When you enter someone’s home or office, part of you automatically notes how it feels. Conscious or not, this awareness seems to be a survival mechanism, keeping you alert for protection and safety.

Illness, violence, arguments, drug use and dark thoughts and moods can all influence the energy of a place negatively, creating an oppressive air, just as love, generosity, peace and other positive factors can make a place feel good and safe.

Sometimes I meander through our neighborhood open houses to satisfy my curiosity about our local property values. These homes all speak to me about their dwellers. In some of them, the energy is such that it’s hard to breathe. If realtors were aware of how this energy affects unconscious of potential buyers, they would clear the home energy first, before putting it on the market.

Clearing a place serves to reset the energy. Just because you can’t see energy doesn’t mean it’s not there. So, just as you would clean dirty floors in a new home, it’s important to clean the energy before you bring in any belongings. Otherwise, you’re living in someone else’s energetic dirt.

I once toured a famous historic home near Boston. Our small group was told about its original owners – folks who lived there when the first shot “heard ‘round the world” occurred. It was one of those places I had trouble breathing in, which is one sign that the energy was stagnant. When we entered an upstairs bedroom, I could not only feel illness in the air, I could smell it. I said, “Someone had a long illness, probably died in this room.” The tour guide and the others looked at me as if I’d grown a second head. The guide then confirmed that an older woman had died there. I knew part of her was still hanging around.

The energy of folks doesn’t go out the door when they leave. It clings to walls, drapery, furniture and carpet. It hangs in the air. So whenever I’ve relocated, I’ve always tried to find out what was going on with the former tenants. How was their relationship? Their finances? Their mood?

This coincides with the ancient practice of Feng Shui, which advises us to know the history of the home and its inhabitants before moving in. For example, if someone was ill or fell upon desperate times, financially or otherwise, it’s inadvisable to move in behind them because the same thing can touch you.

This can work positively as well. In one home I lived in – a two-story duplex – each of two consecutive downstairs tenants began as a single woman and moved out a newlywed.

We aren’t always going to know what happened in a place before we move in. This is why I would clear any home or building as a rule – just to play it safe. Clean thoroughly. Wipe down walls. Shampoo carpets and floors. Let fresh air blow through each and every room. Bring in as much natural light as possible. Sounds, chanting, singing, living plants, fresh flowers and certain crystals are also helpful in moving and transforming energy.

In tougher cases, where something seems strange or you know there was negativity or death, use additional clearing techniques. The main one I use comes from the Native American tradition and was explained to me years ago by a medicine man in the hills near Lake Arrowhead. A friend had just bought a fixer-upper nearby, and the place had a dreadful energy. It was so bad, we didn’t want to enter one of the rooms at all. We wanted the medicine man to come to the house, but he said it wasn’t a good day for him and, besides, we could do it ourselves with a smudge stick – a tight bundle of white sage.

To use a smudge stick (sometimes called a “sage wand”), first open all of the windows (if it’s windy, just a crack will do), as well as all cabinets and closet doors. Light the tips of the sage with a match, then blow out the flame so the wand lightly smokes. Walk counterclockwise around the home or apartment, into each room. Allow each corner, cupboard and closet to receive the smoke. When finished, pass by again in a clockwise direction.

Sage alone creates a void, so it’s a good idea to use another herb blended with it – for instance, lavender or sweet grass. This pulls in a more positive energy as the older, stagnant energy exits. If you just have straight sage, use your intention to bring in higher, more positive energy. Our medicine man also advised us to throw sea salt in the corners of the house for good measure and leave white candles burning (with supervision).

While there are many different variations on how to clear a space, I’ve found that a thorough cleaning combined with the simple use of sage is usually enough.

Christina Grant, PhD

Read more by Dr. Grant on her blog, Dr. Grant Holistic


Image by Krassy Can Do It, via Flickr

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