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Columnist, Sheila Moss, is humor writer from  Tennessee. She writes  a weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny things that happen to everyone.

   She has written for  the Daily News of Kingsport,   Griffin Journal, Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton Advocate,  and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal. She has been published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks at Guidepost Books.  Her articles have appeared in numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.

    She is a former board member and past  Editor of  the, website of  the National Society of Newspaper Columnists, the oldest and largest professional organization for columnists. She is the Web Editor of Southern
  and  a founder of the Southern Humorists writers' organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of

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The Smudging....

The Smudging

Everyone deals with life's little disasters, domestic or otherwise. We may call it luck, karma, fate, juju, Godís will, destiny or a bad hair day.

Recently, I heard that cleansing your house of negative energy can be done by burning sage. I had no idea how a person might go about this, but I was pretty sure you didn't just grab a jar of sage off the spice shelf and set it ablaze.

After I half-jokingly mentioned it to a friend who took me seriously and offered to arrange to do it, I decided that maybe I needed to do some research first. Mood, ambiance, atmosphere or feeling is not a material thing and perhaps burning sage could remove negative energy. Who knows? I figured it couldn't hurt and might help.

Burning sage is part of spiritual tradition in many cultures, especially for Native Americans. Burning aromatic incense was a ritual in the ancient world practiced by Egyptians and is also part of Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Pagan and other spiritual groups.

With a history like this, who am I to say it can't possibly be useful? I researched a variety of articles and decided I could do this. My way of burning sage, or smudging, was drawn from the knowledge and experience of other people.

First problem, where to get sage? If you can't buy it on the Internet, it isn't for sale. The first thing I knew, I was ordering white sage online. After I spent money on it, I felt committed, for better or worse.

I didn't have a bell to open the ritual, so I used a silver bowl, which made a nice ringing sound when hit with a spoon. I lit a white candle and ignited the bundle of sage, hoping I would not set off the smoke alarm. The fire department might not understand.

Four elements are represented in the ritual. Sage represents the earth, fire is represented by burning, air by the smoke, and water by an abalone shell used to catch the ashes of the burning sage. I did not have a shell, but I had handmade pottery bowl that I put sea salt in to represent water.

I started at the front door, fanning the smoke into all corners of the room with my hand since I did not have a feather to use. While smudging, it is customary to say a blessing, affirmation, or prayer. I thought about it and decided simply asking all negative energy to leave the home and only positive energy to remain would be sufficient.

I smudged the entire house, including closets, attic, garage and crawl space, giving special attention to windows and doors where negative energy enters. I went around the outside of my house and let smoke go into all the foundation air vents. While I was outside, the lawn service guy came to spray the weeds. I'm sure he wondered what that crazy lady was doing carrying a smoking bowl around the yard.

When finished, I smudged myself to remove any negative energy I might have picked up, then struck the silver bowl again to conclude the ritual. Afterwards, I filled small bowls with sea salt and put one in each room under the bed and one on the hearth, which is the heart of a home. Salt is believed to absorb negative energy.

I must admit, this is one of the oddest things I've ever done. But what fun is life if we never try anything different? At my age I should be allowed some indulgences; even it means my house will smell slightly like a campfire for a while.

I didn't see any negative spirits flying out the windows, but maybe having a positive atmosphere is partly a matter of attitude, and if that improves so does everything else.

Copyright 2015 Sheila Moss

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