Boxes are strewed, half unpacked in every room. Clothes are buried in various mounds waiting to be neatly hung and who knows where the silverware has ended up. I have moved to my new home, a lovely airy apartment overlooking the Bensafrim River just steps away from my second home, the public pool. An elevator gently lifts me to my front door, no stairs or hills to challenge my deteriorating hip. Free from the tyranny of bus schedules, I can visit friends and explore Lagos any time of the day or night.
I am not moving again. After four moves in just over three years, this is home. Boxes finally make their way to the recycling bin. It’s New Year’s Eve, a very rare and special one as it is occurs at the same time as the new moon. According to Internet prophets, the planets are doing all sorts of funky alignments, leaving an open window to send out my hopes and dreams to the universe. I am to using every cultural good luck ace in the deck tonight. Plus my wild card, a small hand-painted box my friend, the famous psychic, Christa Urban gave to me. She amazes me with her readings and healing energies, but has yet to predict my winning lottery numbers.
The skies fill with brilliant colors as booming fireworks light up the
rainclouds. I thank the Chinese for inventing these traditional shows of luck. Watching from the balcony I down twelve raisins chased with red wine. In Portugal, it is traditional to eat twelve raisins at midnight, one for luck each month.
As the universe is now properly aligned, the moment has come to open the Psychic’s little box. Inside is a do-it-yourself house blessing kit. I open the latch, it contains a packet of herbs nestled in a seashell and instructions inked on fine parchment, the charred edges lend an aura of drama and mystery.
As instructed I face east, light the sage and rose petals until they smolder. Fanning gently to reach all the cracks and crevices I move clockwise, navigating every inch of the apartment. I repeat in a properly, yet spiritual and firm voice, “All negative energy be released, and all trapped spirits be set free to move on.” My two young cats, acting as witchy familiars, follow me as I bless each room.
I am instructed to let the incense burn out. Guessing it will go out when the negative energy is all gone, it is still smoking as I gently put it in a safe place. I go to the next step and light a white candle to create new and positive energy. Can this small tea light, the only white candle I could find, do all that? Easily lit, it shines brightly with much more light than expected; it fills the house with happy
Bad vibes cleared: check. Positive energy created: check.
On to Step Three: protection. “Sprinkle sea salt around the exterior of the house asking for protection, no evil can enter.” Pondering for a moment if this means just the apartment or the entire building? Not enough salt for the entire building, so I choose the apartment, elevator, lobby and entrance. Sea salt is sprinkled on the edges of balconies, outside the sliding glass doors, front door, the elevator door and downstairs entry. Grateful my neighbors don’t come home while I am outside chanting casting salt on their doorway. Last instruction, “Close your work with thanks to the spirits and universe.”
I wake up to the Next Year: a clean and protected (spiritually at least) home. New Year’s Day my last ace in set is on the stove to boil. This Florida Cracker is going back to her roots by cooking up a bit of good old-fashioned luck southern style. I’m talking the real American South y’all… black-eyed peas and greens. The greens, not strictly traditional, are cooked with sesame oil and seasoned with soy.
Luck is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. I’m just hoping that the luck I made mixes well with the sweat I drip all over my keyboard this year.
Wish me luck.