Since I was little, every holiday break was filled with post-Christmas visits from relatives and family friends, exchanging gifts and food. Lots of food. We’re talking curried goat, rice and peas, candy-sweet (candied sweet potatoes) and callaloo(greens), and of course, tins of fruit cake (my mom’s famous rum cake)
Once all the visits and gift-giving ended, we cleaned our home before the night of New Year’s Eve or “Watch Night.” If not, we would be left behind in the old year’s luck. I used to think that that was just something elders tell you to get you to clean up. But judging how this year went.
I’m taking no chances for 2021!
Our Jamaican household routine involved cleaning the house from top to bottom. Dad would put on his old reggae records or let us watch TV while cleaning to break up the monotony. We deep cleaned the kitchen, kept the good leftovers, put worn clothing and old toys out for donation, but held on to things we truly loved. Laundry was folded neatly in drawers, we made our beds with fresh sheets, and the guest towels were added to the bathroom; these were those lacy or embroidered towels that no one was allowed to use.
I’ve spent the holidays back in New York or trekking across the globe for the last few years. This year, because of the state of current events, I’ve been home on the west coast a whole lot. Home has become my sanctuary, workplace, art studio, restaurant, and nest. I’m not the best cleaner in my family. I still stick things in the closet and trip over books. So I’m not going to give you an exhaustive checklist on how to clean; the internet has plenty of tips to clean. I AM going to list a few agreements on what you can do that will get the job done, some tips to keep in mind to bring you good Juju in 2021, and an old school Jamaican Blue Lagoon bath to remove the negative residue off of you.
Quick Clean Checklist
Clean up according to your current cleaning practice. I know this can be a lot to ask as I’m only sharing this two days before new years. Do what you can and stick to the ritual cleaning tidbits, replacing the old with the new where needed.
- Wash dishes, clean counters, and tabletops
- Throw out expired foods, spices, and vitamins.
- Donate food that is still good but that you know you won’t use.
- Do all grocery shopping before New Year’s day, and do not empty your fridge or cabinets. A friend of mine is moving on Jan 1st but could get into the apartment the day before to put oranges with pimento in the fridge and some coins in each room.
- Pick-up and put away your things in their place
- Organize your workspace.
- Wash and put away linens (No washing allowed on New Years Day)
- Toss out old worn clothing and shoes (Fyi wearing new clothing for New Years is a good thing )
- Sweep Vaccum and Mop: Throw out the trash using the back door. If you only have one entry to your home, carefully walk backward. Take out all trash by New Year’s Eve, no taking out the garbage on New Year’s Day.
- Discard all your old daily cleaning tools, i.e., sponges, brushes, toothbrushes anything that you use to remove debris ( throw out your bath sponges if it’s older than a month). If you cannot toss it or it’s relatively new, use a cleaning wash or give it a good wipe down and spray it lightly with Florida water or spiritual solution of your choice, dry it outside on the eve and bring it back inside on New Years.
The idea here is to remove that we are removing everything that no longer serves us and brings prosperity, goodwill, and a fresh start.
Ritual Cleaning: After you have finished base cleaning, it’s time to clean your ritual tools.
- Smudge/ incense each room.
- Sweep the floors with your sacred broom. Remember your directions sweeping.
- Wash the floors with blueing or your preferred ritual waters
- Wash your ceramic, glass plates, bowls, or cups.
- Polish your metals, wipe down your ancestors’ frames, add new frames for those who have recently passed.
- Clean and charge your divination tools.
- Change your altar cloths, then reset your table.
- Put out fresh flowers, water plants, and hang new herbs on your door. I have garlic and rosemary hanging at my doors.
- Put fresh offerings and libations out ( My family eats callaloo and saltfish for breakfast on New Year’s Day, peas and rice and curry for dinner)
- Do a burn away ritual, take leaves left from mistletoe and burn them in your first outdoor fire. (The Scottish believe burning Holly is a bad omen as Holly is used in warding off evil spirits). I like to write out regrets and burn them. Fire removes everything.
- Put some bubbly out for the ancestors; pour some out for those who have passed away this year.
- Light Bayberry candles for luck on your altar.
- Play your ritual music and the music of your ancestors and stay up for Watch-Night
- Cook up and eat greens and black-eyed peas to invite prosperity.
- During Watch-Night at Midnight, open your front door for 10 min and make noise. This allows the negative spirits to GTFO. At sunrise or noon on New Year’s day, open the door again and make noise to let the good spirits in. In normal times every time you had a visitor on New Years Day, you would let them in and spread cheer because we are all separated. This is a good alternative to that.
Jamaican Blue Lagoon Bath
Once you are done with all your cleaning, make sure to clean your most important instrument. YOU. Here is a Yemeya bluing bath that I’ve used for years; it’s very close to many hoodoo bush recipes, so here I share it with you. It’s understandable if you don’t have the ingredients below in your home; use a cleaning bath in your tradition. If you’d like me to recommend one, feel free to shoot me a DM @thezionacollective on IG.
Fill the bath with water to your liking. In a bowl, mix the below ingredients and add them to the bath. Soak till your ready, rinse off, and air dry. Add your prayers, chants, and cleansing practices as needed
- 1 tsp powdered or 1 square of bluing
- 2 tsp of Cascarilla
- 3 cups of Coconut water
- 1 sprig of Rosemary
- 7 white flower heads
In summary, this has been one long… long… year. We’ve dealt with so many changes, not only at home but worldwide. Care for yourself, and know we will get through this. We are witches. It’s what we do best! Let’s also remember that every “beginning” starts with an “ending,” and as we wish 2020 farewell, let’s walk toward a future filled with hope, prosperity, and most importantly, justice for those we have lost.
Much Love & One Love