When was the last time you argued with your partner or spouse? How about with your friends? Noticed an increase in your irritation levels lately? Have you seriously considered writing up an ad this week to list your children on craigslist, but were just too busy to do it?
If your answers are: recently, recently, yes, and hell yes, welcome to the club. If your answers are: never, never, no, and hell no…well, are you sure about that?
I know in my house there are definitely times when it feels like the Negativity Fairy took a big deep breath and blew her pissy pixie dust all over everything. (She never cleans up after herself, either.)
What didn’t bother me at all last week is now cause for WWIII in my living room, my children are suddenly (and gleefully) jump roping with my last nerve, and my partner seems to be protesting the very existence of the clothes hamper by her passive-aggressive avoidance of said hamper in favor of the floor on my side of the bed.
Listen…normal stress and irritation happens. It’s part of
having getting to share your life and your space with other living, breathing, stressful, and irritating human beings. The simple joys of having a family, if you will. But sometimes, that level of pissivity ratchets up astronomically in a way that cannot be explained simply by the existence of these other horrid lovely creatures in your home.
So why the sudden shift? The answer may surprise you…
At our core, we are all beings of energy. This means that there is a constant flow of energy within us. It also means there is a constant flow of energy around, through, and connecting us – and it affects you, even if you are not conscious of it.
Especially if you are not conscious of it.
Think of it as different colors of supernatural goo, gliding around unseen in our midst, brushing past us on its way to wherever supernatural goo goes. Black goo passes you here, and leaves a little dust on your elbow. Yellow goo passes on the other side, and leaves a slimy trail all over your right leg. Then you bring that goo home. You smear it on your couch when you sit down, or rub it off on the wall as you walk to your bedroom. Your children sit on that couch cushion, the dog licks the wall, and suddenly it’s spreading through the house like a virus.
What that goo represents are the energies that you pick up from others and your interactions with others throughout your day. Some is wonderful, beautiful energy that pumps you up or raises your spirits on a down day. But some is horrible, selfish, ugly, negative energy that latches on to you and becomes that unwelcome houseguest – much like the uncle that inevitably sticks one hand down his unbuttoned pants while loafing on your couch at Thanksgiving, and insists on putting his bare, hairy feet up on your $700 coffee table, right next to the chip and dip.
This does not necessarily mean you have brought home a nasty ghost or spirit. I am not talking about a sentient entity. But negative energy in itself can cause enough trouble all on its own, and if you think about all the different places you go, people you see, conversations you have…there are plenty of opportunities for picking up plenty of spiritual goo. Multiply that by the number of people in your household, and that is a lot of stinky, hairy uncle feet on your collective coffee table.
No one knows how it works, exactly. It can come from that guy in the office next to you that leaves so little coffee in the pot every single day so that it burns to the bottom, but just enough that he can beg off making a new pot; or the kid at school who’s giving your child all kinds of crap because he got new glasses. It could even come from that stranger you had at your cash register today, pissed beyond measure that you would not take 50% off the price of his pants because there was one stitch missing on the cuff.
Children are especially vulnerable to this, because they are not as naturally ‘on guard’ as adults. Maybe it’s a visit to a divorced parent for the weekend, or your daughter finds out one day that her crush is going steady with her (now former) best friend. Whatever the cause, they come home from the day’s – or weekend’s – journey, hang up their bag, plop down on the couch, and unknowingly unleash a total shitstorm of epic negativity. But where does it really come from?
There are plenty of theories out there about where and how negative energy originates, and whether a large enough presence of it could create an actual negative entity. History certainly has its examples of legend, such as Golems or Tulpas, but there is no definitive evidence of their existence. The long and short of it is – we don’t know. We don’t know where it comes from, how it transfers, or how it decides who wins the nasty piggyback ride today.
But really, it’s not important to know the hows and whys to know how to manage it. What’s important is to be able to recognize it and know what to do when it’s found out. Because the one undisputed absolute in all of this is that allowing that negative energy to continue its little vacation with you and the family can affect your entire household, every relationship in it and around it, and even your mental health in a very detrimental way.
So, what’s a positive person to do?
First and foremost, it is imperative that you understand this – if you are not taking measures to protect yourself and your children spiritually and energetically before venturing out into the world, you can almost count on at least a little negativity hitching a ride home for dinner.
(I will be doing a separate piece on protection soon, because honestly, that’s a whole ‘nuther talk show.)
