Smudging My Life Away, part III

Some final (?) thoughts on bringing a smudging practice into your daily routine and life events. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little mini series! I certainly enjoyed sharing some of my practices with you. 

Control Allergens

In our current world, with Covid-19 running rampant through all corners of our existence, the use of sage to purify your surroundings can add some calm to your home and heart. Though don’t stop the practice when someday Covid-19 is no longer a top subject of the day. We smudge ourselves and all purchases when we come home from any outing. But there are a few other benefits to smudging to manage allergens as well.

Do you suffer from allergies? My husband has horrific spring allergies. He has to ‘gear up’ his body about a month before allergy season, and it’s always a guess on the timing. He starts taking allergy medication as soon as the ground defrosts (we live somewhere with all four seasons), but the smudging daily adds a huge level of protection as well. This is because burning sage can help release negative ions and neutralize positive ions. 

Positive ions are allergens like pet dander, pollution, dust, and mold. Burning sage can help control the levels of these allergens around you and in turn help manage your allergic reactions to them. The spring months are when we go through the most sage in our house, for sure. 

While the fact that smudging can help rid our environment of allergens should be enough to bring the practice into all of our homes, there is so much more that it can do for you!

Deeper Meditations

Even the most peaceful of us can find negative energy in our home and heart at times. Sometimes it comes from conflicts we carry or energy a visitor left behind. Some negative energy is difficult to discover and some is easily recognizable. But the simple practice of smudging can help us release it and find focus to move intentionally through the negative energy and discover it’s lesson. 

Whatever the level of negative energy you are wanting to dispel, smudging with sage can provide the energy shift you are seeking. Doing a deep smudging experience prior to an intentional meditation practice to clear your mind of excessive chatter, can help you find calm quicker. The act of performing a smudging ritual, as well as sages’ aromatic changes to your space, can calm and quiet our spirits when our minds are loud. 

Secondhand Success

I love to buy second-hand; antique shops, estate sales, garage sales, facebook marketplace. I love finding that piece of furniture or lamp that has exactly the right character I can’t find at the cookie cutter stores. I also love hand-me-down clothing from my sister and stylish friends. But buyer beware! Second-hand items come with second-hand energy. Smudging can clear out the old and bring in the new. 

Note: your biggest and most second-hand energy heavy item is likely your home – even if you built new (no matter where you are ‘building new’, someone or some animal, at some time, lived on that piece of earth). Smudging your home and property can open the windows for old energies to leave and open the doors for new energies to arrive. Especially if you are renting, this is an important step to complete prior to move in. 

You can use the smoke from sage to clean impurities off items and prepare that item to redirect it’s energetic connection to you, it’s new caretaker.

  • Grab a bundle and light one end
  • As the smoke emerges, wave the bundle around the item you’re clearing 
    • Smudging that secondhand chair or dresser is pretty easy and straightforward
    • Smudging your new home is a many layered complex task (do not attempt alone, bring in professional guidance)
  • As the sage smoke engulfs the item you are smudging, chant a prayer to release the old energies it knows (“I release the past from you”)
  • Work your way around the entire item with the smoke from the sage 
    • You can use a hand fan to help move the smoke where you need it 
  • Once the smoke from the sage clears, light one end of a braid of sweetgrass
  • Follow the same steps to work the sweetgrass smoke around the item, this time chant a prayer to welcome in new energy (“I welcome the future”) *note: Sweetgrass burns out quickly, keep your lighter at the ready to relight as needed. 

Keeping Bugs at Bay

Burning sage when entertaining on the back deck or while out in the wilderness camping is a must for me. The scent of sage helps keeps flies and mosquitoes away, which makes the entire outdoor experience that much nicer in my view, and no pesticides are needed! 

For keeping the bugs away from you and your friends you will want a continual, or close to continual burn while you are outside. This is particularly well suited to bundled sage. Light one end of a bundle to where it’s going good and strong, then lay it in the abalone shell to burn as you socialize. If your bundle is still burning at the end of the night, you can use it to smudge yourself and your space before tapping it out.

When you are out camping, of course, be mindful of the local burn laws and regulations. If permitted to have a fire, you can use loose leaf sage and occasionally toss a small handful onto the campfire throughout the evening. As the night wraps up, you can toss on a final handful while cleaning up, then fan some of the final campfire smoke around yourself before sleep.

I use sage daily for cleansing and purifying. Some days it’s only to clear my mind of the story I watch on whatever movie or tv show we are watching these days. Other days I need to calm my anxieties as a friend or loved one has moved on. Every time, for every reason, smudging has never failed me.

I hope you find it to be your go-to energy changer as well! 

Namaste.

Smudging My Life Away, part II

I’ve heard from a few folks about what might be reasons for smudging their living spaces, as well as wanting some detailed instructions to do so. So here are the biggest inquiries I had and how to use smudging for a deeper change to the energy in which you are living.

