BY KAILEY TEDESCO
When I was a kid, my family moved often — across state, out of state, back into the first state, and then out again. I became used to the routine of packing my belongings, spending a few seconds with each individual item in my hand before moving onto the next, letting the memories and nostalgia of each thing hit me separately. I also got used to the ritual of starting over — carving my space within each home, deciding and rehearsing how I would introduce myself to neighbors and teachers and classmates.
In fourth grade, I was new in school and so shy. I didn’t know how to begin to make friends, and I came home crying most days. My dad went out to the grocery store and bought every piece of candy he could find. Then he stuffed all of the candy into a brown paper bag with a pb&j sandwich on the bottom. When I got to school, I opened my brown bag lunch and candy spilled over the small cafeteria benches like a pinata. Everyone around me swelled with joy, asking if I would share.
Of course I did share, and I made so many friends that day. Not just because of the candy, but because I was given an opening, a space to introduce myself and fit myself into this new space in a way that felt safe and joyous and, most of all, comfortable for me.
This was a ritual and a spell. Thanks, Dad.
Recently, I moved into a new home with my husband. Our first home. Its emptiness and strong scent of fresh paint keeps us both awake at night. We’re adjusting to the new thermostat, trying to figure out how to achieve a certain level of coziness without spending too much on electric. We’ve been having strange dreams, and our cats spend most of their waking moments prowling, sniffing the perimeter.
We’re all trying to find our space in this larger space, but it’s a gradual process.
On the third night in our home, I was inspired by my my dad’s brown bag of candy, and I decided to attempt a spell of my own to ask our home to welcome us. If you’re in a similar situation — moving into a new home or apartment, starting a new job with a new office or desk, or simply feeling disconnected from your current living space, this ritual is intended to help you feel welcomed, connected, and safe in whatever space you find yourself.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A photograph (preferably printed) of yourself in a space that you love or a space that makes you feel safe
- Your favorite scented candle or incense
- Three small, treasured objects. I like to think of these as the objects you’d never want to lose.
- A song that reminds you of “home”
- A place to sit or rest for a while. This can be in a comfy chair, under a soft blanket, in the bathtub, etc.
1. Get cozy in your chosen space. Let yourself feel warm and safe in your chair, or allow the bathwater to fill to where you like it.
2. Once you’re feeling calm and warm, turn on your chosen music and light your chosen candle or incense.
3. Place the photo of yourself in front of you. I used one of me on my wedding day, because I felt the most at home ever when surrounded by all of the people I love. Begin to meditate on the word “home” and what it means to you. If you’re able to do so, talk aloud to your home or space. I like to say the following, but you can modify it to your preferences:
Dear, 123 South St. (or however you wish to name your home). Thank you for giving me security and warmth. I’m hoping to exist in this space, to create and to love and experience both joy and pain with your walls wrapped around me. Please grant me the safety to be vulnerable here. Please let me become a part of you, and you a part of me.
4. Let your music continue to play, and enjoy the warmth of your chosen spot for a few more moments. When the song is finished, allow yourself to sit in the quiet of your space. Envision what you hope to create or experience while occupying your new home. Set your intentions by whispering what you hope to create/experience here.
5. When you feel at peace, slowly take hold of each of your chosen objects at once. I chose Rumple, a bear I’ve had since before I was born, a necklace that used to belong to my Grizzy, and an early edition of The Bell Jar that my husband gifted me early in our relationship.
Hold each object for a few moments, and let yourself reminisce on any memories these objects might be associated with. When you’ve held all three, purposefully decide where in the home you would like to place each one.
When you’re ready, go ahead and place each object where you feel it belongs best in the moment. For full effect, allow yourself up to an hour to sit and reflect in your new home. Maybe even write a poem or create some kind of art. Let yourself exist fully and presently in your new space.
If you live with loved ones or roommates, feel free to include them and their objects in the ritual as well to create a space that feels welcoming to all who inhabit it.
Kailey Tedesco is the author of She Used to be on a Milk Carton (April Gloaming Publishing), These Ghosts of Mine, Siamese (Dancing Girl Press), and Lizzie, Speak (White Stag Publishing). She currently teaches courses on the witch in literature, among other subjects, in Bethlehem, PA. She is also a senior editor for Luna Luna Magazine and a co-curator for Philly's A Witch's Craft reading series. You can find her work featured or forthcoming in Electric Literature, Fairy Tale Review, Bone Bouquet Journal, Witch Craft Mag, Grimoire, and more. For other information, please follow @kaileytedesco.