It also makes sense to do a home cleansing prayer seasonally, after an ex moves out, when a new baby is about to be born, or at the end of a year of spent trapped in a cloud of your own flatulence during a pandemic. But while invoking a cleansing prayer to energetically give your living space a refresh stands to offer you spiritual benefits, it's important to only practice rituals that cause no harm. When non-Native people use white sage to "smudge" rooms, for example, they are often appropriating the practice from Indigenous Americans who were once penalized for practicing the ritual. For this reason, non-Native people should not use this practice.
That said, a smoke cleansing prayer or ritual can still be practiced in respectful ways that don't cause harm. Furthermore, setting herbs alight is hardly the only way to clear a space, period. Below, experts in feng shui, energy healing, and more offer myriad options for clearing your space of toxic or stale vibes and offer tips to help ensure you've properly set an activating intention in the process.
7 ways to energetically cleanse your home through a cleansing prayer or ritual
As mentioned, the most popular way to smoke cleanse—using white sage—is a big no-no. Another popular option, palo santo wood, is also on the naughty list for environmental and cultural appropriation reasons. But that doesn't mean you're out of luck if you're a fan of the practice of smoking out your home's demons. "I am definitely a big user of smoke to cleanse," says intuitive and spiritual coach Jordi, who regularly conducts home cleansing rituals for clients. They use incense regularly to "shift space" in their house, as well as herb mixtures. "The bundle I have now was collected by a friend, and it includes rosemary and mugwort," Jordi says. "Rosemary is a beautiful herb to cleanse. It has circulation properties, so it can really move energy through the house."
If you're unsure of what materials to use for a smoke cleansing ritual, Jordi recommends digging back into your ancestry for clues. "Tap into the cultural practices you've may have been disconnected from," they say. "Research the plants of the lands that your blood is from. So if you're from the Isles of Scotland, there's wild lavender there, so maybe lavender is something you can burn. I invite people to retrace the steps to their own indigeneity."
You can also use sound to clear a house, says Valle. "Intentional sound vibrations have the ability to transmute negative energy and transform the energy in any space into uplifting vibrations," she explains. Her favorite tools to use are Tibetan singing bowls. "Even the smallest ones are mighty," she says. "The resonance of these ancient sacred instruments is so powerful, especially when coupled with an intention or a mantra."
"Intentional sound vibrations have the ability to transmute negative energy and transform the energy in any space into uplifting vibrations." —Natalie Valle, energy healer
Tuning forks can also be used. "You can really be intentional with what intervals you create with the different frequencies and notes," Valle adds. "I have a whole Sound Healing Training, where I dive deeper into the different intervals with their respective benefits and intentions."
And if no instruments are available, Valle points out that most of us have access to what she calls "the most powerful instrument to ever exist": the voice. "It's the most powerful because it contains consciousness, therefore you can sing, chant, hum, and [recite] mantras, intentions, and prayers," she says. "My favorite mantra is a simple and all-encompassing one: 'Into the light for the highest good'."
Jordi also likes to use water to both physically and energetically cleanse at once. "I usually bless the water, and how I bless it is by mixing a couple of essential oils, or rose water if I have it, or orange blossom water," they say. "Whatever my intuition is guiding me to add, I'll put in there, but I just want something that really boosts the smell and makes me feel good." Jordi recommends tapping into your ancestral background for inspiration here, too.
Then, Jordi actually cleans the house using this "blessed" water. "So I'll mix it with my soaps that I use on the floor, and I'll mop my house with it," they say, noting that they also use it on their home's windows and will clean outdoor walkways—especially walkways leading to the front door, with it, too. "This is not something that I do every week or every month," Jordi says. "It's more of a deep clean if I've just moved into a space, if there's a seasonal change, or if a big event happened in my family, like a new baby or a death or departure."
Since the whole point of Reiki practice is energy healing, it makes sense that Valle would recommend its use to shift the vibes in your home, too. And although it's beneficial, she says you don't have to pay a Reiki-attuned practitioner to give Reiki to your space, either. "We all have access to this energy," says Valle. "After all, Reiki quite literally translates to 'universal life force'."
To tap into it, she suggests closing your eyes and taking a moment to focus on several full cycles of breath. "Once you feel yourself in a receptive and aware state, visualize healing white light flowing into you from the top of your crown, into your body, and out through your hands," she says. "Allow yourself to be receptive to healing, and as you fill your entire being with this loving healing energy, emit that energy outwards into the room you're in, and the people you're around. Once you've concluded the session, you can bring the hands into a prayer position and bring gratitude to your heart, thanking this healing energy."
Many cleansing practices include salt, too. Certified feng shui consultant Safrina Kadri, for example, leans heavily on what's known in feng shui as a "saltwater cure" for home cleansing purposes. "We use it to absorb negative energy," she says.
Saltwater cures are super simple and convenient to make. All you need is a glass jar (e.g. a pasta sauce jar), salt, water, and six coins (as in, money). Fill the jar almost all the way up with salt, then add the six coins and top the whole thing off with water. Do not cover.