When a child grows from toddler to teen, their room needs to be reinvented with them as they develop into this new stage of themselves. And again from teen to young adult. Heck, do this again if an adult child finds their way back home for a while also. Or if you happen to take on caring for a parent or other loved one and they move in with you. Even if you are just taking on a new roommate, this is a great process to welcome their energy to grow and expand while in your home. (this is the most impactful when performed in an emptied room)

  • Open every window in the room.
  • At the door (with door closed), standing outside and facing in, light a bundle of sage.
  • With the door remaining closed, work your sage smoke from the lower right corner of the door, up the right side, across the top to the left and down the left side. Moving in a counterclockwise direction unwinds things, in this case removes the old energies from this doorway.
  • Open the door and waft in some smoke before you enter. Then intentionally step into the room taking in a deep breath and accepting the power to bring change to this space. 
  • Work your way through the room in a counterclockwise direction. Hitting all the corners of the room, at the floor and the ceiling. 
  • Allow the smoke from the bundle to bellow out against each wall, out through every window, into the closet spaces, and across the ceiling.
  • All the while chant some intentions for these actions. 
    • suggestion for child’s room: Goodbye to the child you have been, we close this chapter, we clear for the new.
    • suggestion for most other new occupants: Thank this room for what you have provided to our home, we are preparing for a new use to your space. 
  • As you complete the counterclockwise walk, smudge the door frame from the inside, moving from the lower left corner as you did upon entering, then exit the room.
  • Close the door after exiting.
  • Allow the room to clear of smoke completely, however long that takes. You can peek in the room every 30mins to see if the room is clear.
  • Then perform all the steps again, though in a clockwise direction now. Moving in a clockwise direction is moving energy forward, it’s stirring things up to get them creating something new. 
  • With the door closed start bellowing out your sage at the lower left corner of the door, working your way up the left side and across the top to the right, then down the right side.
  • Open the door and waft in some smoke before your enter. Now intentionally enter the room, taking in a deep breath and once again accepting the power to bring change to this space.
  • Work your way through the room, now in a clockwise direction. Hitting all the corners of the room, at the floor and the ceiling. 
  • You again will allow the smoke to bellow against each wall, out through the windows, into the closet spaces, and across the ceiling.
  • Chant again for these actions you are taking and why.
    • Suggestion for a child’s room: Chant about your hopes for this young person. You will now be inviting in the future of this young soul, the discovery of who they will be, and the wonders they shall discover in this space. 
    • Suggestion for a new occupant of almost any other kind: Chant about this new occupant finding peace and prosperity while sharing this home with you. Invite the energy to help the occupant heal from old wounds and brave forward to a new path. Whatever is suitable for the situation, each one is so uniquely personal. 
  • As you complete the clockwise walk, smudge the doorframe from the lower left corner to the lower right corner and exit the room.
    • Leave the door open! When you are wanting to invite in new energy, leave the door open for it! 
  • Let the room clear of smoke again and then proceed to move in and redecorate as desired. Absolutely allow the occupant of the room to voice opinions and participate in the move in process. 

Before or after any social event! Dinner party, game night, birthday parties, holiday parties, etc….they all bring friends and loved ones through your home, who all carry in their own energy, good or challenging as it may be. Here is what I like to do before and after those gatherings. 

  • About an hour before your guests arrive, smudge your home. Your house can be set up and ready, but you want to do this before the first guest arrives. 
    • Grab your abalone shell, lighter and sage bundle.
    • Start outside your home with the front door open, holding your supplies. 
    • Light your sage and smudge the exterior of your doorway in a clockwise direction. Waft in some smoke as if you were ushering in a welcome guest.
    • Step through the door into the home and walk in a clockwise direction through every room where you expect guests will be (don’t forget the bathrooms!).
    • Repeat words of joy and togetherness, a wish for the event, or something along those lines as you work through the house.
    • Make a full rotation through the house so you end back at the front door.
    • Say a final prayer for the gathering and find an intentional spot near the front door for the abalone shell and sage to rest, preferably outside, until the end of the event.
  • After the last guest leaves, no matter how late it is or tired you are, take the time to smudge and clear the house again. You can do this before you cleanup from the event, but if you do, I suggest doing it again after you’ve cleaned everything up and reset your house back to itself. If it’s late and you decide to clean up the next day, at least do a quick smudge through the house before you go to bed, then smudge again after you have cleaned up and reset your home the next day.
    • Pick up the abalone shell from where you left it before the party began, standing inside the house, at the front door, light your sage and get the smoke bellowing. 
    • Smudge yourself, then begin walking in a counterclockwise direction through all areas of the house where guests have been (don’t forget the bathrooms!). 
    • Repeat some words to release the energies your guests brought, thank your guests for their visit, wish your guests light and love in whatever comes next for them.
    • Make a full rotation through the home so you once again end up back at the front door.
    • Open the door, say a final prayer of gratitude for all these beautiful friends you spent time with, and let the smoke bellow out the door taking those prayers to the heavens. 

Some other ideas for smudging as energy changes. 

  • When you buy or sell a home! Though both the buying or selling of a home is one clearing I strongly suggest you use a professional for, you can DIY. Of course, for a truly meaningful smudging, it’s a bit more involved than anything I’ve shared yet, so maybe this will be it’s own blog post!
  • To welcome a new family member! Whether you are birthing a child, adopting a child, adopting a pet, getting married, etc. when a new person or animal joins your life, you can welcome them with smudging and intentional words of prayer. 
  • It’s also very calming to use during end of life, helping a departing soul move gracefully to the next realm. While it’s always painful for those of us left behind, it can be scary and uncomfortable for those leaving as well. The scent of white sage alone calms the deepest parts of our ancestral soul. 
  • When you start a new job or start a new relationship. And of course, when you lose a job or end a relationship. 
  • When you sell a car or buy a new one (especially if it’s a second hand vehicle)!
  • When you remodel or redecorate a room. 
  • When you start your garden each year and when you close the garden for the season. Or before and after you do any landscaping work in your yard!
  • You can smudge your mail or gifts before you open them.
  • I smudge my cat after he has been in a fight! 

