A different kind of spring cleaning
Spring cleaning is a time honored tradition that means different things to different people. For some, it is an all out purging and cleansing. Others may mop all the way to the corners of the room and call it good.
I do a physical spring cleaning at some point in my house and I typically do a winter cleaning when I take down the holiday decorations. I also do a fall cleaning when we winterize the house. Summer is on its own. One place where I do not slack off, however, is in the energy cleansing. That happens year round and I am aggressive about it.
If you go outside on a muddy day and walk through your house, you will bring the mud from outside on your shoes and get it on the floor. If you work on the car and get your hands greasy, then come inside and wash your hands in the sink, you will likely get your sink dirty even though your hands get clean. Likewise, when people come into your home, they bring their own energy into the house with them and it can stick around if you do not clean it up.
When you empty the vacuum cleaner bag, if you knock it the wrong way, dust will explode all over the room. Likewise, if you are irritable and vent your negative attitude into the air, vocally or silently, the junk hangs around until you clean it up. You don’t think energy funk has as much credibility as the dirt you see on your walls or floor? Think about it. When you walk into a room where two people have been arguing, you can feel the tension even if neither of them mentions it. It isn’t just body language. It is the feel of the air. There is a reason why we have phrases like “the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife.”
Negative energy and tension hang around like the smell of burnt popcorn. Even after the popcorn is removed, you can smell it hanging in the air. At best, even when things are not negative or tense, the air in a place can get stale and depleted. This is why every so often, just as we physically clean our homes, we must also cleanse and empower the energy in it.
There are simple steps to cleanse the energy in a home and wake up the good energy flow again. Here are five suggestions for spring cleaning your home, neutralizing negative energy, and awakening the positive flow in your home once again.
- Smudging – This practice originated with Native Americans and is now popular in many cultures. Smudging is the burning of certain herbs to purify a sacred area and neutralize the energies there. The most common herbs used for smudging are sage (white sage or sagebrush), cedar, sweetgrass, lavender, juniper or a blend of those. The herbs are bound into a “smudge stick” or burned loose on a self-igniting charcoal such as those used in hookahs. Smudge sticks are lit on one end, then blown out so that the end “cherries” and the smoke continues, much like an incense stick. To smudge, you then move the stick or use a feather or light fan to move the smoke around the area you wish to cleanse, which in this case is the interior of your house.
Another effective smudging agent is a wood called Palo Santo (translation: Holy Wood). This wood comes from Central America and is good for cleansing energy and also protecting areas. Sold in small sticks, it is lit and used in the same way as a smudge stick. Palo Santo, cedar, sweetgrass and lavender do not burn as aggressively as sage, so they will need to be relit occasionally. A full description of how to smudge is here.
- 4 Thieves Vinegar – This traditional recipe from the conjure practitioners of the American South takes its origins in Africa. The purpose of 4 Thieves Vinegar is to psychically disinfect an area and it works beautifully. Pour the 4 Thieves Vinegar in the shape of a cross onto a previously unused sponge. Use it to wipe down thresholds, door jambs, stairs, walls, countertops and other flat surfaces to clear away negativity and obstacles to success. You may also add a tablespoon or two of it to your mop water to wash your floors.
- Chinese Wash – Another traditional recipe, Chinese Wash works as a partner to 4 Thieves Vinegar to infuse a home with joy and open the doors to success and prosperity. Using the same sponge and technique as with the 4 Thieves Vinegar, wipe down the surfaces that were just disinfected with the vinegar treatment. Ditto on the mop water.
- Move your furniture – It sounds simple, but sometimes, you have to create visual change to encourage energy change. The air moves differently when furnishings are in a new location, so shake the Etch-a-Sketch of your room layout and shift items around. Remove items that are no longer actively used and declutter. Change the dynamics of conversation areas and places where you relax. When it looks different, you will feel different as well.
- Elemental Energy – Rarely are elements given their true credit due. Within the traditional elemental affiliations of Earth, Air, Fire and Water lies perfect psychological balance. Earth is stability, prosperity and healing. Its counterbalance is Fire, which is creativity, passion and motivation. One balances the other. Air is intellect, change and new beginnings. Water is emotion, intuition and endings. Again, they balance one another. Representations of these four elements in a room create the same balance. Earth goes in the north, Air in the east, Fire in the south, and Water in the west.
Skeptical? Give it a try and see how the energy in your home shifts. Everything feels cleaner, brighter, and richer after a good cleanse and empowerment. Other suggestions for turning your home into sacred space will follow in future columns.