My friend Amber recently became my 10th-ever roommate, and as someone who’s racked up many years of experience in the art of living with other people, I know how the dance typically goes when you move in with someone new: You set intentions to not leave dishes unwashed, you establish boundaries about not using each other’s shampoo, and you cleanse the whole place immediately, despite knowing it’s only a matter of (short) time before things skew dirty forever. But, this time—this time—was destined to be different… thanks to witchcraft and learning how to cast a spell.
Meet Erica Feldmann, who identifies as a witch and initially moved to Salem, Massachusetts, to study witches and the sacred feminine at Simmons College. She stayed in Salem and eventually opened HausWitch, a metaphysical (or New Age) shop that sells handmade goods intended to “bring magic and healing into everyday spaces.” Earlier this year, she published HausMagick: Transform Your Home with Witchcraft, which pairs intel from her witchy background with her interior-design focus to provide home-cleansing ideas from which all can benefit. Just in time for Amber’s move in, we decided to use the guiding spells to give our new collective home a positive energy makeover.
The teachings of the book operate similar to feng shui, in that they call upon cleaning and redecorating as a means for changing and improving the energy of a space. Divided into six fundamental elements, the focuses are on decluttering, cleansing, and creating a harmonious environment. Essentially, it’s witchcraft to bolster each roommate’s personal sense of happiness within the home along with a permeating vibe of total respect.
So using HausMagick as a guide, along with new tidbits from Feldmann herself, Amber and I learned how to cast a spell from each of the six fundamental elements of the process. Check out how it went below:
No getting around it: It’s imperative to physically clean before bringing a new person and new energy into a space. Feldmann recommends charging your cleaning supplies by holding them, meditating with them, ruminating on past chore-related arguments you’ve had, and then scrubbing them out of your life. With that in mind, I put the best of intentions into the rented rug cleaner I was using before tasking it with tackling a wild amount of grime and filth. After that, it was time to smudge—which can be done in more ways than many realize.
“While clearing, you should have a mantra like, ‘I replace any negative energy in this space with my highest and best energy.’ Finish by setting an intention for clear communication.” —Erica Feldmann, witch
“The most common herb that people burn is sage, but there are many other ways to energetically clear a space,” Feldmann says. “Cedar or mugwort can be just as effective, as can ringing bells, clapping your hands, dancing or using a sage spray, which you can make yourself or purchase. While clearing, you should have a mantra like, ‘I replace any negative energy in this space with my highest and best energy,’” she says. “Finish by setting an intention for clear communication.”
Amber and I doubled down: With Jimi Hendrix on full blast (for good sonic vibes), I shouted our mantra and burned blue sage around my room, my former roommate’s room, the bathroom, and the area around our new couch while Amber rang a bell. We cleared the space and perhaps firmly solidified our title as our landlady’s least-favorite tenants.
Speaking of sage, get a play-by-play on how to use it in your home:
Feldmann recommends setting up an altar for the apartment keys as way to manifest good vibes and happiness for the year to come. In case I’ve lost you already, Merriam-Webster defines an altar as “a usually raised structure or place on which sacrifices are offered or incense is burned in worship,” or “a table…which serves as a center of worship or ritual.”
Our altar included two blue jars for the keys, a corner of seashells (which symbolize home in feng shui), a corner of rose quartz (to strengthen love), an altar bell as a divination tool, a photo of me and Amber outside the apartment, and a Buffy the Vampire Slayer prayer candle (as a symbol of strength). “While holding the new key, visualize the key opening a door to abundance, fulfillment, self-love, ease or any other blessings you can think,” says Feldmann.
To better understand how you can share space harmoniously, Feldmann suggests consulting your birth chart to check astrological compatibility. “You probably already know your sun sign, and that can provide some valuable information for sure, but when it comes to all things home-related, knowing your moon sign—or which planets you have in your fourth house, the house of family and home—can offer deeper insight,” she says.
Feldmann has a “Warm Welcome” ritual, the purpose of which is to manifest and facilitate—you guessed it—comfort. It requires two orange candles, comfy clothes, and cookie dough. Yes, cookie dough! (Realtors use this cozy-aroma hack to cultivate a hygge atmosphere for an open house, and it same works here).
But what if you’re not into baking or simply don’t feel put at ease by the sweet scent of cookies in the oven? “Throw some orange slices, cinnamon sticks and vanilla extract in a pot of water and boil until the steam carries a delicious scent throughout your space.”
To create balance in the apartment, we learned how to cast a spell for a successful roommate transition, which requires a representation of each element—Earth, fire, air, water. “Use two of each element to represent each person living in the space,” says Feldmann. “As each element is represented in equal balance, so too are your energies equal in the space.” We chose two candles for fire, seashells for water, crystals for Earth, and incense for air.
“Use two of each element to represent each person living in the space. As each element is represented in equal balance, so too are your energies equal in the space.” —Feldmann
We then went through what we’ve liked and loathed about past living situations. “What are you leaving behind and what are you hoping to bring in? This can be bonding as well as helpful in setting boundaries and giving your partnership structure,” says Feldmann.
All that’s left is to claim our space. “Simply announce out loud that the space belongs to you and your roommate, and that any negative or threatening energies have no power in your space,” says Feldmann. For an added touch of security, she suggests getting a crystal for protection, like black tourmaline or obsidian.
“Salt is another super-easy, but super-sacred and effective protection tool,” says Feldmann. “Create a salt circle around the outside of your building, or leave a few grains in each corner of your apartment.”
One hundred percent. Stripped down, these intention-setting exercises and rituals are a vibrant means of running through the necessary motions that accompany moving in with someone. But spending dedicated time learning how to cast a spell and foster healthy lines of communication also made for a great bonding experience.
Also, it seems to me that the reason magic ever works is courtesy of the energy the believer puts into it. Since our intention-setting night, I’ve taken the it seriously; I feel accountable and in control of my life and space. And, this go-around, I’m using a real sublease agreement, so those intentions are legal. That, friends, is what I call practical magic.
Now that you’re clear on how to cast a spell, learn how to bring even more mystic energy into your household. Here’s the gist of Greek coffee fortune telling. Oh, and here’s how to set the right intention the next time you smudge your home.