There is always a reason to clear the air and start anew. What will you smudge today?

Namaste!

Smudging My Life Away

I love to smudge. It is my go-to ritual when I’m feeling blessed or stressed. As I began to write this, I found that I had so much to say about smudging, that I had to make this a multi-part series! 

This will be a little mini-series on the joys of smudging, and I hope you enjoy it!

White sage is the most highly used spiritual medicine in our house. We smudge ourselves, our cats, and our home spaces on a daily basis. We use it so much we buy it loose in 5lbs bags! We have often been gifted it in bundles from friends (we have a sweat lodge in the backyard!), and as of this writing, there are three abalone shells with sage in them around the property. 

Smudging is a normal practice in our home and in our lives. 

Smudging (burning sage) is an ancient spiritual ritual established as a Native American cultural and tribal practice. Of course, many spiritual cultures around the world share similar rituals with the same or similar plants. Some call is cleansing, some call is clearing, some call it smudging. All would agree that the practice of purifying with plants like sage or sweetgrass can improve the energy within which we live as well as the energy which we carry. Smudging can clear out our spiritual impurities, pathogens, and even insects from our environment!

I smudge daily, at least once. When I meditate, before/after consultations, before/after difficult conversations, when I’m gaming so the dice roll well, before and after cleaning the house…you get the idea. I smudge all the time because I love how it purifies my focus to the task at hand, the scent soothes me and it clears my surroundings with ease! The fragrance calms me and the practice centers me. What more could I ask for?

Some caution: If you suffer from asthma or bronchitis, be careful to not inhale the sage smoke directly while smudging. The sage smoke can aggravate respiratory conditions. Be sure to fan the smoke away from you while you are smudging and to let the room clear of smoke before using it again. Remember to open all the windows before you start too!

Tools of the Practice

You will need three items to complete a simple smudge ceremony; sage to burn, a heat-safe container, and a lighter. Well, some good intentions also, so I guess you need four things.

Purchasing sage in bundles is often the easiest to work with for purifying and clearings (something like this). You can find many smudge bundles mixed with so many other plants, don’t be afraid to experiment! I love sage with lavender, and we use sage with cedar in bundles too. For me, white sage or sweetgrass are my choice of plants for smudging. 

White prairie sage (Artemisia ludoviciana) is a staple in this house and as an added bonus it’s antimicrobial and antibacterial. White sage (Salvia apian) has antimicrobial properties as well. Both of these sage types have also been shown to repel insects and are a great addition to have burning during any outdoor gathering (once we can gather again). We buy ours in loose leaf (something like this) as we are often burning either a very small or large amount or using it in the fire for a sweat lodge ceremony. 

You will want an abalone shell or other ash-safe container to use with your sage (something like this or this). And a fan or feather to help move the smoke about the space, but it isn’t vital (something like this or this). I often forego the fan and just use my hand, so you can skip that tool if desired. You can also use just a card stock piece of paper, though I would write some intentions on that if you go that route. There are also a plethora of choices for starter kits (something like this). If you have a Native American Trading post near you, they will likely have all the supplies you need. 

Then all you need is a quality lighter and some well-focused intentional thoughts! 

Now what to do with these new supplies…clean and clear the air of just about anything you find undesirable, create a welcoming and relaxing environment for yourself and guests, manage allergens and pesky insects, say hello or goodbye to those we love, celebrate any event or life experience…the list goes on and on. Here are some ideas to start with. 

Our number one use for smudging is clearing the air

Arguments happen. In our house, I’m grateful to say, not too often. But they do happen. When tensions start to rise, if one of you can remain aware and bring in the sage to help calm nerves, you may be surprised by it’s power. But often that isn’t the case, and the tensions lead to arguing and potentially someone is feeling hurt. 

If you can’t calm your energies before they erupt, do try to use some sage to clear the air of the space where the argument happened after the fact. Without a quality smudging out of the tense and angry energy you and your argument companion created, it will present itself again, and again. A clearing is essential to opening a pathway to peace; between you two and anyone else that might come through that space.

note: It’s also wonderful after a tough zoom meeting, phone call, or even a scary movie!

The scent of sage is calming and soothing for most people, in an unconscious ancestral way. If there has been tension in your day, coming home and smudging can help release the stressful energy from your soul and bring a calmer state to your mind. 

  • Grab a bundle of sage and light one end
  • As the smoke emerges, work the smoke around your entire body, starting with the bottoms of your feet
    • Imagine you are sweeping away the energy of the uncomfortable experience
    • Work the smoke from the sole of your feet, up each leg, around your torso, around each arm and finish around your head and up towards the sky as if you were pulling all the tension from you and sending it away
  • Speak out loud or speak silently to yourself, the important factor is finding words to describe what you want this sage smoke to accomplish (calm my nerves, bring me strength, ease my stress or pain, open my mind, etc)
  • You can use a hand fan or even a heavyweight piece of paper
    • If you use a piece of paper, I suggest writing some words of love and peace on it before using it in a smudging ceremony
  • Once finished, lay your smudge bundle in your heat-safe container until it dies out

You can follow a similar smudging process to lock in wonderful energies also! A smudge can bless any moment in life. It can burn slowly in the background of a backyard party. It can awaken and enliven the energy when a new baby or animal is brought to the home. It can be a part of your pre-party setup when friends and family are coming for dinner. The options are endless.

We will talk about all these wonderful uses and more in the next post of this smudging mini-series!

Nameste!

