asked them each to write upon the back of their paper protective sigils, runes, words, etc. Once everyone was prepared, each of them stepped forward one by one.
They began by saying some words of protection - either reading what their paper said or coming up with their own words to match the symbols they used - and burned the rolled up paper in the black candle's flame.
They would then add that to the growing fire in the black bowl that would eventually become the protective ash.
You could easily adapt this for solitary practice! When I created my own ashes, I used large pieces of paper and drew various symbols, runes and words on them to charge them with specific energies.
Whether you do this on your own or as a group, however, please be careful! As you can see above, he fire can get pretty sizable even with small slips of paper. The bigger the sheets, the bigger the fire. Make sure your vessel can withstand the heat and that you have a fire extinguisher, towel or powder near by should anything catch!
In addition to everyone who participated in the ritual...
... my roommate Tony and I also participated! So not only was the paper personally charged and ready for use, but we added to the ash our own sigils, runes and words of protection.
How to Use the Ash
You may have to give your ashes some time to cool off, particularly if you've built up a lot of energy. That's totally normal. You may choose to continue to empower it or meditate. Or you could simply wait until the fire dies. Do whatever you feel is best.
But once you have the ashes, what do you do with them? Last year, I made enough that I could pour them around my property, encircling my entire house with protection. That's certainly one option. However, I had different plans for this year. To protect my property, I encircled it with salt. So what did I do with the ash?
I bottled it! Using a specially adorned bottle, I scooped up some ash and put the cap on it. This ash now sits on my mantle in the room you enter when you step foot into my house. And there's a reason I only took what I did!
You may have noticed the little vials that lined the altar as everyone burned their slips of paper.
To give that same protection back to all those who attended, I asked each of them to step forward and gather a little ash for their home as well! These little vials are best set somewhere where fire reigns - a fireplace or near a stove in a kitchen - but you could technically place them anywhere you deem fit!
And that's how I created protective ash with my friends for our new home!
Best of luck to you in creating your own, and stay tuned for more house cleansing ideas!