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.

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!