There’s all manner of rituals and magic for protection and cleansing in the New Year. There’s some amazing things in tradition that one should consider adding to their practice. My witch sister (as in my actual sister) has been practicing magic here with me. Preparing for the New Year’s as well. These traditions come from different groups.
So let’s take a look at some of the stuff to do.
Flowering or Blooming Cleansing
Also known as a Growth Cleansing or a New Year’s Bath, this is a bath with flowers. It opens up the spiritual channels in a person’s body. This is to allow them to release negative or unnecessary energy. While also allowing good energy to enter. The following is a formula we use in Spanish folk magic.
One prescribed by mediums for the new year.
Note* ingredients must be natural and freshly harvested
1) 5 Sunflower petals
2) 5 Red rose petals
3) 5 White rose petals
4) 5 Pink rose petals
5) 1 Rue branch
6) 5 Jasmine branches
7) 2 yellow candles
8) 2 Rosemary branches
9) 5 Daisy petals
To start doing the bath, heat six liters of water in a pot or saucepan. You’ll have to leave the water heating about 10-20 minutes. Until it starts to boil. Once bubbles begin to appear in the water it means that it has reached the ideal temperature. Remove the pot from the heat and carefully put all the materials in the water.
Once this is done, place the pot back to heat. But this time you only raise the temperature a bit and stir the materials. After another 15 minutes, put the pot to cool. When the water cools put it in the bathtub with the other ingredients. If that water is not enough to bathe, you can put a little more water without any problem.
Essentially the water you prepared, will bless and charge the regular water.
Once everything is ready, light the two yellow candles and take a bathe. Imagine yourself illuminated by the energies of the flowers. Allow the souls of those flowers to enter you. All things are alive. And when you bathe in flowers, the souls of those beings enter you.
So this isn’t just a normal cleansing. It’s a soul cleansing. It washes through you and over you by using pure souls. Those of the flowers themselves. That’s how this works.
Embrace them. Feel the negative energy disintegrate inside you. And then be flushed out naturally from your energy pathways. Allow the calm, nourishing, energy to enter your pathways. Feeding them.
Renewing them. Once you finish the bath, dry with a white towel. This is because white is a color associated with purity. If you have a special color that empowers you, you can use that instead. Then do a regular shower.
And scrub with soap as you normally would.
As my Druid Master recently told me : in our tradition, any form of washing with water is a cleansing. And this is true in more ways than one. In Jewish mysticism, it’s said that water loves bad or impure things. It was made that way by God to absorb the impurity out of things and people. That’s why most cleansings use water as a basic ingredient.
How my sister does it
My sister uses the same traditional flowering formula as described above. The only difference is that she uses Christian Magic to empower it further. In conjunction with the new moon prior to the new year. She also used my balcony shrine which is filled with various plants and astrological idols to empower it. She also adds a few secret ingredients to make hers stronger.
She also added some power to it from a portable altar she brought with her.
But because they are a secret taught to her by her teacher, I can’t reveal that. What I will say is that she combines it with Catholic Masses. She does a mini mass in the bathroom with a specific Gregorian chant playing on her phone. The combination of the potion with the holy music adds to the power of the cleansing. She uses special rites associated with the Catholic Church.
As well as the new moon, and Saints to empower the water. New moons are good for new beginnings.
How I do it
I do it also not only with Christian Magic but with Santero magic as well. I appeal to Ossian the Orisha of nature and plants, Aroni his faithful servant, and Inle the Orisha of Medicine. I do special Santeria prayers with them. And I charge the potion on my balcony shrine as well. It’s a shrine to both nature and the astrological signs and celestial bodies.
I ask for them to charge it with their powers over night. And once I do this, I leave the potion in a plastic container for the night and allow them to fill it with their Ashe (divine grace). It’s pronounced Ahhh-sheh. Sometimes it’s spelled Ache by Cubans. Which confuses the hell out of English speakers.
I also add Cascarilla and some secret ingredients to the brew like my sister does. Though mine are different. Once charged, I wait until New Year’s Day to bathe. Like literally a few minutes after midnight. Then I try to dress in light colors.
I have a specific color I use to be empowered.
Santeria Cleansings & New Year’s Traditions
These are cleansings taught to me by my Godmother in Santeria. The traditions here I also learned from my Babalawo. First up is the feeding of the Earth.
Feeding the Earth : The Story of the Jorojoro
This one was taught to me by my Babalawo Warning! Do not do this ritual. Only a Babalawo or high priest of Orula can do this. I am just outlining the basic ritual and the origin. Doing this the wrong way can actually kill you. This isn’t a joke.
You’ve been warned.
