How to Do a House Blessing
29 SEP 2017
A house blessing may be invoked to bring good fortune into a new or existing home and to secure the safety, health and happiness of everyone who lives there. Most religions have a formal or informal blessing ceremony that may be performed by a priest, monk, deacon, rabbi or other representative of the faith, or by one of the inhabitants of the house. Follow the practices of your faith or traditional clearing rituals to bless your home.
1 Christian Prayers
Priests, ministers or deacons are invited to perform a house blessing for a Christian home. Most ceremonies include a recitation of scripture, call-and-response prayers involving the participants, the lighting of candles and sprinkling of holy water, and a specific prayer naming the residents of the house and asking God to look favorably upon them. The blessing may include incense, the sign of the cross, the naming of personal intentions for the house and its inhabitants, and the singing of hymns to celebrate the occasion and send prayers to heaven.
2 Blessings and Mezuzahs
A blessing called the "shehecheyanu" is performed when those of the Jewish faith move into a new home. The prayer is recited as a new fruit is eaten, signifying the joyful abundance of a new venture or season. Jews also place a mezuzah, a small cylinder containing a parchment on which a prayer of protection is inscribed, on the exterior door frame of the main entrance to the home, and a traditional prayer is recited as the mezuzah is fixed in place.
3 Theravada and Mahayana
Different schools of Buddhism observe varying traditions for blessing a home or a new house. The more conservative Theravada school of southeast Asia performs a house blessing with nine monks who chant in Pali, light candles over spring water in a bronze pot -- the drops of wax falling into the water signify that disease, misfortune and grief are washed away -- connect their prayers with a sacred white thread and share a meal of alms donated by the guests. Before leaving, one monk writes sacred symbols over the door in white paste. The Mahayana school of Tibet and India has a house blessing that includes the gathering of a sangha or prayer community, blessings and readings of the Buddha's teachings by monks, a shrine with an image of the Buddha and offerings, and the connection of a thin white thread from the shrine to the participants, who each hold the thread as they chant. The ceremony concludes with the sprinkling of holy water.
4 Hindu Housewarming
Vasthu Sastra, the Hindu version of feng shui, calls for prayers to purify negative energy in a space. The Hindu new home blessing invokes Lord Ganesh, remover of obstacles and dispenser of good fortune, and the Goddess Lakshmi, bestower of wealth. A coconut is broken by the celebrant to start the puja, or prayer service. Incense in a sacred fire of aromatic spices and woods is waved over the altar and around the space. Specific rituals may vary but may include the marking of a pumpkin with a red powder called kumkum and the splitting of the pumpkin into eight sections, one to face each of the eight directions.
5 Muslim Moving-in Ritual
The Muslim blessing for a new house can be invoked by those who live there by reading the Qur'an and greeting and praying to Allah. In Islam, sharing food is an act of charity that brings blessings and peace, so a feast for family, friends and neighbors ensures that all will have the strength and sustenance to perform obligatory worship of God. A complete recital of the Qur'an presents an opportunity to ask for a special blessing.
6 Space Clearing and Consecration
Space clearing is a non-denominational ritual that combines elements of feng shui, space blessings from traditional cultures, and pagan respect for nature. A practitioner is engaged to walk through a cleaned and clutter-cleared house, ringing a bell and clapping to disperse stuck energy, especially in corners. Participants bathe, remove all jewelry and work barefoot, without conversation or music. A small altar with meaningful and sacred objects, crystals, candles and incense, fresh flowers and objects from nature anchors the intention to purify the space. The space clearer sprinkles a line of sea salt over every threshold in the building as she progresses from room to room. Lit candles and flowers may be included in every room, as long as they are safely anchored and protected from children and pets.