The air in your house feels stagnant, so you open a window, right?
The fresh air purifies and you feel cleansed.
But what happens when you need something deeper? What happens when the air you breathe needs such a major shift that you can’t seem to escape the density?
That’s how I was feeling the first time I turned to burning sage (aka smudging).
At the time, one problem after another was surfacing at our condo – someone hit the building with a car at 5 a.m., another person was shot at the stop sign outside our kitchen window on Easter Sunday, the chimney was malaligned and instead of going up and out, the smoke was billowing down and into our house.
The straw that broke was the neighbor’s washing machine. It got stuck on fill on Mother’s Day and gallons of water poured into our unit while Stephen and I were at lunch and the girls were at home with the babysitter.
This was during a six-month period of time.
I was at my wit’s end and wondering, is this our version of a Money Pit? Check out this scene from the movie. Admittedly, ours wasn’t as bad, but with two babies underfoot, it sure felt like it.
I was ready to sell, but liking our neighborhood and knowing that moving’s a pain in the bootay, I decided to try another direction. I met with an energy healer at the Ruby Room in Wicker Park. I hoped she would have a healing solution of how to ground our house, or perhaps guide me that, yes, now is the time to move.
She suggested that I smudge our house.
I had heard of smudging – as an ancient method of healing – but had never smudged before. I was game, so I had her walk me through how to burn sage in my home.
And it worked. The energy shifted and our house felt different – more uplifted. This lasted for y.e.a.r.s.
A couple of times since that first smudge session, our house needed a boost of positive energy – another water issue and a break in – and I turned to the sage bundle to help.
Recently, I sought out the sage again.
This summer, our family moved from Logan Square in the city of Chicago to a north shore suburb of Milwaukee.
Before, during, and after the move, we experienced a wide range of emotions – stress, anxiety, excitement, exhaustion, and confusion. The city of Chicago to the suburbs of Milwaukee was going to be a major lifestyle change for our family. Not better, not worse, just 180. We welcomed the change, but we were uncertain about leaving the life we knew. Our life of 18 + years.
For me, this signaled a sage session. A move is a natural time to smudge your home. It’s a chance to flush out any residual negative energies that cling to the space to make room for the positive, for change, for new experiences.
Frankly, our new house had good vibes, but we still wanted to clear any lasting juju from the previous owners. I felt like the sage would aide us in transitioning into the new home, new life.
I think it did.
Here’s a shot of our living room from the second floor walkway.
Here’s a glimpse of my new work spot – also overlooking the first floor.
Before you begin to burn, set the intention for your space. It can be the wishes for your new home, but smudging isn’t just for a new space. Maybe your space needs revitalization or rejuvenation to release stagnant energy. You can burn it whenever you need to refresh – say after an argument or negative experience.
I like to keep the incantation simple and clear as to meaningfully direct the energy. If you live with a significant other, ideally, you would set the intention and burn the sage together when cleansing a space or home (or maybe even the whole fam?!)
Here’s what I do when I burn sage.
- I open a window (or several) to let out any unwanted energy.
- Then I grab a bunch of sage and place it in a bowl or on a small plate.
- I light the sticks with a wooden match and let the sage smolder. The flame is minimal. I blow on the ends to help release the smoke.
- The healer at the Ruby Room directed me to walk from room to room and speak the intention. These are the directions I use when I smudge. As the sage smolders, I lift the bowl or plate to direct the smoke to all corners and across the doorways. I repeat the intention out loud as I smudge. You could clear the whole house or pick and choose where you smudge. I also like this perspective of smudging in seven directions.
- Once I clear the space, I allow the sage bundle burn out.
I bought our current bunch of sage at Outpost. It’s a natural foods store in the Milwaukee-area called . I checked and there’s your pick of white sage sticks on Amazon. And although I’m not 100 percent, I’m near certain that you could get sage sticks at your local Whole Foods.
Word to the wise: It smells a like weed. Be prepared for a cocked head if you pull it out when you’ve got company.
If you’re not a fan of the smoke or can’t have it milling around your school or office because people will think you’re well, smoking weed, spray is an alternative. Here’s a link to the sage smudge mist I’ve tried.
Of course our house can get charged with unbridled, wiry energy at times. My hope is to draw it back to serenity as I wish for our home to be a safe haven, a calm spot for our family to live and grow.
Below is the imagine in my mind when I burn sage, but also when I feel out of sorts. It’s Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur at sunset.
The scenery at this beach is impressive and the lavender sand and giant rocks brought me such peace of mind on that day, and still does. I hold this special spot dear to me. When I need serenity now!, this is what I conjure.
My husband and I brought a few Lagunitas IPAs and watched as the sun sank below the horizon. It was pure bliss.