According to our sacred texts, it’s said that when the daughter of God ile Oguere reincarnated, she became the planet Earth. Orula the God of Divination and Magic told her she needed to do a special cleansing called an Ebo. This is sort of like a karmic cleansing to change your fate. She did not. As a result, her children (humans) abuse and hurt her.
The Ebo would have prevented that.
A few years later after humanity had populated the Earth, the Orishas (Gods) had invented death itself. This was to prevent overpopulation. They assigned Iku to be the Orisha of Death. And everyone hated Iku. They all wanted to live forever.
What was worse is that back then when people died, their bodies just lay around. Burying a body hadn’t become a custom yet. Imagine seeing your loved one’s body just laying on the ground. And it looks as if it’s still them. Just sleeping.
It must have been terrifying.
One day ile Oguere and Iku were spending time together. She complained that her human children abused her. And he complained that her children hated him for doing his job. So she had an idea. She made a pact with Iku.
“If you kill as many of my children as you can, I will absorb their bodies into my body,”
The problem was, it was going to be difficult for him to do it on his own. So he said,
“My wife Arun (disease) will have to do this work with us. She must be given power over everyone equally. The rich and the poor, the young and old, kings and their vassals, the wise and prideful, thieves and honest people. Everyone equally,”
She thought about it, and finally said,
“I accept, however I demand that all people grant me tribute of whatever food they eat. And if anyone does not do this, you will be in charge of collecting their debts,”
From that day forward, Iku sends natural disasters and all manner of unnatural death to fall on humans. And in exchange, ile Oguere will suck down human bodies into her own body. When this happened, human bodies began to decompose. Because the Earth began to call them home. Now since then, many rituals to appease the Earth have been made.
As well as many rituals to ward off Iku. And some ceremonies like this one, do both. The Jorojoro is a hole, representing the mouth of the Earth. Usually, a group of Yoruba practitioners led by a Babalawo go into a barren land. They open the Jorojoro, and perform a ritual which has many prayers and components.
But part of it is a technique called Sarayeye. Basically, this is cleansing your body or a place with a ritually charged object. This can be an idol. Food. Or even the body part of an animal like feathers.
In this case, everyone carries a plate full of food and perform Sarayeye with that food. The cleansing absorbs all the bad energy. Bad luck, death, disease, curses, obstacles in the New Year etc…then one by one, the food is dumped into the JoroJoro to feed the Earth. The Jorojoro has to be deep so that it can absorb all of the food. Then, the ritual is closed, by sealing the Jorojoro shut.
The Earth Mother will be appeased and she will give you powerful blessings. At the same time she is draining all the osorbos or bad energy away from you. Including Iku or death. This is done every new year by Babalawos. The ritual is expensive but well worth it.
But I must warn you that only a Babalawo has the authority to perform this ritual. If anyone tells you they can do it without being a Babalawo, run away. Because doing it incorrectly angers ile Oguere. And it results in death. This is because the Earth is hungry.
And the worst thing you can do, is to leave the hole open. She will devour the energy of the person who didn’t perform the ritual the right way. Pull their soul down into death.
Cleansing with the Goddesses at the Beach
This cleansing was taught to me by my Godmother in Santeria. Oshun and Yemaya are the Goddesses who symbolize cleansing and prosperity the most. Inle does too. But a lot of people leave Inle out. What you do is take a bottle of melao or sugar cane syrup to the beach.
And once there, you pour some in your hair. And the rest into the water. Obviously you have to be in the water when you are doing this. This is an offering to Yemaya, the Goddess of the Seas and Oceans. Really all water everywhere belongs to her.
She is the Mother of the Earth in our tradition. Because without water, no planet can survive. Now, when you do this, it’s an even more powerful cleansing than the flowering ritual mentioned above. Yemaya can open your roads to greatness and bestow blessing so powerful than no force or enemy can stop you. It may take a while with the flowering bath to disintegrate the bad energy.
As well as renew your strength. But this cleansing with the beach is faster. It’s also more powerful because this is a loci specific ritual. A ritual that uses the power of a location to help you.
A variation of this ritual, uses a honey comb or honey. Personally, I prefer to use a honey comb. You can buy those in the supermarket. It’s like a bar of soap made out of honey. You can scrub yourself with it.
Like you are talking a bath at the beach.
They’re usually in square plastic containers like this. Though if you can’t find honey combs, just rub regular honey on yourself. Then pour the rest in your hair. Like the offerings of the sugar cane syrup. Oshun is the one you call with this cleansing.
And you are asking her to pull all the impure energy out of you. All bad luck, everything out of your energy field. Then, you toss the honey comb into the water as far as you can. That will be the offering for Oshun. But I would recommend you bring a change a clothes with you.
