I’ve been trying to sell our house for nearly a year now. We put it on the market last summer and had an immediate flurry of interested viewers, but no buyers. Three months later we dropped the asking price, thinking maybe we were a little over-enthusiastic about what it was worth. Another flurry of viewers came, but still no buyer. After six months of endless viewings (and endless weekends of cleaning in preparation for the viewings) we decided to take the house off the market and give it a bit of an upgrade before trying again.
I found a builder to construct a small conservatory for us and took up a recommendation for another builder to freshen up our drab and gloomy bathroom, which has had no more than a lick of white paint in the 25 years since the house was built.
We had a plan, and I was convinced it was going to work. Next time we put the house up for sale, it will sell.
It’s now been six months since we took the house off the market. I have a half-built breeze block wall in the garden where the conservatory should be, and the bathroom hasn’t been touched since the fitters came round to measure up four months ago.
Our shower has started leaking through the ceiling downstairs, our kitchen window lock mechanism has broken and is stuck at slightly ajar (not ideal through the freezing winter months), and our UPVC back doors swell up so much in the summer that we can’t shut the doors.
I hate this house. And I think the house hates me back.
But the more I think about it, the more I realise that hating my house isn’t going to fix anything. In fact, if I hate it so much, why would anyone else want to buy it? (There’s a lesson to be learnt about self-love here too).
As the years have passed, and my family has grown up, I’ve unintentionally been filling our home with negative energy by complaining about everything I don't like about it. Yes we’ve out grown it, and we desperately need to move to a bigger home, but this little plot of land doesn’t deserve to be hated just because it doesn’t fulfil our needs anymore. Of course it’s going to become more damaged if I send destructive thoughts into it!
Our homes collect energy in the same way they collect piles of stuff. So, to add more positive energy into my home, and to reduce the feeling of being stuck, I need to have a clear out. Not just of my physical mounds of clutter, but of the negative energy that has stacked up in the corners, and under the cupboards, and along the walls and ceilings - I need to do some serious energy clearing. I need to make space for good things to come into my life and home.
Burning herbs and incense for cleansing
Smoke cleansing rituals are one of the easiest way to remove negative energy, and can be done fairly quickly using a variety of herbs or incense sticks.
There are hundreds of herbs to choose from, each with their own unique properties to incorporate into your cleansing ritual. To find the right one for your needs, start by setting out an intention for the space that you’re working on, or the object you’re cleansing, and use a resource like the Magickal Herb Journal to help you find the right herb. Alternatively, just google what herbs to use for your purpose!
Using my current house situation as an example, burning cedar is a great way to declutter a room of the bad vibes that have built up over a long period of time. Cedar works well for getting rid of energy that is lingering around bad memories such as old bits of clothing, photos, or paperwork.
Cedar smoke is also useful if you have bought second-hand items or antiques – pass the objects through the smoke with the intention of clearing away the previous owner’s energy.
Rosemary is another great herb to use for a house cleansing as it encourages new beginnings. I’m actually burning some while writing this, to promote open doors to a new house! Rosemary is there to help with all sorts of fresh starts - breaking habits, new career opportunities, even opening up your creativity.
Once you have gathered your chosen herbs (I prefer dried herbs, but you can experiment with fresh ones too), either bundle the stems or sticks together and tie them with twine or natural cotton thread, or place loose herbs in a fireproof dish, and light them until you see a flame, then blow it out to create the smoke. There are lots of how-to guides for making herb bundles online, like this one from the White Witch Academy.
In its simplest form, all you need to do to perform a cleansing ritual is to walk clockwise around the room three times while holding the smoking bundle of herbs or incense stick high in the air in front of you. If you’re using a dish, fan the burning embers to spread the smoke into any dark or dusty gaps nooks and crannies. Make sure you reach out to the corners and crevices of the room.
You can also speak a chant if it feels right to you. An example of one I use is below:
“With this smoke I cleanse this space and remove the past; With this smoke I release all energy that is not for my highest good; With this smoke I dispel all negativity that surrounds me; With this smoke I banish all fears that limit me; I fill this space with love and joy.”
Please note, if you suffer from any chronic lung conditions, or are sensitive to smoke, plants can be placed around your home to soak up the negative energy as an alternative to burning herbs.
You may have noticed that I have not used the term ‘smudging’ when talking about cleansing a space with smoke. The act of smudging (especially with Sage), is considered sacred to Native Americans and Indigenous groups, so if you would like to purify your space this way it is important to be respectful of cultural appropriation and fully understand the history and significance of this practice before performing a sacred smudging ritual.
Aside from smoke cleansing, there are other tools and rituals that can be used to clear a space of negative energy. Crystal placement, or using sound such as Tibetan bowls and bells are popular methods, but smoke cleansing is one of my favourites as not only does it leave a wonderful smell in the room, but the physical smoke helps me visualise the act of sending the negative energy away.
In an ideal world, keeping a clean and tidy, clutter-free home is the best way to prevent negative energy from accumulating, but if you’re anything like me with a house full of children and animals, or are sharing a space with messy people, juggling a full-time job, or navigating your way through any of life’s other stresses, a tidy home is more of a luxury than an expectation! If a tidy house is an impossible dream (as it is mine), then at least try to open your windows regularly. Allowing the fresh air to come in and fill your space will push any negative energy out.
If you can, try to make smoke cleansing a regular part of your cleaning routine. The energy in your home will soon feel lighter and brighter, and you might find yourself better able to relax and enjoy your surroundings.
Finally, if any of my friends or family are reading this and later see smoke billowing out of my house, don’t panic… I’m just having a clear out!