Out with the Old: In with the New by Carol P. Christ

A few days ago, a Greek friend told me she was going to bring holy water from a church so that we could bless my house. Ever since I moved to my new apartment in Heraklion, I have intended to do a house blessing, following rituals I learned from Z Budapest. But with unpacking and settling in interrupted by illness, I never got around to it. I did burn frankincense early on to clear out vibes left by the previous inhabitants of my space, but nothing more. I have slowly made the house a home, but I have been waiting for the renovations to be finished before doing a final blessing. As I still anticipate remodeling the kitchen island, I did not proceed.

Before my friend arrived, I incensed the house again, musing that now that I have finished my chemotherapy and am on the road to recovery, it is high time to clear out all the lingering feelings and memories of the time I was very ill. When my friend arrived bearing a small plastic bag filled with water from a church spring, she asked if she could water the plants on my balcony. I had watered them the day before, but I didn’t mention that.

Announcing that she loved to play with water, she doused the plants, then hosed the balcony tiles and sprayed the windows which were covered with dust following a recent dirty rain. As there are balconies surrounding all of my rooms, that completed the cleansing. Watering the plants signaled the renewal of life.

When all of that was done, and after she finished a cappuccino, I showed my friend the blue bowl that held the holy water. She picked a sprig of marjoram from one of my pots and handed it to me, stating that I would use it to sprinkle the holy water around the house while she recited the Pistevo (“I believe in one God the Father Almighty . . .”). She asked me if I knew the prayer, and I said, “Yes, but not in Greek.”

There might have been a time when I would have added, “I don’t believe in it, can’t we say something else?” But during my illness I have accepted help from every source that is offered. When I asked for help at Palani, I expected my friend the nun to bless me in the name of the Panagia and the Holy Myrtle Tree, but she invoked the Holy Trinity. I said nothing. A good friend sends me the healing energy of the blue Buddha, another male figure (though she claims the energy is not male), and I gratefully accept that too.

While I sprinkled holy water in every room and every nook and cranny of the apartment, my friend recited the Pistevo, half under her breath. I was especially concerned to cleanse the bedroom and the bed where I lain when I was most ill. I also opened the front door and sprinkled the threshold to protect the entrance to my home. As we finished in the kitchen, my friend said, “And now the most important thing,” pointing to my head. I sprinkled holy water on my head and lifted up my shirt so I could sprinkle the healing water in the places where the cancer had formed. I also sprinkled my friend, who is a survivor of a nearly fatal heart attack, liberally.

There was some water left and my friend told me to continue the blessing the next day.

After my friend left, I realized we had performed this cleansing and healing ritual on the eve of the Spring Equinox. Spring cleaning is an important part of the rituals welcoming the rebirth of nature in spring. My friend had chosen a very auspicious time to bless my house and my body for the healing that will continue as spring springs forth.


Carol P. Christ is an internationally known feminist and ecofeminist writer, activist, and educator who lives in Heraklion, Crete. Carol’s recent book is Goddess and God in the World: Conversations in Embodied Theology. Carol has been leading Goddess Pilgrimage to Crete for over twenty years: join her in Crete. Carol’s photo by Michael Honneger.

Listen to Carol’s a-mazing interview with Mary Hynes on CBC’s Tapestry recorded in conjunction with her keynote address to the Parliament of World’s Religions

Categories: Earth-based spirituality, Feminism and Religion, General, Healing, Ritual

Tags: , , , , ,

20 replies

  1. Goosebumps all over me reading this wonderful post. Thank you Carol.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. This is a beautiful essay, Carol, thank you! Perhaps we are growing less doctrinaire as we grow older. Good energy, as you point out, is good, full stop. I don’t flinch when someone wishes me a happy Easter or a merry Christmas, I simply accept the good intention behind it.

    Patriarchal religion, with its emphasis on female beings as inferior and its tacit permission to brutalize us, continues to horrify me but it’s not my job to convert others to the Goddess path.

    Wishing you happiness in your new home and may its sacred energies continue to heal your body and spirit.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Really glad to hear you are so much better. Regarding accepting blessings and prayers from patriarchal sources – I accept when I discern the sincerity behind it. All will be well!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Such a beautiful, moving post! Love!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brava! Yes, a healing, renewing, and refreshing practice can only be good, and (as usual) you were careful to sprinkle and bless everything you could think of that needed to be sprinkled and blessed, including your own body, with the holy water your friend brought you.

    When I move into a new home, I invite friends to help me bless it. I open every door and drawer inside and then my friends and I parade through the apartment with healing herbs and blow some smoke into every door and drawer. Also, of course, the front door.

    Thanks for telling us about your ritual and that you accept blessings from all sources. It’s wonderful that you’re regaining your health. Bright blessings from Southern California all the way to the eastern Mediterranean!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. What an inspiring post! Lots of cleansing and healing thoughts coming your way always. Water is such a universal way to bring forth new life and renewal! Thank you for sharing this lovely and meaningful ritual with us.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Thank you so much for your essay. Your house-and-self cleanup — as others have pointed out — is so inspiring. After the pandemic, my house and my being will really require something similar. In fact, even though the pandemic continues, now that I’m immunized, it’s time to let go of the stale anxieties and loneliness of the past year. I appreciate the reminder.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. May the blessings continue Carol as you are restored to full energetic health.


  9. Thank you for the reminder about frankincense and myrtle. I love that you watered body with holy water. As a survivor of religious domestic abuse, I still struggle with male references when my concept of Holy Spirit Mother is so much more life-giving. As she nurtures everyone, I must make a door for that as well in my wall. I am pleased you recovered and have thoughtful friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. May your cleansing ritual be the beginning of your return to full health. Blessings, Nancy


  11. Such a moving story… I could imagine myself walking around your beautiful home quietly following your friend and you at such an auspicious time. The spring equinox is the water festival of the year from my point of view – a time to give thanks for the rising waters, the healing rains – I can’t imagine a better time to gather for the blessing of your house – I still love a lot of the Christian chants as long as they are not spoken in English – the language still distresses me – (wish it didn’t) and pulls me out of the music. I like it that you have moved beyond…When I speak of Nature I frequently use S/he because it feels more inclusive and I like that sense. We need both female and male energies to heal, I believe. Oh Carol I send you my blessings for your continued healing too….


  12. Oh by the way – I loved the images – the deep cobalt blue and green – the colors of the rising waters for me – and then a field of the most beautiful poppies….


  13. I am happy for you, Carol!

    When I was in a deep, dark place, whenever anyone offered to pray for me, even born-again Christians, I accepted their offers, because I felt that it didn’t matter what the ‘surface” belief was, they were asking That Which is Greater Than Us for healing and blessing, and I felt blessed that anyone would do that.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. What a wonderful cleansing ritual you and your friend did! I’m so glad you are on the road to recovery. Blessings from Maine!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Many blessings to you in your new home!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’m so glad you felt blessed by the love of your friends. I had a similar feeling when my dad was dying three years ago… these evangelical people praying and comforting me…. i somehow didn’t have the same wall of woundedness anymore, and i was able to receive their beautiful intentions without pain. a relief to be able to receive blessings from sources that used to be closed off behind my wounds. bless your healing, carol, and bless your home.

    Liked by 1 person

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