Bring shorts or a bikini to enter the water. Because regular clothing in sea water smells like a rotten animal. Better to remove the wet clothing and change back into your normal clothes afterwards. Bring a bag with you for your wet clothing to seal it up until you can wash it. Likewise you can do something with Inle as well.
She is the Doctor of the Orishas. And has great power to heal. What I normally use for her are vines and leaves which symbolize healing. I ask the Earth to charge it with great power. Then when I go to the Ocean, I ask Inle to drain all that is bad from me, to the vines.
And all the good energy from the earth and water to enter me. Then I toss the vines into the water far away from me. And that will be Inle’s offering.
Egg Cleansing with Elegua
We have already discussed the powers of the Sarayeye technique. And how ritually charged objects can be used in cleansings. This is such a cleansing. My Godmother taught me this one too. The one and only ingredient here is an egg.
If you want you can bless the egg to make it stronger. That’s up to you. On the first Monday of the new year, in the morning, rub an egg from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet. And pray to Elegua. Ask him to take all the bad energy out of you from the old year.
You will wait until you feel lighter. As if everything that was on and in you will be devoured by that egg. Eggs are living objects. They have living organisms inside them. So they are the best things to use for a sacrifice.
Once everything has been pulled from you, you throw it backwards so that it will break. Do not look behind you. Because if you do, whatever negativity you had removed, will return to you. And worse than before. Now you cannot eat eggs for seven days.
Because if you eat the same food you cleansed yourself with, it will also return the negativity to you. Seven days is the cut off point. After the egg fast the day after the seventh day, you will be able to eat them again. You can wash the egg with holy water to give it an added charge. Or anoint it with a holy oil or powder.
If you can’t do this in the morning then do it at night or the afternoon. The point is doing it while it is still Monday. Elegua is the God of the Crossroads in Yoruba religion. He opens all roads and brings success in all things. No ritual or prayer can be done without giving the first and last offerings to him.
He is the Lord of the New Year and Old Year and will open and close all doors. Doing this ritual with Elegua will be sure to remove all obstacles. He is the divine child God and Prince of our religion.
Throwing Water out the front door, the Window, or the Balcony on New Year’s Day
In Latin America and Spain, people throw out a bucket of water at the very moment of midnight of New Year’s Day. Others like the people of Uruguay, do it from December 31st. The water absorbs the old energy of the old Year. So when you cast out the water from your home, you are casting out the old year. Santeros have our own variant of the ritual.
My Godmother puts Cascarilla into the bucket so that the positive energies of the new year can be invited in. Some use a bucket of Catholic holy water.
Puerto Rican women of the older generations also did the same thing. But they would follow that up by burning church incense inside the house to bring blessings. They’d be doing this and praying deep into the early hours of the night. And to ward off evil. I burn Gold Rain incense that I dedicate to the laughing Buddha to bring in money.
New Year’s in the Ozarks
The Christian Magicians in the Ozarks in Arkansas have similar beliefs. They believe in sending out the old year. And bringing in the new year. But instead of using a bucket of holy water, they open their windows. Just a crack, not open all the way.
The old year slips out through the same small opening. And at the same time the new year slips in. There are other beliefs concerning the New Year’s in the Ozarks. Namely that a visit from strangers isn’t very good. But especially not from a woman.
Why that is, has never been explained, at least not to me. Only that your year is supposed to be crap if a woman is your first New Year’s visitor. That actually happened to me once. And it wasn’t just any woman, it was an extremely neurotic neighbor. One that drove her family crazy.
Like literally every once in a while there were cops or some other trouble in that apartment. She visited us to wish us happy new year just as I was about to throw the water out the front door. I actually debated tossing the water at her.
“Maybe if I throw the water at her crazy ass it’ll exorcise the bad year or cancel it out,”
I didn’t. And man did I regret that decision. Because it really was a shitty fucking year. I don’t know if it was the power of suggestion or not. But at least that time it was right.
I know in the Ozarks it usually is right. On New Year’s Day they tend to stay home. Almost in lockdown pattern. Until the next day. They also seem to have a taboo against taking something out of their home.
They seem to believe removing anything from their houses on New Year’s Day will bring poverty. For a visitor to be allowed in, that person has to bring something inside with them. Even if it’s a twig. This symbolizes prosperity. Now with me it’s the opposite.
I throw shit out as quickly as possible. I like my energy uncluttered. But every place has its own set of rules. All of this information comes from a Folklorist known as Vance Randolph. His research on the Christian faith healers and magic users of the Ozarks is considered Gospel.
Even by the faith healers themselves. He did everything he could to properly catalog, analyze, and preserve Ozark culture. Especially the magical and mystical aspects of their folk religion. He’s in essence, the Eliphas Levi of Ozark and folklore and folk magic. His second wife was a premier folklorist named Mary Celestia Parler.
