Over the past year, due to the pandemic, many people have transitioned to working at home, and to home-schooling their children. This hearkens back to the days when most folks lived on their small homesteads, or kept an apartment above their workplace. The butcher, baker, candlestick maker, as well as farmers, weavers, potters, and yes, folk healers and other "witches" did much of their work at home-based businesses. Children were taught how to manage a household, and how to help their parents with a profession, right alongside their reading, writing, and arithmetic. Thus, people came up with ways to spiritually protect their homes, workspaces, and their families. People shielded themselves, and did protective rites for their workplace, to prevent malicious beings and negative energies from entering their buildings. This type of folk magick can help to promote a calm, pleasant work environment—especially helpful when your business is also your home!
Our forebearers also used folk magick to help them get their work done. In the past, craftspeople would bless the tools of their trade. Workers would perform rituals to help their tasks to go smoothly and to earn a good income. Homemakers sang chants to make butter from cream, and blacksmiths did rites to pound out a horseshoe from iron. In the present day, we can easily adapt these traditional folkways to our computer or smartphone.
While the internet is the gateway to the world, it can also be a portal for unpleasant energies. People may still have to deal with difficult tasks, disgruntled clients, and crabby bosses, while communicating online. Businesses still need to attract customers, and make money, while their employees are laboring at home. Simple folk magick, which has been performed over the centuries, can help working witches to cope with online commerce.
First, start with a clean slate. The home office should be smoke-cleansed with an incense of protection, such as dragon's blood. Use a feather, hand fan, or small broom (besom) to waft the smoke through the air and across the furnishings. Open windows and doors to release any harmful energies. Walk counter-clockwise (widdershins) around the perimeter of the workspace, fanning the smoke, paying special attention to windows, doors, electrical outlets, heating ducts, vents, wifi cables and connectors, and yes, your computer itself. Speak words of intent, such as, "I cast out any harmful influences, I banish any disturbing emotions." Ancestors, deities, or other beings can be called upon to help.
Follow this rite by washing floors and walls with water that has a bay leaf or pine oil in it—yes, ordinary pine cleaners will do. Lemon water can attract the sweet smell of success. Spiritually cleanse the area by aspurgating with a mixture of water and witch hazel tincture, available in most pharmacy stores. Sprinkle the liquid with a green branch or your fingers, again stating your intent… and not getting your electronics or paperwork wet. Soak cotton balls in the witch hazel mix, wring them out, and leave them in corners, on windowsills, above doors, and hidden on shelves. Finally walk wraingates (counter-clockwise) again around the space, scattering salt crystals, while voicing intent.
Next, bless the workplace, this time walking clockwise. Use an essential oil, plain cooking oil, moon water, chalk, or a marker to inscribe sigils on door frames, windowsills, and the computer case. If others share equipment or the space, plain water will work, and not be visible when dried. Symbols such as pentagrams, runes, daisy wheels, or mazy crosses have historic significance as apotropaic marks, which repelled harmful forces in buildings throughout the British Isles. However, any sigil that has personal significance will work. Speak words of power that are helpful to a business atmosphere, such as "Productivity! Success! Cooperation!" or for a child's educational space, "Learning!" Remember to anoint the bottom of the keyboard and your phone—especially your phone. Again, deities or spirit beings can be called upon for assistance.
Next, place some talismans around your workspace that help to repel baleful entities and forces, and attract positive energies and beings. Talismans are items that contain magickal power, which is released over time for a specific purpose. These objects can be "charged" during a magickal ceremony on full or new moons, during any of the seasonal holidays, or on days that correspond to commerce and work, such as Thursday and Saturday. Wednesday is a great day to do magick for schools and knowledge. Bless or consecrate talismans as you would any other magickal tool, speaking intent into being, such as, "May this crystal protect my workplace."
Some of the oldest folk-magick talismans are made of metal, such as bent pins, placed in window frames and the outer trim around a doorway. A small pair of scissors, left open and hidden under a rug or doormat, keeps baleful spirits at bay. Pretty colored bottles on the windowsill collect sunlight and moonlight, and can bring a pleasant feeling to the office. Crystals can be displayed on the desktop, such as labradorite and amethyst for creative energy; Scots cairngorm (smoky quartz) to nullify the grumpiness of online clients; British jet and black tourmaline for banishing harmful entities; and rose quartz, agates, moonstones, and aventurine to bring about positive interaction with supervisors and co-workers. Copper pennies, a greenstone, and buckeyes can attract prosperity. Houseplants like philodendrons, spider plants, jade plants, and ferns can "clear the air," literally and magickally. Crystals and other talismanic objects can be hidden in the soil of a plant.