You can set an intention or say a cleansing prayer with the jar if you'd like, says Kadri. "Then just place it in the area that you feel there's negativity," she says. "This year, you should place it in the southeast and northwest corners of the home, because those two directions are the most negative for 2021." It's also important not to place it somewhere your kids or pets can get ahold of it, and to make sure it's in an open space as opposed to, say, a pantry.
Once it's been placed, Kadri says it's important not to touch it. "The salt cure is there to absorb the negative energy," she says. "If you touch the water in there or if you touch the crystallization, you're basically re-absorbing it." What should happen, over time, is that the concoction in the jar starts to crystallize. "You can visibly see it absorbing the negative energy because it will start to glow," says Kadri. When you are ready to remove it from your home, she recommends using gloves, dumping it outside of your home, and then getting rid of the jar.
Jordi uses salt in one of their cleansing practices as well. "I take a mixture of herbs that are just really speaking to me, and I mix those herbs with coarse salt," they say. "And after my floors are clean, I'll put a sprinkle of that mixture in all the corners of my rooms. Then I do that on the outside of the house, too."
"Crystals are a great way to shift the energy in a space," says Valle. "If the intention is to clear any negative energy, black tourmaline, onyx, and smoky quartz are wonderful for their ability to ground, protect and cleanse," she says. Jordi, meanwhile, likes selenite for energy cleansing purposes.
"It should also be noted that because crystals retain the energy they absorb, it's good practice to cleanse them as well, which can be done by bathing them in the moonlight," Valle adds.
7. Essential oils
Of course, essential oils can also be used to cleanse a space, too. Jordi likes to put their oil obsession du jour on their hands while changing their bedsheets in order to infuse the bed with that oil's cleansing energy.
How to set an intention for your cleansing prayer for your home
1. Use a Feng Shui mantra
Laura Cerrano, a certified feng shui consultant at Feng Shui Manhattan, practices Bon Tantric Buddhism Feng Shui (BTB), also known as Black Sect Buddhism Feng Shui, which encourages the use of a mantra such as, “Om Ma Ni Pad Me Hum" for house cleansing.
"By reciting this mantra 27 times within your home, it's believed you are helping to re-program the energetic imprint of the space by sending unconditional love and compassion to flow through your environment," she says. Typically, Cerrano adds, the mantra will be paired with a "sacred hand gesture," such as prayer position.
"While the mantra is being recited, you can also envision and feel that type of benevolent energy and good intentions you have set for yourself and the home come to life before they exist on the earth plane," she says. You can either recite this mantra at the center, or heart, of your home or, if you feel called, do it once in the center of each room. "What works best for you can depend on how your intuition guides you," Cerrano says.
2. Communicate with the spirit of your house
In the practice of BTB, Cerrano says it is believed that every home has a spirit or guardian. "In essence, the spirit of the home has the capability to influence the energy of the location depending on how the occupants choose to interact with the home," she says. To find out how you're interacting with the spirit of your home, Cerrano says to ask yourself how well you are caring for it, and what emotions you're projecting into it. "All these subtle interactions add up to a level of communication with the spirit of the home that will either reflect back to you as feeling supportive or not," she says. "A common saying in the feng shui community is, 'Take care of your home, and your home will take care of you'."
To illustrate this idea, she says to imagine you've just taken ownership of a new home. Rather than barging in, knocking down walls, etc., she says it's ideal to first converse with the home's spirit. "Think of this as if you are communicating with another human with whom you are about to embark into a new relationship," she says. "Introduce yourself, and let the spirit of the home know that you are there to help take care of the home while also bringing joy, love, compassion, etc. into its energy field."
In BTB, she adds, this new union is celebrated by displaying a fresh bouquet of pink roses to symbolize new beginnings and love. "Next to the pink roses, you could also arrange three to nine oranges inside a bowl, to symbolize good luck and prosperity," Cerrano says.
3. Conduct a petition
If talking directly to your house is a bit too out there for you, but you like the spiritual communion approach, you can talk to any "being" you like instead. "For those who are comfortable with reciting a prayer, you can recite your intention as more of a petition directed towards any deities or powers that you feel connected to," recommends abundance coach Sameer Reddy.
There are, of course, those who don't follow a particular tradition. For those people, Reddy recommends reciting a general cleansing prayer. "You could simply say: 'Sacred and holy ones, please clear this place of stagnant and negative energy,'" he says. "And after you are finished working, you can thank them for their help." According to him, it's a solid stand-in that'll do the job just fine.
4. Place written intentions under a lit candle
Valle, meanwhile, likes to keep this portion of the program pretty simple. "If you are trying to bring new energy into a new home, or welcoming a new job, baby, partner, etc., writing down intentions and placing them under a lit candle near an east-facing window is a really lovely ritual," she says. "East-facing is important here because it symbolizes new life; it's where the sun rises which brings us new days and opportunities." Alternatively—as mentioned above—she loves using the simple mantra: "Into the light for the highest good."
Originally published April 3, 2019, with reporting by Rachel Lapidos.
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