Curating Good Feng Shui

How do you know if your home has good feng shui? What qualifies as good feng shui? How can you recognize it? How do you get it?

You can feel it

Homes with good energy are exceptionally easy to recognize. These are the homes you walk into and immediately feel at ease or comfortable. There is a sense of calm in the air, conversations sound happier, and the rooms look brighter. They are the homes that feel welcoming and comfortable, from the moment you step in the door, even if it’s your first time visiting this home. They may be active with children and/or pets, but there is also a stillness of belonging. You have trouble leaving these homes because you feel secure and protected. 

There isn’t any clutter in sight. The colors are all subtle and soothing, nothing too busy or conflicting. Nothing is too loud and overwhelming, yet there also isn’t complete silence and dullness. You can feel the home is balanced with a calm and simple nature as well as the movement of energy that the space is alive. A home with quality feng shui is cared for. It’s clean and nothing is damaged or broken. The dog’s water bowl is full of fresh water, and there are no unpleasant aromas in the air. 

For comparison let’s consider homes that have more challenging feng shui. These would be the homes you walk into and feel anxiety, panic and confusion. Maybe they bring on claustrophobia or overwhelming feelings of chaos. These homes generally have clutter in many places, cobwebs in corners or on ceiling fixtures, things feel out of place, the ‘flow’ to walk through the home feels forced or just ‘off’. The home seems to say “stay away” and you are hesitant to stay long.

Do you have a good picture of each of these homes in your mind? It likely isn’t that hard. We have all likely been to the homes of each scenario at some point in time. What’s the major difference between these types of homes? Typically, homes that feel full of quality energy are intentionally curated to be havens for those that live there. These homes are nurtured and cared for, plants are loved, pets are snuggled, the home is kept clean and clutter is never seen. Arguments are rare in these homes, or at least civil when they do occur. Love is abundant, expressed freely and often. 

I don’t exactly believe that energy is good or bad, or that things are only one way or the other. I do believe that energy speaks to us in good or bad ways. You may have a plant in your home that is thriving and another one that is suffering. They are both speaking; one saying it’s got a great spot to develop and evolve, the other is saying it’s missing the resources it needs to live at all. The energy in the area of the plant that is suffering isn’t bad energy, it’s just not the energy that plant needs. Maybe a different kind of plant would be happier in that space. 

There are many ways to transform the energy in your home and many ways to know when things are working well. 

Here are a few ways to pull in the good:

  • Clean up your clutter.  The number one thing that can change the energy in your space is cleaning up clutter. In the kitchen, in your office, in your car, in the fridge. Clean it up and keep it tidy. 
  • Walk-through your house as if you’ve never been there. Start at the front door and walk through every room. Do your steps flow or are you met with obstacles to maneuver around? A home with good energy is inviting, you don’t want to have to hurdle over a sideboard to get to the couch. 
  • Are things clean and in working order? Get those ceiling fans and light fixtures. Bring in help to do a deep clean to really get all the dust gone. 
  • Find a place for everything in our home that you love and use. Let go of everything else. 
  • Write down your intentions for changing the energy in your home. Honor them. Create an alter to those intentions and build a practice to review them often as you work toward your goal. 
  • Clear the walk path from the street to your front door. Any energy the Red Phoenix is bringing to you needs a clear and unobstructed path to follow to reach you. 
  • As you use each area of your home, pay close attention to how you feel. Are you anxious? What makes you anxious in this space? Do you feel at ease? Do you feel safe? Listen to how you feel. 

When you know its working:

  • Most importantly, it feels good when you walk in the door. Like immediately when you walk in, you feel calmer and safer. You’re not thinking about the dishes in the sink or the mail to go through, no to-do list going off in your head. You are just calm and grateful to be home. 
  • You don’t have to clean anything, put anything away, or spend any significant amount of time getting ready to relax. Your home just organically calms you, and your guests.
  • You feel safe and cared for when you’re in your home, even if you are alone. You know your home, you have a relationship with your home. You’re safe there and you know it. Just like the home knows you will look after her and keep her safe. 
  • It supports your life. You feel focused and able to accomplish all the goals you choose to pursue. Life feels a little magical. Not every moment, or even every day. But the big picture is that you feel like your home contributes to your life in a positive way. You can see evidence of your life evolving since living in your home. Things have progressively gotten better for you in life as you’ve lived in your home. Every living thing is thriving in your home; the people, the animals, the plants. 
  • When you are traveling, you look forward to returning home. Sometimes returning home is the best part about traveling. Though you greatly enjoy your adventures away from home, there is an eagerness to return to the space you’ve curated for yourself. 
  • When you have social events, it’s hard for people to leave the energy you’ve created in your home. You are often the host of your social circles’ events, and you love it. Friends will come early and many will linger for hours. And, it takes you no time whatsoever to get your home ready for the event or to clean up after one. Your home is eager to invite others within her walls. She lends herself to visitors in her own way and it’s a comfortable fit.
  • Guests in your home can quickly get to know you by walking around your home and taking in your belongings and the energy you’ve built. Everywhere you look, you see things you love. Your home brings you joy every single corner of her. 

Curating good feng shui can sometimes naturally occur on it’s own, absolutely. Though it is pretty rare that it lasts. Maintaining a home that is full of good energy takes intentional effort, you have to want it and you have to develop it, and then you have to live it. 

Often, you may feel you need some help seeing how to open up to the good energy you want in your home. 

Feel free to reach out with questions, I’m all too happy to help. The more good energy we create in the world, the better!

