Occupying Myself in the Polar Vortex


I am including this screenshot entirely for the purpose of annoying Mario.

We in the American Midwest had ourselves a polar vortex last week, and it got cold enough here in Indiana for my local school systems to have a 2-hour delay on Tuesday and completely cancel on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. As a teacher, this meant that I finally had time to devote to all the random projects that never get done around the house…and part of that for me was refreshing my ritual room.

Long story short, Marie Kondo would be very proud of me.

I don’t really have much in the way of good “before” pictures as my ritual room is actually smaller than some walk-in closets I had been blessed with in my pre-2008 days, which makes it hard to photograph. (You don’t want to even think of the contortions I had to pull to snap these.) But all that I had in there were a couple book cases and a big, circular table plunked right in the center. I did throw up some Ikea Hoppvals blinds on the window when I first moved in and slung a bee prayer flag that I’d gotten from Alley Valkyrie over them, but that was about it.

Doing ritual in the space was really nice at first, and I loved it so much for a long while. I’d never had a full ritual room before, and not having to move all the furniture before ritual meant I did a lot more ritual. But after a few months, I realized that my room was still a bit too small to have a central altar. I really had to be careful of my movement in the space, lest I bump into candlesticks or crash into pottery.


The after with my re-habbed dresser altar, loads of my favorite art, and a ubiquitous fiddle-leaf fig. It’s covering up the access panel to my bathroom plumbing. Please ignore the crumbling plaster under the window…it’s on my landlord’s (long) to-do list.

So I fixed up a trashed dresser, stuck it in the middle of a wall and deemed it my new altar. I loved the space and extra storage it gave me, but when I stepped back and looked at it, I thought it made my art look like it was hung too low. Instead of messing with re-hanging pictures, I added to the collection by digging the rest of my tiles I got from Barbarian Studios in Eugene, Oregon out of storage and popping them above the pictures. If you look closely, you’ll see the tiles represent the Sabbats. There’s a Brigid’s cross for Candlemas, a version of the Lover’s tarot card for Beltane, a winter/spring/summer/autumn tree tile to represent the equinoxes and solstices, a wreath of grain for Lammas, and a skull for Samhain. This is the first I’ve been able to display that whole collection, and I love it!

I’m not really a plant person, but I’ve got a huge plumbing access panel right next to that dresser, and for some inexplicable reason, my landlord thought that it would look amazing painted white. (It does not.) The panel is almost the same height as the white dresser, and it looked a bit weird. The fiddle-leaf fig does a great job of disguising the panel, and it is so on trend. By that point, I figured I might as well go full millennial cliché and set up a salt lamp under that chair and spread a honeycomb jute rug on the floor.

I really love the set up and it makes me smile every time I go in the room. It is also wonderful to have all the floor space to move around in! Ritual is so much more fun, and I’ve even started to do some yoga in that room now rather than in my spidery basement…which is not a bad change at all.


I actually made my bookshelves look nice! I’m not convinced I’ve landed on the right candlestick storage solution. I use the black ones on my floor in ritual to mark the quarters, but I have to admit that sticking them next to that gold frog makes it look like I worship Kermit.

The decorating is nice, but the real Marie Kondo love would come with all the decluttering work I put into my bookshelves and closet in the room. Over the course of the last five moves, I have drastically reduced the number of books I own. I maybe have about a quarter of my original collection, so I didn’t think I would have much more that I would want to purge. Hah! I definitely filled up a whole box with volumes that no longer sparked joy for me. And I thanked an entire shelf’s worth of binders and notes from teacher grad school for their service and released them to a recycling bin…because, to be honest, I didn’t even reference them when I was taking the classes. The shelves also tended to accumulate the random bric-a-brac that kids and acquaintances gave me…and it was so freeing to eliminate all of those items and keep only the things that really meant something to me.

For those of you squinting away trying to see my witchy library…good luck. Those books are behind the cabinet doors. And funnily enough, I didn’t find much there that didn’t spark joy. Imagine that.

Marie would utterly lose her mind, though, if she saw the before and after of my closet. I didn’t even think to take a picture of the before, and I don’t see the point in posting the after of the closet…but the entire thing was completely full of occult paraphernalia that I had been saving “just in case”. Some of that had been following me around the country since high school! I even found a tin of incense that I had purchased from a Karma Records while standing in line to buy tickets for an Alanis Morissette concert I went to in middle school. I’m pretty sure that incense was old enough to legally drink in the US…which is all kinds of scary. Well, with the exception of statuary storage and yoga supplies, that closet is now empty. Utterly mindblowing.

Apparently the secret to organizing success is to be snowed in for three days.


5 thoughts on “Occupying Myself in the Polar Vortex

  1. Wow, thanks for showing your room! You’ve done a great job in setting it up in such a cozy way. And I had to laugh so hard about worshipping Kermit, haha!

    Having a dedicated ritual room really sounds awesome. I currently perform my rituals in my home office room. I’m actually okay with it since I can close its door to keep the dog and the cat out, the wand is decorated with a tree wallpaper and so on. It’s just pretty small. So whenever I have to light candles at all four compass points of the circle, I get a bit nervous because of those behind me… DON’T MOVE BACKWARDS! 😀

    Hope it’s getting warmer again…

    Black Wolf

    • Your office/ritual room sound lovely. I do enjoy a good wallpaper! I have also been in plenty of spaces where moving backwards hasn’t been advisable…and I’ve been in huge rooms that are so crowded, butts have been singed. So I guess space is relative.

      It is getting warmer, thank goodness. The day after Candlemas, the high was +65F, which was equally terrifying.

  2. It looks amazing and I am now jealous on two fronts – for one, you have a ritual room, and for two, it’s tidy -and- organised. I’m hoping to have done that for my whole flat by the end of the year, but the amount of work I have to do is very daunting. So unless we get snow like last year I think I’m going to have to devote as much annual leave as I can to this. I’m glad it’s gotten warmer for you though.

    • I’m glad it’s warmer, too. And don’t be jealous! It is more than a little probable that I will have to turn the space into a “guest room” soon. My younger brother is looking to move to the area…which means he’ll probably be a roommate for a few months while he gets his life together.

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