Have you ever walked into someone's house and thought, "wow, something's really off in here!". Maybe it's just a heavy feeling or maybe it feels a little creepy? Maybe you've felt like that in your own house. Clearing the energy of your space is not some crazy invention by hippies and new age kooks. Many cultures have utilized space clearing techniques for ages. In fact, the practice of utilizing frankincense in the Catholic church is a form of space clearing that essentially has the same energetic clearing effect.
Many real estate agents know the value of a good house clearing to sell a house, even if they don't understand why it works, there's something about lighting a bundle of sage and letting it waft around a home that seems to remove old, lingering vibes and make it more palatable to a buyer.
There are dozens of books written about clearing your physical space of unwanted energy, and just as many techniques for doing it. Some people feel a little intimidated by the act of space clearing because they either a.) think they don't know how to do it or b.) aren't sure of they "believe" it works.
In this post I specifically discuss using sage to clear spaces, although there are many other methods to clear your home or space of unwanted energy. Use this if you feel anxious, sad, angry or confined in your home. Sometimes our emotional content can build up in an area and create problems within our environment and effect our relationships and physical bodies. It's a good idea to clear your space about once a month, but you can do it as often as you like. It can be repeated after an argument with a loved one or if someone comes in your home who leaves a feeling of heaviness.
This technique is great if you move into a new home. You will want to clear the space so you can start in your new place with your energy and not Joe and Alice Whatstheirname's energy, cause you have no idea what kind of mess they left energetically for you (it could be great, or you could be walking into the energy of Joe's affair and Alice's depression...yuck!)
I. Get ye sage
Sage is good because it's been used for millennia by many cultures because of its cleansing properties. Many Native American tribes pick and sell sustainable sage products that you can buy at any natural foods store or metaphysical shop. There are many different kinds, from Blue Sage to sage infused with other herbs like lavender or Frankincense. Pick one that smells and feels good to you. Some people prefer sage sticks/wands (which are dried sage leaves bundled with thread). I like loose herbs that I can throw into a heat safe bowl.
II. Feel the vibes in your space.
Perhaps it's a heavy feeling, or a pervasive sense of anxiety or anger. Maybe it just feels a little dense in your house, or maybe you feel like your annoying deceased Uncle Filbert is hanging around and you want him to move along. What's important is to use your intuition to pinpoint your reaction to the space.
III. Set the intention.
99% of change in the physical world is preceded by thought. If your intention is just to make it smell better in your garage, then that's exactly what you'll manifest. If you intend to clear the space of all unwanted, heavy or negative energy then you will manifest that. Don't underestimate the power of intention. You need not believe in the power of the herbs themselves but rather the efficacy of your intention. The herbs act as a catalyst for change, a ritual to bring your intended reaction into physical existence. Thoughts carry a lot of energy...ask any scientist who has had their intention for an experiment taint their results.
IV. light it up.
Light the sage stick or loose herbs. A little sage smoke goes a long way, but some people prefer more smoke than others. Feel it out to see your preference. You may want to blow on it to create more smoke, and you may have to re-light it a few times throughout the process. Make sure you have something underneath to catch the ashes. Saging your house will be useless if you burn it down. Only you can prevent sage fires..
V. Open a window.
Opening a window allows some of the excess smoke to filter out but also allows the energy you don't want to leave the space. You don't have to open a window, the saging alone will do enough, but if you have a sensitive smoke alarm like we do, then its a good idea.
VI. Commence smoke out.
Walk around the space and let the smoke do its thing. You want to remember your intention while doing this. It's sort of like a walking meditation. Make sure you get it in all the corners of the room, as energy tends to collect in those areas. Pinpoint problem rooms or areas and spend more time in those spots. You don't have to spend 30 minutes in one room, just a few minutes until you intuitively feel like it's clear. If you're paying attention, you'll know, Don't forget your closets! If you have animals they may stare at you in annoyance, but they'll also thank you for clearing the space, because they probably feel whatever it is more strongly than you do.
VII. Put it out.
Once you've gone around your house or space and allowed the smoke to permeate those rooms and their crevices you can extinguish the embers. Some people just let it smolder out, while others are a little antsy about the smoldering, at which case you can sprinkle some sand or water over the loose herbs or lightly rinse the edge of the sage stick to stop the smoke (or stick it in a potted plant). Store the remainder somewhere for use later. Unless you live in Buckingham Palace or you are cray-cray for sage smoke, you should have enough left for multiple uses.
Some people say you simply MUST sage in a clockwise circular motion or use a blend of specific herbs, or do it at a certain time of day, or use a Hawk feather to disperse smoke around the room. In my experience its the intention and your experience of the cleansing that is important.
If you believe that you need to move the sage stick clockwise, do it if it feels right, not out of fear or superstition that if you don't do it that way it won't work, because then you're infusing the process with fear. Sometimes I use a bird feather and sometimes I don't want to mess with it. It's whatever feels right. This is a time to exercise your intuition.
A note about really negative energy:
If you have a particularly nasty or pervasive negative feeling in a space it can be helpful to internally chant something of a high energy frequency. So, if you are Christian and feel comforted by Jesus you may chant His name (out loud or internally), if you are Buddhist and feel comforted by Buddha chant His name, Muslims chant Mohammed, etc. Some people compose their own sayings or rituals. This can raise the vibration of your intention, and if nothing else, will be like a meditation for you to center yourself. Those names are imbued with a lot of collective power and can be quite transformative if your intention is positively set.
If you're agnostic or not particularly drawn to any tradition then chanting "light" or "peace" or "love" will have the same effect. It's the vibration of the thought or word that raises your intention, so anything that feels reverent or beautiful to you is perfect. Chanting "hate" or "Hitler" however is probably not the best choice. So if your late Grandma Rose was a wonderful woman, ask her to help increase the vibration. Whatever feels good.
I hope this has been helpful. We sage in our home frequently and always feel more calm and lighter after the experience. This ancient method doesn't have to be some mystified ritual done only by Native people or pagans. It has been used in many cultures and with good reason it works!