Namaste.

2021’s Yin Metal Ox

2021! Gung Hay Fat Choy!

The Chinese new year for 2021 is nearly upon us and it feels like many people around the world are  hoping for a big change in universal energy. It’s not news to anyone that 2020 was challenging for the best of us. The world was increasingly rocked by social injustices, health crises, economic struggles, and a sweeping disruption to life as we knew it. The Yang Metal Rat of 2020 kept us all on our toes. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted.

Thank goodness that’s over and life can calm down with the arrival of 2021’s Yin Metal Ox.

But First, Let’s Talk About the Chinese Zodiac  

I want to make sure we all have a better understanding of what it means to talk about the Chinese New Year Animal. 

We’ve all been in a Chinese restaurant and seen the placement with the Zodiac animals, we’ve all looked up the year we were born and discovered “our animal”. Well, your Chinese astrology chart is built on four pillars, each with a potential for a unique animal and element composition. Those placemats are potentially* showing you only one of those pillars, the Year pillar, which represents our soul/life path energy. But, it is only one of potentially four animals within your chart and the energy from your Year pillar only shows you your outward personality and social self. (more about that below)

Each new Chinese New Year has the same kind of birth chart; mixes of animals and elements unique to themselves. However, there is a cycle of energetic life, a 60 year cycle**. So it was 60 years ago that the earth had a Yin Metal Ox as it’s universal energy force. What was happening 60 years ago?

Side note: Your 60th birthday should be a big big deal of a celebration. When we turn 60 we will have lived through a full cycle of the Chinese zodiac. 

*I use the word potentially because it matters what your full birthdate is, not just the year you were born. My birthday is early January 19XX, so as a child when I read those placemats I assumed my animal was the one of the year I was actually born. However, since the Chinese new  year comes any time late-January to early-February, my true year animal is the one listed for the year prior on that placemat. 

If you’re interested in learning your full Chinese Astrology composition, check out my 4 Pillar Chart reading on Etsy! (40% through February 12th!)

** Chinese Astrology geomancy consists of the yin and yang of 5 elements and the 12 Zodiac animals….5×12=60

You can spend just a few minutes thinking about the civil unrest and socially heated life of 1960 that then led  to a quieter, healing and slower 1961. You can also fall down deep rabbit holes as you discover the complex and obvious connections to the energy of 1960 and 1961 that mirrors the present change of 2020 to 2021. As most of the practitioners I know say, “you just can’t make this sh!t up”. 

This is the chart for 2021’s Yin Metal Ox. Right away you can see the universal change in energy is bigger than just the Year pillar (far left, bold). For this post though, I’m going to stay focused on just the Year pillar.

If you want to learn about the full 2021 chart and how it relates to your personal chart, I’ve got a 40% off sale happening through February 12th on Etsy!

What should we expect?

The 2021 Yin Metal Ox is in many ways a fantastic shift from the hectic chaos and fear focus of 2020’s Yang Metal Rat. This Ox will bring forth an expectation of calm and subtle behaviors. Slow and steady wins this year and the Ox is prepared for, and has the strength to work through, the journey. 

What do we know about the Ox? They are practical and hard-working animals. They are determined enough to come off as stubborn, yet reliable enough that their loyalty is unmistakable. They are strong and capable, both herd focused and fiercely independent. They believe in the greater good and collective big-picture focused progress at a slow and steady pace. 

This Ox is going to continually remind us to slow down, to take strategic and intentional steps forward in everything we do. You can’t just pull an Ox around on a leash, they are mighty creatures who have the strength and will to hold their ground against the strongest among us. Oxen want to see a community working together to accomplish a bigger goal, but they do want everyone to stay in their own lanes as they get their work done. Stay focused on your own life and being the best version of you, the healthiest version of you, the kindest version of you. Don’t fret about the neighbors, the Simpsons’  or the Jones’. Stay in your lane, doing your work.

Something important to note, this constant reminder to slow life down will be a tough change for any of us who have animals in our year pillar that aren’t comfortable with slower-paced energy. If a slow-paced life isn’t for you, be mindful when you’re feeling controlled and contained, which will be ever so present with the year’s 40% metal energy that arrives with 2021’s Ox. This will be felt more strongly by those born in the year of the Sheep/Goat. Find a healthy outlet you can lean on and maybe also give some contemplative silence time a try!

This Yin Metal Ox is also going to be pushing us to gather up our resources and build the foundations for our goals. I’m not talking about over shopping and stocking up your pantry with things you will forget you have. But, I am talking about getting your plans in place for life goals you truly plan to accomplish. If you are wanting to retire in another country in 10yrs, this is a great year to start mapping out the entire process that will make that happen. And the first month of the new year, during the Mercury retrograde, is a wonderful time to focus on the plans you need to have in place to achieve your goals. But just making plans isn’t going to be good enough for the Ox.

Once you have your task list to achieve your goals completed, now the Ox is going to want to get to work! The Ox isn’t going to be happy sitting around just making plans, they are here to work, and they prefer to work hard on big and challenging tasks that others fear starting. So make your plans, and then let the Ox propel you into action and begin working on those goals. Don’t rush in, remember the Ox moves slowly but purposefully. Start your work mindfully and be committed and diligent to each task. Keep reviewing your goals and steps to achieve them, and keep working your way through checking things off your list. 

