Doors, Widows, Keys and Lore
Scott Cunningham’s Magical Household
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The door has long captured the imagination of poets, mystics and magicians. It is symbolic, often appearing in dreams and nightmares. What lies behind the door? What strange creatures, fabulous wonderlands, hidden dangers?
While more pedestrian, windows have their magical properties and lore as well. If they are the eyes of a home, the door is its mouth. Both possess special powers, and both are generally blessed to prevent the entrance of unfriendly energies into the home.
A door isn’t much - a flat piece of wood, two knobs and three hinges, some hardware. But doors are entrances into other dimensions. In form, they echo the trilithons of Stonehenge and other European megalithic structures: two upright stones with a third resting on top, creating a threshold of power.
Doors are entrances to buildings as well as exits from them; therefore they are often seen as gateways to other worlds. They also serve as protective devices that bar the dangerous from entering. Because of this, the door and all its parts (lintel, posts, threshold, keys) have assumed magical, almost sacral qualities.
Many of the rites associated with doors are protective in nature. Hanging a gourd on both sides of the outside of a door will ward off unwanted negativity, as will a piece of bamboo or a wreath of leaves and thorns placed over it. A circle chalked on the door bars ghosts from entering; garlic or dill suspended over the front door repels those who are ill disposed or envious of you from gaining entrance; and a bag of salt or bells hung from the knob will set demons to flight.
Other spells favored to guard the home from the entrance evil include: placing two crossed needles under the doormat; painting the door blue, a sacral color; sprinkling mustard seeds or ground dragon's blood on the doorsill; and hammering three nails in the shape of a triangle (one point up) on the outside of the front door.
Specific herbs are grown on the porch to further protect the home. Ferns, lilies, marigolds and juniper are grown there in pots. An old sock filled with salt, sage, mullein, tansy and any other protective herbs can be buried beneath the front porch to keep ghosts from the home. A box of holed stones or a knife beneath the porch are similarly potent magical protectants.
The door also functions as an ideal place for inviting certain energies or attributes into your home. Five shiny pennies placed beneath the porch will bring the household money and love, for instance, and a bit of food buried there ensures that you won’t know hunger.
If you wish to see a ghost, the doorway is an ideal place to practice, according to ancient tradition. At dusk or midnight, stand at any door in the dark, looking into another room. With the door half opened, lay your cheek against it and peer just past its edge. If you persevere, you may see spirits and strange shapes. Why? Because the door is an entrance to other worlds.
If you wish to be rid of ghosts, they can be exorcised simply by slamming the door several times in succession. The ghosts get caught between the door and the frame and will soon have enough of the torture and leave. If you enjoy ghosts however, don’t slam doors!
If you’re the type that never closes a door, you may want to start doing so. Legend says that he or she who never shuts a door will never own a house. This is probably connected with the idea that if a house’s doors are left open, power “leaks out.”
Keys can be carried or used for specific purposes. A gold key guards against the evil eye; three keys on a chain will bring health, wealth and love; a key slipped down the back is said to relieve a headache or halt a nose bleed; and any key carried will bring luck, so long as it doesn’t fit any lock you possess.
A key placed in a cradle will “lock” the baby home so that it can’t be stolen by fairies (though this isn’t much of a problem today.) A door key placed upside down near the bed will banish nightmares and ensure a peaceful sleep, while small keys can be placed near a pet’s home to safeguard it. Wearing a key will promote fertility and conception, and if you wish to discover a secret, wear a key.
Windows are simply doors without keys. The earliest windows were stilts in the walls designed to let fresh air into the home and to vent smoke. Wind whistled through them, and firelight from within the house was visible in them. Not surprisingly, window means “wind’s eye.”
Like doors, windows were viewed with magical awe and were protected. Pentagrams were (and still are) carved or chalked into windows; hanging a thick white curtain blocks Sun and negativity; small white pebbles, fragments of glass and seashells are placed on the sill, as is a large red tomato; and a ball of green glass is suspended before the window to drive away evil influences.
Washing your windows with ammonia or vinegar not only cleans them but also invites the powers of the wind to bless your home.
Stained-glass windows are magically effective in driving away evil, for the intricate designs and various colors of glass set up cleansing vibrations. The patterns of these windows should be chosen with care so that they blend with the rest of the home. When sunlight shines fully through stained glass, casting beams of color-charged light into the room and forming brilliantly hued pools on the floor, magic is indeed at work!
A similar practice consists of hanging leaded crystal points of faceted spheres in the windows so that the sunlight is broken into hundreds of tiny rainbows.
Round windows, a favorite of house designers in Hawaii and the Far East, are considered to be protective to the home. They are known as “moon windows.”
If you move into a new home, try working this spell (which is also effective when you are sleeping in any room for the first time): Before falling asleep, count the panes of glass in the room’s windows. Then strongly visualize a wish and doze off.
And finally, if you luck has been rotten and you want to change it, scatter salt on your window sills and then take further steps to improve your luck.