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ASK A WITCH-House Clearings and Love Spells

Without any further ado, here is the first installment of my new advice column, Ask A Witch! Please send me your questions by going to and filling out the contact form at the bottom of the webpage.

We are moving in to a new apartment that has a rich history (built in the 1920s) and doesn't seem to have any kind of bad energy. The previous resident did I think die in it. Is there a ritual cleansing that I could practice that will clear the space to become ours, while at the same time honoring the people who lived there before us? -House Guest

Dear Guest,

It is fortunate that you don't feel any negative energy in your new place; houses that old can tend to hold a lot. Even when a home doesn't necessarily feel "bad" I still like to think of energy clearing like any other cleaning-you wouldn't want to move in with someone else's dust and grime. When we live in a place we leave our energetic residue, both the light and the dark, fights, love, sex, laughter, boredom, birth, and death. Moving in without first cleansing out the old can be dangerous; we might start to take on somebody's energy without realizing it.

I definitely recommend a basic smudging to start: open doors and windows and move counterclockwise around each room, burning sage, paulo santo, or cedar. I like to speak to the energy as I move, honoring and releasing it, for the good of all. Placing bowls of salt water in corners can help to absorb heavy stuff (you'll want to dump it out when you finish your ritual). After the release I'll walk back through the house in a clockwise direction, calling in whatever I want to fill the house with (so as not to leave a vacuum): I call in earth and sky energy, light to fill each nook and cranny (in case anything old remains), and love, healing, and hope. You can adjust this to suit your beliefs and desires. To finish, build an altar somewhere central or special (on a mantle, near a window, whatever feels right), to anchor in the new energy and, in your case, to honor the people who lived (and died) there before you. Place an item for everything you are calling in and everyone you are honoring (these can be natural items gathered from outside like leaves, flowers, rocks, etc, or sacred items of your own choosing), and light a candle to seal your intentions. Leave the altar up only as long as you are interacting with it; you don't want it getting dusty and stale.

In most cases, a clearing like this will suffice to release previous energy, establish your own hopes for the new home, and honor that which is special to you. Sometimes, however, there can be energies or entities that are heavier, nastier, and more stubborn. If you find yourself feeling haunted and a basic clearing isn't helping, I recommend calling on your local witch; let them to go to battle with the unwanted forces. Some things are best left to the professionals.

I'm sick of being single, but I've been dating forever and nothing is clicking. I'm underwhelmed by the people I'm meeting and tired of boring, pointless interactions. I'm ready to give up. Any suggestions? -Love Potion?

Dear Potion,

People come into our lives when we're ready for them, so my first suggestion is to take an honest look at yourself and determine if you really are ready. Are you nurturing your own growth, path and passions? If you're spending too much time dating and not enough time pursuing your happiness and purpose, that special someone might look right past you.

My next suggestion is to pick a meaningful night (a new moon is perfect for sowing seeds, a waxing moon for nurturing growth, and a full moon is a powerhouse-choose what resonates for you) and spend some intentional time on a love spell. Open sacred space, whatever that means for you (I call in directions, elements, and guides), light a fire or some candles, surround yourself with flowers or crystals, burn some incense, sip some tea; find a way to elevate your night into something magical. Sit down with a blank piece of paper and write a thoughtful list about the person you would love to draw into your life. Don't be afraid to ask for what you want- great sense of humor, kindness, beauty, intelligence- but be wary of specifics ("upright bass player" vs "musical," "novelist" vs "creative," etc), unless those specifics are truly important to you (if you absolutely need your beloved to be obsessed with Harry Potter, go ahead and write it down). Take time and care with this list- use exact and positive language (i.e. "compassionate" vs "not an asshole") and make sure to say precisely what you want ("single" is good, if you want someone who's unattached, but "emotionally available" means they're also ready for you). When your list feels complete, read it over several times, and notice which of the qualities you're seeking are qualities that you already have yourself, and which are qualities that you wish you had. If you find yourself lacking, try to think of ways to nurture those aspects in yourself. Like attracts like.

Finish your magical night with a bit of ceremony. Offer something to the fire in gratitude for the love that is heading your way, honor the sacred forces you called in to help with a drop of essential oil in a candle, sing a song or walk outside under the moon to pour your tea on the earth or kiss the ground. It isn't what you do, it's the act of honoring and gratitude that are key here; use my suggestions or create your own. Close sacred space and place your list somewhere special. Revisit your love list every week or so and offer another little ceremony each time you do; in time, your love will find you.

Thanks to the brave seekers for the questions! Please submit yours to ASK A WITCH at All questions are welcome and all identities are kept anonymous.

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