One last interesting energy for the year to keep in mind; Each of the Zodiac animals have one highest greatest good that their energy brings with them. For the Ox that energy is “Braving the deepest of human experiences and emotions”. The Ox is a very present and grounded being, they are the animal in the Zodiac that is holding space* for the universe. And with all the universe is transitioning through after 2020’s Rat, we need the Ox to carry the burden of broken energy for the universe. No other animal is strong enough or more focused on the collective good. 

The Ox people in our lives are the ones that everyone goes to for help and support. So, for anyone that has an Ox anywhere in your chart, be extra mindful this year about how often you say yes to other people asking for your time and energy. This is a year that you need to be more focused on caring for your own needs. Remember, for 2021 we all want to be working hard, but staying in our own lane and doing our own work. 

*Holding Space is the art of being present with someone or something, without judgment. This means you give your heart, your ears, your strength, without expectation of anything in return.  

Personally, I’m very much looking forward to the shift of energy the Universe is bringing in for 2021. Slow and steady goal planning followed by strong actionable steps to achieve those goals. The world should be focused on being mindful and compassionate towards a collective greatest good. If nothing else, 2020 made it very clear that the world is connected. This new 2021 Yin Metal Ox is here to help the world work together towards a collective change. I’m excited to see what we accomplish! 

Namaste.

Moving Forward into 2021

Moving Forward Into 2021

I feel safe in saying that 2020 had some unexpected and challenging experiences for us all. Many are still out of work (my husband included). Many are struggling to pay bills and provide food. Most importantly, many have lost their lives much too quickly. 

None of us will soon forget the crushing energy of 2020 that forced so much restructure on every corner of the world. No one has been untouched by 2020. 2020 may have been the year where we all felt overwhelmed with so many things happening at once, we lost connection to time and routine. The yang metal of 2020 was the kind of energy that has the world feeling raw as 2020 hammered away at that raw yang metal the little rat drug in.

But here arrives in 2021 soon enough with the Yin Metal Ox (I’ll have more to say about him soon).

The yin metal Ox walks in with strength, determination, and a desire to get the work of the day done. No matter how difficult, the Ox wants to make some plans and get busy bringing those plans to life. But do not be fooled by 2021, this yin metal comes in force, as 2021 brings 40% metal to the universe for the year. In that high quantity, we will all likely still feel some crushing need for change and development. To make things a bit more challenging to navigate, the energy for the year will also have us feeling like our efforts aren’t producing large enough results for the effort we feel like we have invested. It’s also highly likely that we will feel as though there is no luck on the horizon, and have little motivation to build our own luck. 

Hang in there! While 2021 will continue to feel like a year of hard work, great loss, and unprecedented challenges, it will also feel like we have much to look forward to. We will see little wins out of all our hard work making plans and goals, and fine-tuning new routines. Celebrate the small wins, feel comfortable to adjust plans and goals, and enjoy a nice fireside evening whenever you can. Let the heat of the fire soften up some of the 40% metal so it can be forged into something new.

Every new year is an excellent time for inviting some new energy into your life, and this year it feels ever more so important to shift the energy around us. Here I offer a few of my favorite new year practices to try. 

Decluttering!

This is my favorite task by far to complete when I’m trying to invite new energy around me. I love to declutter anything, even the perfectly organized junk drawer needs a decluttering every few years.

Decluttering any visible areas is the number one thing you can do immediately to change the energy of your home. So put away that mail, clean up that pile of shoes, clean and put away those dishes…then take a deep breath and enjoy the calm you have invited in.

You don’t have to spend all day, start with 30 minutes or 1 hour, or just one task. Pick one room or one closet that has been haunting you. Tackle the guest bathroom or just your car! Dedicate a weekend, if you’re feeling adventurous! 

The things that clutter our lives have meaning, and none of them are too good. Be mindful of the things that collect dust in your life and examine what the hidden meanings likely are. You can’t change a habit until you clearly identify the habit. 

  • Old clothes that don’t fit = not feeling like your best self
  • Anything covered in dust or broken = those things don’t have a place in your life
  • Unfinished projects = I have other priorities, this doesn’t matter to me
  • Piles of magazines or books unread = that story or information isn’t important to me

Clear those things out, don’t think twice, just let them go. You can’t create a new future when the dust of the past is all around you. Instill the help of a good friend, or call on a professional (I’m available). Create some space in your life and home so that the path to move forward is open and visible.

Your Front Door

Wash your front door! Your neighbors might think you are crazy, but who cares. Cleansing the past off our front doors seems vital this year. Your front door is the mouth of your home. All the good chi from the universe, all the opportunities in life, and health and abundance from the red phoenix will be coming through your front door. Use some lemon or frankincense essential oil in the soap and water mix. After cleaning and drying the door (both inside and out), use white sage to smudge the door and bless your home entrance. Add a new doormat outside for an added boost, welcome new energy into your home and life!

A New Plant

Buy a new, healthy green plant or succulent to place inside your home by the front door. If you have one from 2020 there, find it a new spot in an active room of your home. Write some words of affirmations to yourself, and plant them into the soil of this new plant. Intentionally care for this plant, and all plants in your home, and watch life grow before your eyes. 

Deep Cleaning

Get on those elbow-length rubber gloves and dig into the grime (or hire a team you trust)! A new year is a great time to really clean every nook and cranny of your home (declutter first for best results). This is the time of year to clean behind the refrigerator and washing machine. Arrange to have the ducts cleaned, or carpets shampooed! Clean out the dryer vent to the outdoors and have the washing machine serviced. Change air filters on the heating/AC system and or any air purifiers you have. Don’t forget the ceiling fans, light fixtures, and baseboards – oh my! Enlist all members of the household. Give yourself the much needed time to really get the job done. Crank up the music and have some fun! 

