With Halloween just a few weeks away, as we decorate with ghosts, bats, owls, and witches' hats, it's easy to start thinking about some of the traditions that surround this spooky holiday.
Tapping into magical charms and superstitions goes hand-in-hand with Halloween, Día de Los Muertos, and All-Hallows-Eve. Whether you are looking at scented candles to brighten your home as the days shorten, or adding scent with cinnamon sticks and cloves, many of these decorating traditions are based on superstitions passed down for generations.
Here are some of those traditions that you can use today to protect your hearth and home this Fall.
Hang a Kitchen Witch
For centuries, German children have been warned about the witches that live in the Black Forest. Some are good, and some are very bad and can cause trouble for those who haven't finished their chores or kept the house tidy.
The Kitchen Witch, which came out of this folklore, is a poppet (not a doll that you play with, but a symbol) that resembles a Grimm's fairy tale witch. Lucky for us, she is a good witch who protects the food from spoiling, burning, boiling over, or tasting bad.
The Kitchen Witch is also tasked with overseeing your home and kitchen to ensure that evil witches can't cause any mischief. In olden days when medicinal treatments like poultices and herbal drinks were created in the kitchen, this good witch's protection was especially revered.
Display an "Evil Eye"
The evil eye originated in ancient Greece as a means of protecting someone from another's evil look. Getting the evil eye from someone is believed to bring bad luck for the receiver. Wearing an evil eye charm or amulet repels this bad luck.
An evil eye talisman is designed in the shape of an eye, traditionally blue or green. Homeowners can hang one or place one in a bowl near the front door to protect the home from evil thoughts, curses, and charms.
Decorate Your Door With a Broom Wreath
In an Irish story that dates back to the early 1300s, a widow named Alice Kyteler (the first proclaimed witch in Ireland who was accused of a slew of evil acts) swept the good fortune away from her neighbor's doorstep as an act of spite. Folks of that time decided that if a broom can sweep out the good, it can also sweep out the bad, so they started hanging brooms by their front doors to keep away evil spirits.
One tradition claims that if you sprinkle salt around your home, it will absorb any evils you can then sweep out with the broom. Brooms also became favorite gifts as tradition said not to bring an old broom with its old magic into the house.
You can make your own broom or "besom" using natural materials from your yard or garden center. These make lovely autumn decorations for your front door.
Ring The Bells
Chinese tradition calls for wind chimes or bells at a home's entrance to help clear negative energy and bring good luck. Many religions use bells to cleanse the air and call good energy. In some religions, the Bells are baptized to possess the power to ward off evil spells and spirits. A "dead" bell is sometimes rung for the recently deceased to keep evil spirits away from the body and ensure a safe transition to heaven.
Scatter Crystals Throughout Your Home
"Selenite" is often referred to as a master crystal designed to repel negative energy from the home. In contrast, obsidian crystals absorb negative energy and keep it from moving about.
Crystals are a very popular décor item, so place them in common areas where they can do their work to keep your home safe, serene, and chic.
Plant Herbs in Pots on Your Windowsill
Herbs are great for cleaning the air and seasoning your cooking. Some are also believed to ward off evil spirits.
Greek legend has it that Basil can protect against the deadly stare of the Basilisk, the king of all serpents. Roman tradition claims Rosemary hung at doorways will keep bad spirits at bay. Dill, lavender, oregano, and parsley will also keep witches and ghosties away. Dill and oregano also have the benefit of attracting joy and good luck.
Sources: Hunker, Medium, WindowGenie, AdamsFarms, NewWorldEncyclopedia, Wikipedia, GermanGirlAmerica, FineDictionary,