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Pictured: Rue (ruta graveolens) courtesy of Wikimedia
By now many of us are restless and downright claustrophobic with the omnipresent winter months. The energy your house and ritual area feels stale, heavy, and close enough to be oppressive.
This is usually caused by an excess of residual energy (from spellwork, ritual, or just everyday emotion) that isn't grounded properly. Even if you carefully ground from your magical workings, bits and pieces tend to hang around.
How to fix? My go-to herb to combat magical muckery is rue. Renowned for breaking curses, removing negative energy, and powerful protective magical properties, rue is a good first and last line defense against general negativity as well as focused curses. If things seem to be consistently going wrong in your life, you feel distinctly uninspired, are troubled by nightmares and uneasiness in your home (when no mundane cause is apparent), or just need to get your magical juices flowing again, a ritual cleansing and purification is in order.
This is one of my very favorite Kitchen Witch recipes:
Take about a half cup of rue (ruta graveolens), wrap it up in cheesecloth, and let it brew in boiled water for about 10 minutes, or until the water has turned dark green. Add this to a wash bucket of Murphy's Oil Soap. Scrub your home from back to front, paying special attention to ritual areas, the floor, and openings (windows, doors, etc.). Toss the remaining water onto your porch and sweep it away from your home.
After most purification rituals, I generally recommend filling the space with positive energy (Nature abhors a vacuum). Rue tends to work in a double action sense (removing negativity and filling the atmosphere with bright protective energy), so this may not be necessary for you. You may choose to burn a bit of frankincense or copal on an incense charcoal block to speed the entrance of positive energy.