Updated: May 17, 2021
We are heavily influenced physically, mentally and energetically by what is around us.
For this reason it is so important to create an environment that will best support you.
One way that this can be achieved is by cleansing your space with intention.
The practice of cleansing and removing stagnant or negative energy from people and their habitats has been used by various cultures for centuries. This cleansing of your environs can be done a number of ways and for multiple reasons. You can use bells, chants or other sounds, clapping, fans, moving objects etc. You can do it before you meditate, before an important meeting, or hosting guests, during/after an illness, or after you have an argument with a family member.
I am going to focus on the practice of smudging.
Everything that happens within the four walls of your home, positive or negative, sticks to it, the objects inside it and, also to you. When you leave your space you take that sticky energy (and the resulting attitude) with you into the world.
If you overslept for work and didn’t have time for your coffee, then you stub your toe on the way out the door only to realize when you get to the car that you don't have your keys, what is the energy you are putting out at that moment ? I hate to admit it, but I for one would be grumpy and probably frowning, shoulders hunched and likely to carry that with me as I go about my day. The negative ripple effect of that occurs when I am not at my best when interacting with others.
Have you ever heard someone say “You could cut the tension in the air with a knife” how about “Something really felt off about that place” ? Or maybe there was an argument before you stepped into the room and the animosity in the air is palpable. Good time for a space cleanse!
A space clearing can be done if the inhabitants feel there is unwelcome energy in the space or when moving into the new home to remove predecessor energy. This process is a little bit different and not going to be addressed here.
A space cleanse is usually done as a matter of routine to balance and create harmony for the space and those in it. A space cleanse doesn’t have to be related to something negative. It can be done anytime you want to revitalize the area and make way for fresh, higher energetic vibrations.
So how do you do it ?
Using the smoke from kindling herb and wood bundles, known as smudging, is one of my favorite ways to honor, cleanse, activate or revitalize the energy in my home and the people in it. The smoke helps to purify, burns up toxic energy and acts to create balance.
What do you use ?
I use different herbs & woods to achieve different results. Here are just a few you might try;
Sage - Instills peace and tranquility and vanquishes negativity and unwanted energy
Cedar - For purification, renewal, protection and grounding
Palo Santo - Best for small spaces. Refreshes, clears the negative and brings the good
Lavender - For restful sleep and calm
Eucalyptus - Invigorates , promotes wellness
Rosemary- For mental clarity and purifying
Rose - For love, grief and healing
I try to have my home or office clean and sanitized before I begin my smudging ritual. If it is important for you to do the cleanse and the timing of housework is off, feel it out. If it is necessary, just get the cleanse done. I first open all the exterior doors and windows. As I go around the house opening everything up I say “Disperse, Dismiss, Dispel”. This is an important step !! I know weather can be difficult. I live in an area with beautiful weather for most of the year but extreme heat during the summer season. So, I would do this early in the morning or later at night during the heat of summer. I crack the windows and doors slightly and I don’t do it when the A/C has cycled on, etc. You get it, just work around the weather in your area as best you can.
Depending on the result I want I use a combination of the herbs/woods above.
I tie my bundle of herbs and wood together with some kitchen twine using a ladder style wrap. If they are fresh herbs, tie them tightly because they shrink when they dry. Previously dried herbs are delicate so be more gentle in that case. I prefer to tie the fresh herbs and flowers and allow them to dry, but fresh herbs are not always accessible. There are so many places you can purchase the smudge sticks already formed. Try and be sure the wood is sourced properly and fairtrade. This is a subject that can and should be researched. I have a favorite store in the Market that I buy the wood and bundles at when I am in Seattle for work. But, making them is fun and I think it's a nice personal part of the entire process.
Prayer, Blessing, Intention & Gratitude
I like to set an intention before I start. This should be specific - “I am clearing this space of negative energy and creating peace so I may live to my highest good - And so it is”.
Or, you can ask for a blessing or say a prayer of your choosing. “ God I am grateful for your everlasting love and mercy. Please bless and protect all that reside here. In the Lord's name I pray, Amen”
Ending a prayer or intention with the words “Amen” ,“So it is” or “So it will be” , invokes the power of your intention and brings the connection to existence.
I use matches to light the herbs, if using palo santo or other wood, hold the flame on the bundle for several seconds and then blow it out. This should create a smoldering, resin filled smoke plume. Holding an abalone shell (or other fireproof vessel) beneath the burning herbs to catch any ash or embers (be careful, it might get hot!).
Holding your burning smudge stick and shell, take a breath and look around the first room. Stagnant and negative energy is usually visible in your mind's eye , appearing hazy or dark. Or you might feel it in a certain place. To begin the space cleanse, center yourself and concentrate until you are aware of the stagnant or negative ch'i then allow yourself to go to it. (If this doesn’t come naturally at first, just select a starting point at the edge of the room. Keep trying and you will have that ah-ha moment! ) Begin in a clockwise direction to lift your smudge stick high and move it in small gentle circles, away from your body. Move along the edge of the room, in a clockwise direction allowing the smoke to fan into the corners as you repeat your mantra, intention, or prayer over and over again. Now do this room by room, relighting your herbs as needed, until you have covered every room, nook and cranny of your house. Don't forget to do the closets or any corners or areas out of sight.
When you are done, close the windows and breathe in the harmony of your newly cleansed space.