The mouthwatering aroma of home cooked food permeates the room. Decibels of conversation rise as the house begins to fill with guests. The game (there's always a game) blares from the television. Children, parents, extended family, grandparents, friends, and someone’s significant other (there's a new one every year) squeeze around the table. Rushing, dashing, cheeks flushed, the orchestrator of the event moves swiftly from task to task. With a mind more tuned to super success than the best roller derby athlete in the country, he or she arranges everything from the décor, to the food, to…is there enough toilet paper in the bathroom?
Thanksgiving! America's ritual feast of gratitude can be one of the most delightful or stressful events of the autumn season, depending on your point of view. Whether you are a visitor, or a host/ess—why not add a little magick to your special holiday brew!
In early November I polled my Facebook friends with this question as one of my daily posts: What do you feel is the most stressful aspect of Thanksgiving? 319 people responded, and although there were singular, creative comments, the top three categories were:
- Cleaning the house or apartment (before and after the event).
- Being responsible for food preparation.
- Dealing with family personalities. This included comments about difficult individuals, having to hold one's tongue to keep from getting into an argument, complaints—and rightly so—of family members having to work and therefore cannot join in the family festivities, and enduring the heartbreak of family members who have passed beyond the veil (particularly the recently deceased).
Luckily, the universe is willing to give us a helpful, magickal hand this year. Thanksgiving week, the moon is in the fourth quarter, a time that many practitioners use for banishing negativity. Cleansing and reordering our space comes easily, particularly since the moon on Monday and Tuesday are in Virgo (the sign of detail and organization). Consider adding an herbal formula to your cleaning water or mixing and empowering holy water with the added benefit of dried herbs such as rosemary (for cleansing), basil (for encouraging compassion), and lavender (for removing stress). You can spray the holy water in various rooms after you have cleaned them. Perhaps a blend of essential oils would suit you better, adding them to some holiday potpourri in various areas of the home to set the tone for a stress-free environment.
Focusing on removing as much clutter as possible (all of it if you can), will encourage the positive flow of chi throughout the home. Pay particular attention to those areas that will be used by family and guests. Negative energy sticks in dark halls, corners, under furniture, jumbled piles of books, magazines, and papers, etc. The more clutter, the more risk for lagging pools of negative energy that contain unhappiness, anger, and fear. If circumstances have really been bad in the home the past few months, consider doing a personal, spiritual cleansing as well as a complete house banishing and blessing.
Worried about guests allowing their personal demons to flow into your living space as they make their grand entrance through the door? After your house cleansing, why not take the time to do a little protection magick—perhaps empowering specific items in the home to keep the energy balanced, or adding a protection spell that includes jewelry you will wear, or creating a gris-gris or conjuring bag you plan to keep in your pocket. Placing a living African Violet in the room that will contain the most amount of visitors can aid in heightening spirituality and protection energies. Be sure to talk to the plant you choose, asking for permission to enlist its aid in keeping your home safe. (Some of you who just read this said to yourselves, "Hmmm, I need to line up fifty of 'em right by the front door.")
Don't have the money to buy a special plant or magickal herbs? There are quite a few dried herbs or other natural items in your kitchen that will work equally well in a conjuring bag for protection—Dill, Clove, Curry, Garlic, Mint, Onion Skin, Parsley, Rice, Crushed Eggshell, Rosemary, and Sage, to name a few. A Braucherei (or Pennsylvania Dutch Pow-Wow) technique for protection includes hanging an open pair of scissors over the front door to cut the negativity as people enter the home. If you are worried about the danger of sharp scissors that may take it upon themselves to pounce on an unsuspecting relative, use kid-safe scissors. Concerned that someone might think you are stupid? Hide the open scissors in a decoration over the door, such as a wreath or cinnamon broom.
Monday and Tuesday are also great days for planning your menu and ensuring you have all the supplies you will need to cook the meal. With the Virgo moon, you may enjoy prudent shopping. Schedule your visit to the grocery store early in the morning to avoid customer mayhem. If you are traveling this year, put together whatever non-perishable items you plan to take with you ahead of time, particularly if you will be staying overnight. There is nothing worse than digging in your suitcase to discover you left your phone charger by the bed, or your contact lens solution in the bathroom. A small, sealed envelope that contains juniper berries and your favorite protective sigil can be slipped into the glove compartment of your car to ensure safe travel. Empower the gift you may be planning to give your hostess with love, harmony, and good fortune. Gifts with a touch of positive magick are truly blessings from the heart.
On Wednesday, the moon enters Libra and remains there through Friday. Libra will help to take the edge off of disharmony, encouraging fair and diplomatic behavior. It is also the sign of beauty and glamor. With the cleaning done and the junk moved out of the way, allow the energy of Libra to bring sparkle into your home. This would be a great time to add those special, decorative holiday touches that will make the celebration as visually pleasing as it will be delightful to the palate. Keep a close eye on your spending, perhaps choosing a more natural, elegant décor that includes a good dose of do-it-yourself creativity.
Thanksgiving occurs on a Thursday, falling under the benevolent gaze of Jupiter in compassionate Cancer. Although Jupiter is currently retrograde, he never loses his innate ability to bring good fortune and blessings. Overdoing it, however, is always a risk. The Sun in Sagittarius provides an overall veneer of laughter, spontaneity, and generosity—not bad energy for a holiday if you don't go overboard!
Worried about religious differences during the meal blessing? A friend of mine came up with a marvelous way of performing the blessing that encompasses all faiths. She simply says: "Only the good remains," and passes her hand three times over the food. This technique can also be done while you are cooking the meal, adding a bit of positive magick to the food. If you need the table blessing to be a little longer, you might like this one: "We are thankful for the bounty before us. We are grateful for our family and friends—those that are with us, and those who are absent. May peace and love surround us all…and…as always, only the good remains in our hearts and minds."
For those who are feeling the loss of a loved one who has gone beyond the veil, a special place could be set somewhere in the general gathering area. This place can remain empty, or if that is too depressing for the family, flowers might be placed by a picture to honor and remember the loved one. You may also wish to prepare a plate specifically for honoring deity, giving the food as an offering of gratitude. Consider writing a special, short ritual of giving that could be included in the day's events.
After the holiday festivities are over and your guests have departed, have your holy water ready, or cleansing incense at hand, and walk through your home or apartment performing a small banishing. You could also use a rattle or sweet bell, ringing it several times in every room to remove negativity that people invariably drag with them.,p>
This year there is a possibility of an unexpected visitor, and the desire, perhaps, to spend beyond your means in an effort to provide the best experience for friends and family. Emotions may peak at the last minute, when your worries battle to override your common sense. Take a breath, connect with Spirit, and relax. Remember that Thanksgiving is all about gratitude. Say aloud all the things you are grateful for, and as you do so, the stress will ebb away.
Remember: it's just day with a touch of magick.
And only the memories remain.
May they be good ones.