Home-based workers can wear amulets to help them keep focus, to stabilize emotions and reduce stress, and to protect them from unsavory energies. (For my purposes, an amulet is a talisman worn as jewelry or carried on one's person.) A religious symbol, such as a pentacle, mjeulnir (Thor's hammer) or triquetra can be worn beneath under the business suit—silver works well as a protective metal. Items for psychic self-defense to put in an amulet pouch can include a jasper or tiger-eye stone, a hematite crystal, an iron nail, hazel or rowan twigs in an X shape bound with red thread, cats' shed claws, pennyroyal, gingerroot, or rue herbs, a thorn from a hawthorn or whitethorn tree, or a tiny sliver of oak wood. Prickly things like a chestnut burr, dried thistle flower, or burdock seed, wrapped carefully in thick red felt fabric, repel harmful intentions. A rhodochrosite stone can be kept in the pocket to reduce feelings of anxiety. To attract success, carry acorns, clover flowers, a malachite crystal, a piece of a deer's shed antler, pumpkin seeds, and/or the image of an animal that represents prosperity, like a bull or a pig.
Other animal representations are useful in a workplace, as well. Badgers can dig out the root of a problem, the beaver is known for industrious work, and a woodpecker gathers wealth to store for later (as does a squirrel). A hedgehog curls into a ball to repel predators, while a black dog is protective and loyal. These animal likenesses can be anything from a stuffed toy, a drawing, or an actual part of an animal that has been shed naturally, such as a snakeskin, feather, or hair. My office has a lot of butterfly imagery, which I associate with creativity. Of course, now that so many people are working at home, their pets often join them in the office, which can reduce stress and bring a smile.
Old-line Pagans used their common, everyday work tools for magick, such as a pitchfork, a distaff for spinning yarn, or the ubiquitous witches' cauldrons and broomsticks. Some objects that represent productivity include a hand-mill for grinding wheat or coffee, a whetstone for sharpening knives and the intellect, and an ordinary pair of knitting needles. A small hand-scythe for cutting grain is used for deflecting harmful forces. Analog pendulum clocks or pocket watches, an abacus, or a set of scales can serve as talismans for using time and money wisely. Keys can be "bespelled" to open the door of success. While some of these items are not readily available in the average modern household, they can be found at antique stores, and of course, a facsimile image can always take the place of an actual old-fashioned tool.
Although really cool antiques can be a great conversation starter, none of these objects or images need to be viewed by customers or employers during your online meetings. Magickal items can be hidden under the desk or placed behind the computer camera. Yet you'll know they're there, and so will the etherial powers.
For children's homeschool areas, the oil of sandalwood can increase concentration and facilitate knowledge. Fluorite, amazonite, tiger eye, aquamarine, jade, and lapis lazuli are good for studying; in addition, lapis lazuli can help level out emotions, fluorite increases motivation, and jade attracts calm. Plain quartz crystals on top of the hard drive or on the laptop can help prevent computer "gremlins" from causing problems. A mobile of the solar system is not only useful for learning science, it can also bring planetary energies to the home-based school. A rosemary plant increases concentration and focus. Lemon balm scent or tea can improve alertness.
Your homeschool student may require grounding, as well, and might benefit from an onyx or obsidian "touchstone," a wooden footstool beneath the table, or a plushy in the shape of an animal who represents tranquility, such as a dolphin, a groundhog, a turtle or a dove.
If your youngster is aware of your magickal practice, you might wish to include them in ritually preparing their own study area. Children enjoy learning about deities and spirit beings, animal folklore, and myths and legends of various cultures. As an art project, a child may enjoy drawing protective sigils, decorating their homeschool "office" with stickers or pictures, and making a pouch to hold protective talismans. They can voice words of power, such as, "Today I am going to learn all the fives in multiplication, so be it!"
Since I have been doing magick, and working from home for a long time, I have learned some of the things NOT to do in a home office… for example, the smoke from candles and continuously-burning incense can be detrimental to computers. Spray bottles work as well for aspurgating as fancy silver chalices, but watch where the water droplets are squirting—keep them away from the only copy of a printout or your electronics. Keyboards don't like fine salt, glitter, or sand inside of them. Houseplants and herbal sachets must be kept out of pets' reach, kitties like to play with dangly talismanic objects, and some essential oils and scents can be harmful to birds and cats. Many talismans and amulets only last so long, before they must be ritually cleaned—leave them outdoors in the light of a full moon, cover them in salt or bury them in clean sand, sprinkle them with witch hazel water, or let the sun shine on them in a windowsill. Then they can be recharged with words of intent during a ceremony. Some talismanic items must be discarded after a time, especially herbs. Ritual cleansings and blessings of a workspace may also have to be periodically renewed. And unless you are very open about your practice, mind the placement of your computer camera… be sure your entire office staff isn't seeing your bookshelf full of witchcraft titles displayed on their screens.
Before beginning the work day, magickal practitioners might wish to mindfully ground and center themselves. Place your feet on the floor, reach upward with both hands, and visualize the fruitful work of an ancestor, such as a farmer plowing a field, or a homemaker baking bread. Connect with a deity or spirit who represents labor, such as Gofannon, the Welsh God of smithcraft, or Athena, in her role as Goddess of spinning and weaving. Speak the will into manifestation, for example, "Today will be rewarding." Have a soothing cup of herbal tea, make contact with talismanic objects, smell the invigorating scent of an orange, and tie three knots in a short length of green yarn while imagining the tasks you intend to get done.
May the work of your hands be ever blessed!
A.C. Fisher Aldag is a long-time Pagan clergyperson and serves on the organizing committees for local Pagan Pride events in Michigan. She regularly teaches classes and workshops on folk magick and has contributed to ...