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Magical Housekeeping: Simple Charms and Practical Tips for Creating a Harmonious Home Paperback – June 8, 2010
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The Amazon Book Review
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From the Publisher
Simple Charms and Practical Tips for Creating a Harmonious Home
Let your home nourish your soul and uplift your spirits. Swirl magical botanicals into your cleaning supplies, call fairies into your garden, ask a spider for advice. Clear clutter for clarity, perform the oatmeal cookie ritual for abundance, or make a sweet dreams charm for a good night's sleep.
In this delightful book, intuitive counselor Tess Whitehurst reveals how your home can be a powerful catalyst for personal transformation and manifestation. She offers a variety of simple, whimsical ways to create a harmonious home while enhancing your own happiness, intuition, and magical power.
About the Author
Tess Whitehurst is an intuitive counselor, energy worker, feng shui consultant, and speaker, and the author of Magical Housekeeping. She has appeared on the Bravo TV show Flipping Out and her writing has been featured in Writers Digest, Whole Life Times Magazine, and online at Lemondrop.com. She lives in Boulder, CO. Visit Tess online at tesswhitehurst.com.
Top customer reviews
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Like others, my main problem with the book was the ridiculous and unnecessary cost of the cleaning and ritual ingredients. I have already written about low-cost non-toxic ingredients at length in a comment response to one of the two star ratings, but essentially you can clean just about anything in your house with just a few inexpensive and completely non-toxic ingredients. I use these daily (or whenever I get the energy up to do mind numbing chores) and have done for years. They clean as well and usually better than the chemical cleaners on the store shelves.
These are: Baking soda (bicarbonate of soda), common salt (sodium chloride) or sea salt for the purists (sodium chloride with minerals), common white vinegar, lemon and olive oil. See my comment to LLIMom in the two star ratings for information on how to use them and where to get them. You just don't need a lot of money to bring energy and cleanliness into your home. And they are and safe for children and pets.
My point is that It is the INTENT of the user of ritual Magick that matters, not the ingredients. I'm still an econo-witch, despite the fact that I don't have to be now. I feel the Goddess is blessed by the fewest ingredients and the most plentiful and available, since the cleaning solution is, after all, discarded, and not by a hodgepodge of things not easily found or afforded. The Magick is in your own mind and will, not in ingredients. You need something, after all, to aid your cleaning, and non-toxic to boot, so use the simplest and cheapest that will work effectively.
----------------------Possible spoiler alert---------Don't go past this point if a discussion of the book's points of interest would ruin the experience for you-------------------------------------------------
What I liked about the book: She has a cheerful spirit; the tone is uplifting and joy and gratitude are constant themes. Some of the spells are delightful. Keep in mind that spells are directed energy - the power emanates from you as a conduit, not from the petals and candles. Having some simple herbs on hand to aid your purpose is a good idea and some of the spell ingredients can be adapted and modified to suit your budget. More on that in a bit. Buying a few small bottles of the less expensive essential oils might be something that will help enormously if you can manage it. It took me years to build my supply, but you only need a few, and can get by with none at all.
I also liked the section on candle magick. If you cannot afford essential oils to dress your candles try making your own infused oils (my favourite is infused rosemary) recipes are abundant on the net, and these are cheap and useful for many household cleaning purposes as well, or just use olive oil. I prefer natural beeswax to soy, it has a rich honey smell and the bees won't miss it when they are done with it. Beekeeping by the way is a wonderful way to preserve the bees and as a result, the planet. I make my own beeswax tealights and votives, but these can be purchased locally or online as can soy candles.
Many of the house spells and rituals in the last quarter of the book are useful and interesting, but would have to be modified for folk who don't have an extensive essential oil cabinet, a crystal collection or herb collection - fresh or dried. You can, however, get some dried herbs at your supermarket and at ethnic stores. Some come in bulk and in no-name bags. Look for ginger, cinnamon sticks, rosemary, sage and look for vanilla essence too, as well as oranges, lemons, bottled lemon juice, olive oil - you might even have all or most of these in your cupboard.
