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
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
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
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
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.