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!


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!


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.