Normally, I'm never one to assign mystical causes to mundane events; in my teenage years I saw one too many fluffy-bunny (is that term not PC anymore? I can't keep up) running around blaming curses, evil spirits, "bad energy" and the like for their marital troubles, failing occult shop, general clumsiness, seasonal allergies (seriously), and whole hosts of other problems. I learned young that most of the shit that happens in your life is simply a product of you not having your shit together. Perhaps this is one of the reason's I'm so attracted to Jason's Strategic Sorcery approach.
The side-effect of growing up in this frame of mind is that for a long time I completely overlooked the benefits of cleansing and blessing my living spaces on a regular basis, particularly those practices that required my lazy ass to actually get on my hands and knees and scrub down the floor/baseboards (Here I'd normally link to a host of bloggers who would berate me for this, but fuck if I can find the links I want when I need them). This was all well and good for me until recently, when I found myself in an emotionally compromised state, when, as they say, it all came crashing down around my ears.
First, I fell ill with the worst viral infection I've ever had in my life. Now, I'm very good with pain, I have a relatively strong immune system, and I can usually self-medicate rough illnesses into submission (I would hope so, being in a pharmacy Ph.D. program). So to say that for two weeks I was repeatedly brought down to crying in bed like a little girl and literally crawling my way to the kitchen to feed myself honestly hurts my pride a bit. I had enough blood-tests done to make my arms look like those of an addict, with no definitive results.
When I finally crawled my way back into the light of the outside world, I found myself in the odd position of what I can only describe as carrying a bubble of irrationality with me. Perfectly happy, chatty, rational, long-time friends would turn into testy, illogical minefields when I'd stay in a room with them for any length of time. Trying to get school paperwork done, in an office of what are usually very helpful and understanding people, became a nightmare of red tape and being brushed off outright. Professors only accommodated my makeup work because I pushed them up against university rules. Etc, etc.
While I was still trying to figure out what the fuck was going on, spiders. I'm not shitting you. Tiny newborn spiders invaded my apartment by the hundreds.
Which made falling ill for a second time, only a week or so after recovering from the first, awkward. You try spraying your ceiling and sleeping on the couch while running a fever. So, in the grandest of student traditions, I retreated to good 'ol mom's house (the feverish hundred-mile interstate drive was... interesting). And wouldn't you know, not 24 hours later, I felt better. Better, I realized, than I had in months. The kind of better I sometimes felt in small doses when I left my place to...
Maybe, just maybe, I let myself think, there was something more than a string of coincidences at work here. I had to clean my infested apartment out anyway, I figured, so why not come back guns-blazing with an all-out magical cleansing as well? Couldn't hurt, at any rate.
So I concocted what I've dubbed "Pallas Renatus' Potion Of Get-The-Fuck-Out". In hindsight, it's clearly overkill, as I think it also removed some of whatever it was that made the place feel "homey". It's like I've just moved into the apartment again. Better than the alternative, though. So with that in mind, here's what I made, in case anyone else finds themselves in need of the materia-magic equivalent of a nuclear warhead:
|Yes, that says "For research purposes". Story for a later date.|
Find yourself a tin of chewing tobacco. I suggest some sort of mint flavor, to offset the ungodly smell of what you're about to do next, but it doesn't really matter.
|Smells as bad as it looks, trust me|
Throw the whole tin of it in a pot with about two cups of water and bring it to a boil, then turn down and let simmer for half an hour or so. Opening windows is suggested. Spiders hate this shit; besides poisoning the ones that are directly exposed to it, even a tiny amount of residue will keep them from coming back.
|Thrifty magicians have no shame about reusing old sauce jars.|
Strain into something reusable. I didn't realize it at the time, but so little of this stuff is needed that one concoction will last you for years... or divide nicely into tiny bottles to sell :-)
|I prefer lemon. Just don't use anything labeled "soapy".|
Add a splash of ammonia. A tablespoon or so is all that's necessary for spiritual purposes, but if I had been smart, I would have done a room-temperature extraction of the tobacco overnight in a cup or so of straight household ammonia, then diluted it by half with water, if only to avoid the smell. Lesson learned.
|I found this lovely cubed form in the "ethnic hair products"|
section of my local pharmacy. Go figure.
While the solution is still hot, add some powdered camphor. Save a bit of it to burn later. The camphor won't dissolve completely, but give it a good stir to get it dispersed evenly. I advise against closing the bottle of hot liquid and shaking. Try it and find out why.
Open all your windows, light up a bit of the camphor you saved, invoke whatever kick-ass guardian/warrior spirit you like (I used Michael), belt out a general license to depart, and get to work scrubbing down every floorboard, door-frame, and window-frame in the house, as well as where the ceiling meets the walls. A few drops on a wet sponge is all you will need if you don't want to stain your woodwork green or have to go over everything a second time with a clean sponge.
Take some time when you're done to invoke a few choice higher beings and generally bless the living space. I'd wait a good day or so before re-inviting any familiars, land-spirits, or other spirits on the more visceral end of the scale in, as the camphor will be unpleasant at best for them.
As I mentioned before, all this was probably a bit overkill. The "familiar" feeling of my home of two years was suddenly gone, and took several weeks to reestablish itself. But on the other hand, everything I mentioned above disappeared or resolved almost overnight. Even a lot of the paperwork I mentioned above got pushed through the next day without my intervention.
Moral of the story? Banish your shit.
Edit: If anyone wants a little 1/2 oz. vial of this stuff, you know, for those "just in case" moments that crop up a little too often, shoot me an email (link in my profile) and I'll mail some out to you for free. Lord knows I have more than I'll ever need or use.