To get cheap or free herbs for your home, Try doing a weed walk for dandelion root, leaves and blossoms at the appropriate life cycle, chickweed practically all year round, red clover, comfrey leaf, mint, alfalfa and my favourite cleansing herb mugwort which dwells in abandoned sites and places. Make absolutely certain you know what you are doing and /or go with an experienced herbalist; never use weeds from roads with cars emitting gas fumes, and never if the ground has been treated with chemicals. Never take more than one third of any plant, less if possible. You can get useful herbs absolutely free all year round. You can do this even if you live in a big city. Check the web for places and ideas.
Even in winter you can get pine needles and cedar clippings. One year I was in an apartment so asked a friend if I could dig up the dandelions in his yard. He nearly fainted with gratitude. If a friend has an elderberry or juniper bush, if you want the flowers and berries, ask if you can have them if she's not using them. Offer to pick up dropped rose petals from the ground at a friend's yard etc. or ask for the dropped and discarded ones from a florist. Dry them in paper bags or a dehydrator if you have one, or hang them up if you have the space. I got lidded glass jars from the dollar store to keep the herbs in and they look lovely on a shelf.
So ritual herbs don't need to cost you anything but time. Which is a big deal to many. But there's deep satisfaction from savouring the experience of collecting your own ritual herbs and from connection with the Mother. Econo magick - the Goddess would be proud.
Tess did inspire (remind) me to clear the junk off my front porch, so I liked that. I left the spiders and webs alone since they eat the flies, mosquitoes and annoying bugs and add ambiance :)
Imbolg or Imolc (February 01) is the perfect time to do a ritual house clearing and all-out cleaning, for witches anyway, or you can wait until the weather warms in spring to do your 'spring cleaning'. I did get a doormat I love, though, as she suggests, with a black cat surrounded by purple light and wearing a pentacle on its collar. It gives me immeasurable pleasure to open the front door and see it.
She also inspired me to clean my stove more often and thoroughly. I liked her take on that - but - I draw the line at covering up my bedroom mirrors at night - or putting a mirror above my stove that I would have to clean every five minutes for food splatter; at least that bit made me laugh. Good for the spirit a good hearty laugh.
For the oatmeal cookies, can we not just use granny's recipe with a few simple old-fashioned ingredients - or for those who are cookery challenged, how about a plain old cookie mix? I got tired just thinking about walking the aisles of a health food store to get all those hard-to-find ingredients, never mind the expense. A word: Canola oil is not good for you unless it's raw, unprocessed and freshly cold pressed. The stuff in the supermarket is extracted at high heat and often using chemicals, and is toxic to the body. Butter is better choice since it can take higher temperatures before becoming rancid, or virgin coconut oil, which is my personal choice. The cookies are nice for a Mabon ritual when the grain is ripe and harvested though. I also liked what she said about the satisfying and uplifting experience of watching others delight in the food you made - it's good for the soul.
As for the Feng Shui bit about the front door, i.e., adding stained glass, gems or colored paint - many people live in apartment buildings and aren't allowed to paint the door. Hang a wreath or a sprig of herb.
I'm also not about to chop down the ancient cedar by my front walk - it removes toxins and smells nice. The birds nest and chirp in it. The trees and bushes near my front entrance are my guardians since they clear and disinfect the air, and I'm not about to cut them down or hack away at them. Unrealistic advice. But my disapproving neighbour across the street would like me to take and implement it. There's an entity for whom I needs a containing spell, around my home not hers, for as Tess points out, bad Karma can manifest from banishing spellwork and is usually unethical.
Now we get to the sticky stuff - we'll start with the bedroom ritual. Are you mad??? Get a grip here Tess old girl. Forty fresh white roses? How about the petals of one white rose - as I said, the magick is in the intent and directed will of the individual performing it. As such, a single rose will do to get the energy across. If you have a lot of money to throw around, by all means get forty roses and pick the petals off. The bed will smell nice and so will the air, but it just not necessary for the directed energy to work.
By the time I got to this bit of the book, I got weary and tired just thinking about all that housework and all that Feng shui-ing. My mood plummeted. No matter how you dress it up, it is, after all, mind numbing housework. Even reading about it is a downer. I bought the book to see if it could help with that, and it did have a few rituals to help out, but I'm not an eager beaver now as a result of reading it. Instead of buying forty roses, I thought about hiring a cleaner for a day. Now that lifts my mood.
Some of us just aren't cut out for it all, and some of us - such as enthusiastic Suzy Homemakers - just love it. I get weary just imagining them dancing around the room with mop in one hand and duster in the other singing Happy Happy Joy Joy. She mentioned beer.