Red Envelopes

Don’t forget to cycle out your red envelopes over your front door! Take a moment to reflect on the messages you wrote to yourself last year. Take out any money or coins you had in the envelope and place them in your wealthy bowl. Discard of your messages and old red envelope in a loving fashion (I have a fire ceremony to send mine out into the universe). 

Find a crisp, new red envelope for this crisp new year! Add money or coins, in increments of two (2 coins, 2 $1 new bills). Write yourself some affirmations or desires for the coming new year, with the phrase “with harm to no one” and place them in your red envelope. Hang this envelope over your front door until the new year for 2022. 

I’m here if you need me. 2020 may have kicked all our backsides, but we can just take our time and move slowly through 2021 with intention and determination. The 2021 Ox is here to show us how important structure and process is, and how every little step forward makes a difference – no matter how small, keep moving forward with intention. 

Namaste.

Turtles!

Hopefully, everyone has heard of the great race between the rabbit and the tortoise. The story goes, the ego of the quick and agile rabbit worked against him at all the obstacles along the journey that he traveled without intention. While the tortoise wins the race with slow and consistent progress through the same path as his competition, though he moved forward with intention. The tortoise becomes a legendary sacred animal with this victory and provides support to universal energies in many ways.

Let me share some of the most powerful ways to bring the energy of the legendary tortoise into your world to lighten and lift or calm and harmonize the energies around you.

Feeling anxious or unsettled

Often as we experience challenges, we can feel unsettled, nervous, or anxious about life. This is likely very prevalent in life these days during COVID-19. Things might feel as if they are moving very fast and out of control. Or maybe they’ve come to a complete halt and things are paralyzed. A tortoise can help pull in the grounding energies that can lift you out of these feelings. Tortoise energy helps us slow down and move forward with intention through our struggles.

  • Carry a small black tortoise in your pocket while going about your day. Be mindful of that protection being with you throughout activities.
  • Place a black tortoise on your bedside table for calmer dreams.
  • The black tortoise is one of four celestial guardians of your dwelling. Place a black tortoise (statue, painting) at the very back of your backyard, right up against the fence (in the center of the back fence).

Abundance and enhancing powers

The tortoise is known to enhance anything it is around. You can strategically place a tortoise anywhere that you would like to increase the energy of that area.

  • A tortoise next to an indoor water fountain will magnify the protection energy of the tortoise and the abundant energy of the water.
  • Place a gold turtle with a wealth bowl in the southeast of your home to boost the wealth energy of your life.
  • Keep a tortoise (preferably a blue one) in the north of your home to improve your career and success wealth.

Be Mindful

  • When placing a tortoise anyway in our outside of your home, be mindful that it is facing inwards to the center of your home. You want the tortoise to look like they are walking into your home with their gifts, not leaving your home.  
  • Be mindful not to place a tortoise in the east, inside or outside of your home. The east is energies of new beginnings, family, and ancestry. The east is ruled by the rabbit, and the rabbit is still mad he lost the race. Adding a tortoise the east will create conflicts and struggles with family or any attempt to kick off something new in your life.
  • When placing or using a tortoise enhancement, be sure to do so with a focus on your intentions. Example: when you add a black tortoise to your bedside table to invite restful sleep. Pay attention to how the tortoise faces, hold the tortoise, and think clearly about how well you wish to rest.

With this most ancient of animals, we are reminded that moving forward, no matter how slow the pace, is the most important thing. Keep moving, you will get to where you are heading. The tortoise reminds us that as long as you are moving forward, you are making progress. You don’t need to push yourself too hard or move too fast, often this results in mistakes and creates more challenges. Pace yourself. Enjoy the journey.

Clutter is a killer!

There, I said it. Loud and clear. Clutter is a killer. It kills auspicious chi as soon as it arrives. It kills your calm as soon as you’re immersed in it. Excessive consumption and accumulation seems to be a large part of the American way of life. You can pull up a startling number of statistics from Joshua Becker, my favorite go to source for many years now for such information.

We all know how clutter makes us feel. Congested. Overwhelmed. Anxious. Shame. Guilt. We’ve all walked into homes that immediately raise our heartbeat, so much stuff strewn about everywhere. Sometimes it’s our own living rooms.

If that’s how you feel when you come into your space, how do you think the auspicious chi feels when it’s flying into your home? It likely just turns around and leaves. Chi needs to feel welcomed into your home and life. If there is no sense of calm and harmony, no place for it to swirl and pool, no place for it to rest or enhance, why would it stay? Yet auspicious chi is what every home and life needs to live fully, and at it’s most happy state.

When I’m working with a client on their home, clutter is the first thing we attack. There are nine directions in feng shui landform, and none of them like clutter. None. Clutter in your home, in any of the directions, will create harm. Period. You likely don’t even notice it because you’ve been living with the clutter for so long that it’s your sense of normal now. Our minds are built to adjust to things, so when clutter is the norm you no longer notice it. But you can feel it.

Any decluttering you do is time well spent and visual clutter it phase one.

Every time you clear off a counter top or put away a pile of paperwork, you are opening more space to let the chi flow into you home and life. Pick one room in your house and get busy. You don’t have to hold every item, you don’t have to clear out the entire room, you don’t have to minimize down to a certain number of any one thing. You do have to work at a pace that keeps you able to commit to the process, you do have to be consistent about your efforts, and you do have to find your level of acceptance in the environment within which you live.

