December 1

When a Witch Moves House


When a Witch Moves House | Land Taking | Heathenry |
Not my house, but someday…

Honey, where did you want to put the Woden statue?

Woden | Odin | www.WildSwanWoman.comAfter eleven years, we moved to a different apartment in our house. We have been busy getting settled and organizing the new space, which is very different than our last. We have also been preparing the other units for rent, cleaning and preparing to upgrade a few things.

Naturally, there is the logistical side of moving. What to pack, what to toss, which friends will help move the furniture, and so on. My husband is still moving all of my books. After our last move, the dear man informed me that I was not allowed to pack the books again. Considering each box weighed over a hundred pounds, I see his point.

There is also a witchy side to moving. For example, creating sacred space through a house blessing, finding new spots for our weofod (also called a vé for you more Norse-aligned folks, or simply an altar, especially if outdoors) and sacred objects, and being mindful of the house and land spirits.

Since I consider protecting the land and Mother Earth to be almost a form of personal spiritual mandate, there is also the ecological impact of moving.  Moving generates waste, both in disposing of old items and in the packaging of new purchases. How efficient are any new appliances? Are the materials being used in upgrades toxic? How much could be obtained from a second hand store and reused instead?

I am grateful that moving is not something we do frequently.

Land Taking

When we first moved in, I blessed our apartment and warded it. I did not, however, do a land taking. We hadn’t planned on this being here for as long as we have. Plans have changed, and we will call this home for maybe another twelve years. We will still be moving to Maine, but not until our children have graduated from high school. All things considered, this was time for a land taking.

A land taking is a ritual that establishes one’s borders. This can be in both a physical and non-physical sense. Physical boundaries can include putting up fences, hedges, stone walls, or any kind of property markers. These were already in place here, and we will upgrade these in a few months. Physical boundaries can establish property lines, as well as trespassers out.

Non-physical boundaries are a statement to the spirits in your area that you are claiming this space as your home.  Depending upon the kinds of spirits you have locally, this may be more or less important. Where I live, there are some nasty little things called pukwudgies that are best kept at a distance. Lately, though, it feels like more non-physical beings have either awoken, returned, or have somehow found there way to this area. More on that in another post.

In Víga-Glúms saga, we see the act of bringing fire to a land as a way to send Glúmr and his family away from his ancestral land. Hallbera has “brought fire to the land of Thverá” and is then dedicating the land for her son, Einar.

Based on this, we can adapt the use of fire to mark a boundary around our homes while stating our intent to claim the land. This may or may not involve the invocation of gods or ancestors. In my opinion, it should involve addressing the land and house wights. In my case, I also called upon both my mother and grandmother, since they both lived here at one time.

Marking the boundary with fire could be done by lighting a series of torches around a property during the ritual. Tiki torches or the large citronella bucket candles are easy enough to find. For all the neighbors know, you might just be trying to keep mosquitoes away in the warmer months. If that won’t work in your case, fire can be walked around the property. A candle in a lantern that won’t be blown out by the wind would work nicely.

For our land taking rite, I used this lantern which a friend had gifted to me, along with one of the tealights I made from our beeswax. I circled half of the property. When I got to the fence, I handed the lantern over the fence to my husband, who continued to carry the flame the rest of the way. We took advantage of the other units being vacant. The lantern was brought inside and walked through each apartment.

The lantern handle does get hot, so I carried it on a plate. I placed stones which have an ethel (othala) rune painted on each and had prayers and ethel sung over the stones in spots that felt they needed a boundary marker. Some people might want to use the cardinal directions, if your home lines up neatly with them. If you have a border with angles or hills, you may wish to bring your candle or torch to those spots as well. At each stone, I burned recels (incense) and poured mead. When all was said and done, we named the property, RoseStead.

Ethel/Othala Meaning

Ethel is the essence of ancestral land, prosperity, and estate. Included in this understanding is the notion of boundaries, safety, and enclosure. These meanings make it the ideal rune to be used on boundary stones and markers, especially for a property which has seen multiple generations call it home. This creates a powerful, protective charm for one’s home. While I won’t post pictures of the specific stones I have placed, here is an image of ethel from my rune set.

Ethel | Othala | Odal |


Aromatic, Handmade Ritual Candles

There is something special about making your own candles, especially from your own hive of bees. (Another option for natural, lusciously scented candles is

rendering wax from bayberries.) The beeswax burns longer and has a lovely, natural honey aroma without toxic artificial fragrances.

Truth be told, I find the scent of beeswax intoxicating. When my husband is setting up frames for the hives, which have sheets of beeswax foundation which the bees build their comb upon, the room fills with the warm, sweet smell of beeswax. I will stick my nose right in the bag of foundation and just inhale like a woman possessed.

However, if you don’t happen to have your own hives, tealights are very simple to make. You can also save the cups and reuse them. Never made candles before? One of the best books out there is The Candlemaker’s Companion (pic below). But, if you just want to stock up on some, Bluecorn Naturals has s 24 pack.

In Summary

This land taking rite was simple, but powerful. I loved incorporating our beekeeping into the ritual. Marking the boundary with runes and invoking the protection of my ancestors has shifted the feel of the house. Being in an urban area and considering the political tension that remains thick in the air since the recent election, the added security is more than welcome.


candle making, Ethel, Land taking, Odal, Othala

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