And together they created the Arkansas Folklore Society. Unfortunately the society which was started in 1950, ended in 1960. But any books or papers you can get from them are good. For they are necessary if you really want to understand the culture and faith of these amazing mountain people. I became fascinated by Ozark magic and folk religion years ago.
I thought this entry would be incomplete without mentioning them.
Chalking of the Doors : Blessing your home for the whole year with Baby Jesus and the Three Kings
It was once believed by Christian denominations from Europe, that Satan temporarily losses his powers. Every year around the time of New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Some believe it’s on Christmas Day. Still, it’s important to perform special wardings and blessings. The most common blessing during this time is the Catholic Epiphany blessing.
In fact, practitioners of Hoodoo also perform this blessing themselves. While traditional Catholics only allow a Priest or the head of the family to do it. Anyone who practices the root can do this. When a Priest does this, they do it as a representation of Christ. This is commonly referred to as in persona Christi (in the person of Christ).
This is a fascinating concept. It essentially means that the Priest is making themselves empty of their personal nature. And they ritually “become” Christ. They allow themselves to be filled with his authority. Like a form of divine possession almost.
In Christianity, divine possession doesn’t always mean that a spirit takes you over. Sometimes it refers to inspiration. Gaining prophetic visions and such. In this case it’s the actual authority of Christ being transferred to the Priest temporarily. When this happens, any blessing performed by the Priest, is the same as if Jesus himself were doing it.
Traditionally, a Priest does this. But the father of the family can also do it. I find that kind of sexist because the head of the family could be a woman. So really any head of the family can do it. As long as they are baptized.
Because then they are, they’re included in the “universal priesthood” (belief that all Christians are priests of Christ). In addition to this, practitioners of both Voodoo and Hoodoo can also perform this ritual. In fact this was an old tradition for many years. I was going to write about this. However, there are some amazing articles I found that I decided were better than anything I could write.
* How to make Epiphany Water, the special holy water blessed for this occasion
* A Simpler version of the instructions for the Epiphany Ceremony (but the simple version is only if you are already familiar with the ritual, which includes having a baby Jesus image enthroned in a manger to be part of the ceremony).
Central to this are three themes :
* Worship of Jesus in his child form (Divine Child) a theme you can find in many religions
* Worshipping him through a household ceremony as if the house was his house
* Calling on the Three Pagan Kings to aid in the warding and blessing of the home for the whole year until next year by chalking the door.
* Blessing the home with Epiphany Water and special prayers.
Again this is me dumbing down the ritual for you. The actual ritual is a ceremony the whole family just participate in. And you are giving cultus to the Christ child by using an image of him. Now, the Catholic Church explains that the formula for blessing the house is Latin. And that the initials mean, Christus mansionem benedicat – (Christ bless this house).
However, these are also the initials of the Three Kings. Casper, Melchior, and Balthazar. And as I said, this is an old tradition done even by Rootworkers in the old days. Granted when we do it, it’s normally just the initials C.M.B., the plus signs are crosses and the numbers are the year the blessing is taking place in. For instance, the formula for this new year will be 2023 so the formula will be,
Rootworkers also believe that this chalk blessing offerings protection against witchcraft. It calls on the power of Christ and the three kings to block any malevolent influence. Be it magic or evil spirits.
How I do it
I do follow this formula almost identically to the way it’s performed by the church. I find that the chalking formula they use is better than just writing CMB. However, I don’t just write what is there. I add some things to the blessed incantation. For one, there was a Fourth Mage King known as Artaban.
He followed Jesus all his life. There are stories of heroic deeds and even people whose lives he saved along the way. But he never did catch up to Jesus. Finally he died almost at the same time Christ was crucified. And Christ himself crossed him over.
Saying that in everything he did, including saving the lives of the innocent, it was as if he had done those things for him. And There was also a Roman Witch the Magi Kings were friends with. We don’t know her true name. But she is known as La Befana in Italy. So over there it’s a Christmas Witch and not Santa Klaus who delivers gifts.
She was to join them to see Jesus as a child. However, she said she couldn’t because she was too old to make the journey. Later she regretted it. And tried to catch up to them, but it was already too late. So the sack of gifts she intended for the Child Christ, was instead given to the needy children of Rome.
So my formula is :
To invoke all of their protections.
There are a bunch of other New Years traditions to mention but they are all too numerous to write about here. So instead I brought you links and pictures from Atlas Obscura.
Witchcraft for the New Year
New Year’s Eve Mojos & Superstitions by the Alchemist
9 Superstitions that are Actual Magical Knowledge (and are true) by the Alchemist
Take care everyone,