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Internet Book of Shadows, (Various Authors), [1999], at

                        Imbolc for the Covenstead 
     First, the cleansing.  We do covenstead cleansing on this day, partl
 because of the (somewhat) purificatory nature of Imbolc, and partly
 because it coincides with the date a Japanese custom called yokubrai, if
 memory serves correctly, is carried out.  Yokubarai means the same as
 exorcism, and is done with beans!  More about that in a minute.
     I give as many parts to the cleansing as there are people to perform
 them.  The last house cleansing we did had about 10 people take part and
 I found something for each of them to do.  But that wasnt easy.  Lessee,
 I think the most necessary elements for me to go around with are salt
 water, incense and beans.  But Ive also had people waving away negative
 energy with brooms and wands.  Ive had them sprinkle with salt water,
 and with water in which basil had been soaking for awhile. Ive had
 people carry around bells, incense and candles (not quite bell, book and
 candle, but close enough <g>).  I live in a loft apartment, so we start
 in the closet up there, partly because its in the heart of the house,
 partly because I like the humorous aspect of coming out of the closet to
 do the blessing.  Anyway, we banish in a counterclockwise 
 diretion, single file, sprinkling, censing, or chanting into each corner
 each mirror, light fixture, appliance or outlet, as well as the walls
      In other words, we banish negative energy from all things giving
 ingress or egress from the house, as well as walls and mirrors. 
 Sometimes we just take in everything in one room at once if its small,
 or everything along one wall--saves time.  I usually come at the end of
 the line throwing beans at things (I find beans for MONTHS afterward)
 and chanting in Japanese: Funiki ga ire; oni ga soto!  (Good luck, come
 in; devils, begone!)  Then someone follows me making a banishing
 pentagram with an athame.  We circle around the house in a counter-cloc-
 kwise spiral till were back where we started--downstairs by that time. 
 Then we go back upstairs for the blessing part.  For the mos part, this
 uses the same tools, but no beans this time, and we go clockwise.  We 
 bless the corners, walls, outlets, appliances, and mirror, doors and
 windows.  We concentrate on blessing and on making a seal that cannot be
 broken on the windows and doors especially.  I usually come last and
 seal everything with a pentagram drawn by my atham.  Then I draw a large
 permanent circle around the house, call in the elements, and ask the
 Lord and Lady to guard and bless the house for another year.
     Consecrating the dirt is simpler.  I usually buy potting soil and
 place it in the center of the circle.  All the ritual is done around it. 
 We usually consecrate it just before we do cakes and wine by placin our
 hands on it and channeling energy into it.  Then everyone takes some
     The last thing we do is to make up Bridgets bed.  We take some long 
 grass, or herbs and fold them into the shape of a doll about a foot long 
 We dress her up and name her Bridget.  Then we make her a soft bedof
 some grasses (all on a sheet of newspaper, of course, so the Virgo HPS
 doesnt get her nose, or her carpet, bent out of shape), lay her down and
 put a phallic image in the bed with her.  We use a large dried seed pod
 with a rounded head for this.  Then we place some of the consecrated
 dirt on a sheet of newspaper beside her.  She was put by the hearth in
 days of yore, but, alas, I have no fireplace!  In the mornng, if there
 are prints in the dirt (ashes), it foretold a favorableyear.  When we
 did it last year, I swear there was the image of the phallic figure in
 the dirt, though no one had moved him!  And it was a very good year for
 the coven, all in all.
     Hope you can use some of this.
  Blessings,       Erin

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