This goes for your outdoor spaces also. Have a beat up old shed that you toss broken stuff into randomly sitting in your southeast area of your backyard? Recycle or give away all the things you aren’t using, repair or remove the follow down shed. She this area some love, the southeast direction is energy focused on the abundance in your life, your wealth and self worth. Care for this sector and watch your confidence blossom.

My guess is since you are still reading that your current environment isn’t working for you. You want something different. You’re frustrated when you come home and your home makes you feel more so. You dread having people just show up at your door. It takes you days to ‘clean up’ for a social event. You don’t sleep well. You don’t eat healthy. You don’t have ‘down time’ because there is always something to clean up before you can sit down.

You are not alone. More often than not a clients home is congested with clutter. They are having relationship problems (southwest) or work life balance struggles (north). And more often than not the landform direction that serves those energies for them are a mess of excess and disorganized clutter. Cleaning up these areas and intentionally creating some space for your relationship or career, sends a loud message out to the universe. A message that these things matter to you and that you aren’t going to neglect them anymore.

Curating your spaces is a seriously intentional act that raises the vibrational energy of your home, the property and your life. I can help decipher the landform mysteries of your property with the ancient geomancy of feng shui.

2020’s Yang Metal Rat

2020 kicks off a new 60yr cycle of energy. The intellectual very active Rat is entwined with the force of Yang Metal. This is a big year of change, crushing change and restructure.  With all that is happening with Covid-19, I don’t think there is any argument about how shockingly ‘in your face’ the year 2020 has been so far.

We know that the Rat will be keeping us on our toes with many projects and activities, so many opportunities for things to be different and reorganized. It can also very much feel like we can’t catch a break, that we are overwhelmed with a million things happening at once. We’ve lost all connection to time and routine, yet we can feel the need for some control to get through all the circumstances before us.

I have many friends who were forced to shift their routines of going to an office every day to suddenly working from home every day. Some of those friends also have small children they are now trying to entertain and educate while also trying to work their jobs from home. Some of those friends have lost their jobs. Some further have experienced illness, death or other unexpected large expenses.  So many things happening at once, forcing major changes in our lives, flying in from all directions and in every corner of the world.

That is a lot of chaos happening at once.

Yang metal is represented often as raw metal that must be forged or processed to become something useful.  Yang metal has the potential to be honed into something powerful and meaningful, like Excalibur. Yang metal has purpose and though it may take some work, it needs the pounding of a blacksmith hammer to shape it and bring it to it’s full potential.

Right now the world is feeling pretty raw, we (the human race) need to be forged into something useful. We need to accept all these changes knowing that we will come out the other side of these experiences honed into something powerful and meaningful. We will have been molded and sculpted to accept the diversity of our structure, building structures that support all people in all places of the world.

The Rat of the Chinese zodiac is known for being resourceful, skillful, open-minded and a great survivor during times of danger and scarcity. Rats are known to gnaw their way through to new paths. There is very little that can get in their way and prevent them from opening up to a new adventure. They are determined to create the change they want, and they are hardworking enough to get it done.

60 years ago the world watched as 1960 ushered in new conversations and behaviors around sex with the sexual revolution and the birth control pill. The 1950’s were pushed out and the new ideals of the 60’s appeared to fly in from all directions. This new path that 2020 is bestowing on the world will be amplified many times over from the 60’s revolution as the world has developed many times over from life on the plant back then. So what’s before us this year, likely many things. Many changes, large scale life changing changes. Buckle up and hunker down, it’s going to take some time to work through all the changes ahead. Don’t try to rush through them, this is a year to be more mindful and intentional in all your choices.

New Year, New Envelopes

The Chinese red envelope exchange is centuries old. It’s an ancient symbol of energy, good luck, and happiness. Giving a red envelope to someone is a way to send good wishes and luck to them.

Typically, when gifting a red envelope, you would put money inside. The amount doesn’t matter, but always in increments of two. Two coins of the same value, two dollars of the same value. And then increase in twos as well. If using paper money, you want the paper to be crisp new bills. When using coins, you want them to be clean and shiny.

And though the money is nice, the red paper is the sacred element. Red and gold in the Chinese culture represent abundance and blessings bestowed onto the receivers. The red envelope is used for happy occasions and keeps away inauspicious chi. It is not favorable to open a red envelope you have received in front of the giver. Those blessings contained within are for the receiver only. When receiving a red envelope, always accept it with both hands for the balance of your yin yang energy (left hand is feminine, the right hand is masculine).

Traditionally these envelopes are given out to family and friends at Chinese New Year. Feng Shui practitioners also use them for payments towards services. But they are also a strong tool for manifesting affirmations when placed above your front door or used to hold sacred wishes.

 To manifest affirmations, write your affirmation on a piece of paper adding the words “with harm to no one” at the end, and put it in a red envelope. Hang that red envelope over your front door inside your home.

In a child’s room perhaps write your wishes as a parent for how the child will learn and develop into their own person (with harm to no one) and put the envelope above the child’s bedroom door inside the room.

If using a red envelope to manifest energy or affirmations into one of the nine landform directions, write your wish or affirmation (with harm to no one) and then place the paper in the red envelope. Find an inconspicuous spot within that sector of the home to hang the red envelope. Example: Maybe your North sector is your garage. North is about your life path and career. You could write an affirmation that your career remains strong and develop, place that in a red envelope and then hang the red envelope someplace within your garage. 

Many blessings.