Bonding With Your House Spirit

Image courtesy of Annie Spratt on Unsplash

It is a mistake to think that human creations are barren of spiritual life. Long before your home was built, there were spirits of place dwelling in the land. When your home was constructed, it was pieced together using bits of the natural world (for even things we deem “unnatural” must use the chemicals of the world to be created). How, then, could your home not be possessed of a spirit?

As my husband takes a new job across the country and we prepare to move into our first home that we will own together, I’ve been giving a lot of thought on the relationship I will form with our new home. It is not a new dwelling, but one that was built decades ago. Doubtless it will have formed some opinions of its own about people, and they may not all be good. I sometimes wonder if a “haunted home” is simply a house spirit that has not been treated kindly. But I am a witch, I am a Pagan, and what is our role in life if not to reach out to these spirits and offer them companionship?

Straightaway, your priority (and indeed, my own) should be making an introduction to the spirit of the house and offering it a gift. This will ideally be done the very day (if not sooner) that you move into the home, but if this day has come and gone then there is no better time than the present.

Find the focal point of your home (the area that has been deemed the “center”, which may be a mantle over the fire, an unusual alcove, or even the kitchen) and tell the house your name. Take some time to introduce yourself and talk about the sort of relationship you hope you and the house will build together (this is important even in an apartment or temporary home, as important as forming a good relationship with any neighbor or roommate). The relationship will not form overnight. Like any good friendship, it will take time and dedication. You must show you care for the home like a member of your own family before it will begin to care for you in kind. Especially if the situation is temporary (such as an extended stay motel or an Airbnb) and you may only be dwelling there for awhile, you may find that you never really form a close bond, but instead only a polite accord. Respect the house in this and try to be a good “roommate”. Some homes have been through quite a lot and may not be willing or able to trust (but much like a cat that one day decides to love you, oh, how sweet the unexpected reciprocity may one day be).

Your next step is to develop a place to center your interactions with the home, ideally in the same place you introduced yourself. Create a shrine for your house spirit. Lay out offerings and place a statue or symbol (such as an old end of a staircase, a sketch or photo of the house, or even a bit of old glass) as a focal point for the spirit. While the spirit will, by its nature, always be with you when you are in the house, the focal point makes it much easier for humans (who do not enjoy any form of omnipotence) to center their interactions.

Offer bread, salt, or the act of tending the home when giving offerings and building your relationship. Remember that the home will value those things which show that you give consideration to its needs and wants, whether that is a freshly scrubbed wall or a thorough patch of a crack in its foundation. Treat your home as a living thing with needs and desires, for that is what it is.

Finally, name your house. Even if you never take the steps to make the name “official”, naming your house goes a long way towards establishing a connection with it and acknowledging it as another being, an equal, with yourself. Ask the house if you may call it this, and if it agrees (often you will have a feeling that it is “right”, or there will be a small sign of good fortune, or divination will reveal a favorable reception) proceed to refer to the house by this name afterwards. Remember that this is not the “true name” of the home, and that you may never learn that (though one day it may sink into your bones as surely as it has the beams of the roof). The true name of a home is the slant of light through its windows, the sigh of the foundations settling, the creak of its frame. It is a name that is, by its nature, unpronounceable for the human tongue. Even so, a “nickname” shared between friends is a mark of love, and most of all, the coming time with your home should be a time of friendship.

[Written by Ashley Nicole Hunter.]

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