Which brings us to an important part of any ritual: Beer is indeed good for grounding. The old standby was 'cakes and ale',and where I come from, cakes means oatcakes or some other bread like soda bread. The point is that although veggies and nuts are good for you, they take too long to digest and energize instead of ground. In my opinion, the old ones were right - carbs are best for grounding; they will take you down fast - but too much will put you to sleep after a ritual - and that's all right too.
For those who complained about the mixing of traditions and cultures, I don't see what the problem is. In fact, I'm in favour of it. Whatever works and gets you there - and the job done, is fine with me. Restricting oneself to only one immovable path can be rigid and limiting, not to mention ineffective.
About the Archangels and fairies, whatever works for you. I saw nothing about the evil and dangerous trickster a reviewer mentioned, and hidden entities can take whatever form you like best. I prefer to think of them as inter-dimensional entities.
As for the TV vs the fireplace - I'm with Tess. I wish I did have a fireplace - we had one when I was a child in Scotland; It was the focus of the family room, heated the home and we even did some cooking on it - and it was all the more special for it. We got around to buying a TV in 1963 but I never liked it much even then and banished it from my home years ago. But, it has been replaced by the computer, which I spend more time on than the TV I used to have and the EMF radiation cannot be good. The fireplace generates and replenishes energy, but relaxes at the same time, and the computer and other electronics drain it. Now I do my fire rituals in my mini cast iron cauldron lined with sand or salt.
Finally, she is spot on about the sheets. It's expensive to get hemp or organic cotton sheets but if it's in your budget get pure wool blankets and natural fiber sheets. Silk actually nourishes your skin and is cool in summer and warm in winter. On a tight budget, an all-cotton t-shirt and cotton panties will do as well. Don't forget linen as a strong natural fiber.
So, to wrap up, I think Tess has tried her best to inspire us, and she has. The whole point of this review is that I liked some things about the book very much as I've explained, especially the author's natural vitality, eagerness to help and the rituals and the directed energy work; but, as some have mentioned, cleaning and energizing your home should be available to everyone and not just those with a lot of disposable income.
Clutter Clearing: She explains how physical clutter, emotional clutter, and certain areas of life are connected. She lists some of the types of clutter, and some creative ways to decide on whether or not to keep certain items. Tess also gives a great idea on a process that one can do to also forgive. I still allow myself to buy some of the things I want when it feels right and is appropriate. However,the reading of this chapter has helped make me more aware of only keeping what I am going to actually use, and when it is best to give away the high-quality excess items that someone else can use. I also am more alert to the most efficient ways of resourcefully making room for other items when I do further purchases. I must say that less than three days after first conducting the organization process an idea spontaneously came to me for a solution about something that was on my mind. Many may say that this is just coincidence, but I see it differently because of the circumstances surrounding the fruition of the solution that came less than three days after I first started the organization process.
Harmonious Positions: Tess gives a catchy blueprint of the different power centers of a home, and strategic ways on how to go about placing certain things for certain areas (such as the Creativity & Playfulness centers and the Synchronicity and Miracles center). What I also like is that she lists some steps on how to draw the plan for yourself. Tess also gives some informative bedroom tips for suggestions on where to put certain items (for instance, she gently suggests taking a balanced approach to only have a minimal number of books and decorations in the bedroom area of the home).
The Three Secrets of Empowerment: Tess gives some information on how to enhance your intentions with magical housecleaning around your home.
Magical Housekeeping by Tess Whitehurst is a great guide to get if you care about having a home that increases the well-being of your spirit.
However, I got bogged down in the author's "Magical Floor Planning" and finding power areas in the home. A large part of this is based on feng shui like teachings, so if you like feng shui, it's the book for you. While the "Magical Floor Planning" part of the book wasn't very helpful to me, I could see how it could be good for other people.
Also some of the rituals seem impracticle to me (the petals of 40 white roses are used in one ritual, which I simply can't afford), but not all of them are that extreme or expensive. Even though it's a little harsh to say, I can't see myself using half the rituals in this book, but it got me started about rituals I could do.
If you are new to the magical path, I would recomend this book. It has a lot of Witchy 101 info, and most of us need some help combating clutter. If you're a seasoned witch (unless you need some starter tips on magically cleaning your home), I would recomend you look for another book or borrow this one from a friend or your local library.