And if you are not slowing down enough to pay attention to the collective energy in your home, and taking steps to rid your space of anything ugly come to roost on a regular basis, it’s only going to get worse.
Because here’s the sneakiest thing about this particular unwelcome guest – it feeds on the results of that pissy pixie dust. The more you argue, the more resentful you get, the louder you yell at your children…the stronger the negative energy gets, and the larger it grows. Please, don’t feed the hairy uncle feet.
Fortunately, the steps you can take to clear your household, as well as any supernatural yuck hanging around your family members (including the furry ones), are easy and do not call for elaborate rituals or supplies. Unless you just prefer that kind of thing of course. In which case – knock yourself out.
(I cannot in good faith, however, guarantee any results from these steps as related your actual insufferable uncle. But you do have my sympathy.)
The very first thing you need to have in your arsenal is confidence. See? The first item is free! You need to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that what has followed you and your family home is an intruder of sorts, and you need to treat it as such. Would you kindly ask a robber coming through your kitchen window to please just go away and leave you alone? Or would you grab the nearest heavy object and beat the hell out of him while dialing 911 with your big toe?
It’s the same thing when dealing with spirits or energies – you have to be confident you can rid yourself and your home of these things, and be strong in the belief that you have what it takes to protect your home. Because you do.
What is needed once you’ve put on your very best negative-energy-ass-kicking hat is largely a matter of personal preference. Some people choose to simply use their voice, will, and intent, and are able to rid their space and family of negative juju with great success. Others need more, either because an actual ritual gives them confidence that it’s working, they work better when having ritual items to help them focus, or there is something hanging out that their personal demands just cannot seem to remove by themselves.
White sage has a long, long history of being used in purification, divination, protection, and banishment of all kinds of nasty. It is relatively easy to obtain from either your local metaphysical shop, online, or sometimes even at natural food stores.
(Note: I highly recommend locating at least one metaphysical shop in your area because they are more likely to carry other items listed throughout this article, and the staff is going to be very knowledgeable regarding what will best suit your individual needs.)
The coolest thing about white sage is that you can light the tip of a bundle, blow it out, and let it smolder. If you keep blowing on it, it will continue to burn until you stop, like fire embers. Once you quit ‘fanning the flame’, it will go out on it’s own. Sweet, huh?
So take your lovely, smoldering bundle of white sage and walk through every part of your house, spreading the smoke around the rooms – especially around doorways, beds, and windows. Some people use a paper fan or even a ritual fan made from feathers (designed specifically for sage rituals) to distribute the smoke, but you can just use your hand if you really don’t feel like spending money on anything else. And if you want a little better coverage than your hand provides and still don’t want to spend money, you can get really creative and just use one of those bills stacking up on that corner over there that you know you’re never going to pay. Anything that allows you to direct the flow of smoke will work, even if it’s a notice that your cable’s about to be shut off.
This ancient process is called “smudging”. (I’m not really sure why, because you don’t actually touch anything with the sage, and it certainly doesn’t leave any smudges on your walls or belongings…but I digress.) While you are walking through the house, smudging like a boss, create a short, concise affirmation that you can repeat easily– something to the effect that this is a positive space and no negativity is allowed here.
My personal cleansing mantra is, “This is a holy place of Love and Light. No evil, no negativity, no darkness may abide here. Only energy that is of the Light is welcome. Dark energy is not tolerated, nor permitted – you are not welcome in this place. This is a holy space, filled only with Love and Light.” Repeating this over and over as you smudge each room in the home or other space with the white sage is a great way to cleanse and protect what is yours.
There are other herbs that are often used in the banishment of negativity and/or protection, and these can be burned as well. My top five picks are rosemary, Solomon’s Seal, mistletoe (stems), whole cloves, and elder berries. You can generally find most if not all of these wherever you located the white sage – either online or at the metaphysical shop.
Note: You need not buy loose white sage for this method if you do not already have it. You can simply remove part of the sage from your bundle and crumble the leaves into a sealable baggie. Instant loose sage. You’re welcome.
If you want to utilize this method of burning multiple herbs, you will need some additional supplies. First, you need to purchase a roll of charcoal disks, also available – you guessed it! – online or at the metaphysical shop. Then you will need to procure something that can withstand intense heat, such as a cast iron cauldron or mini-cauldron (yes, I said cauldron), pottery or stonework that has been made to be heat resistant, or even a cast iron skillet, if that’s all you have. Your local shop will have vessels specific to this kind of thing if you want to purchase something, but most people I have tutored have an existing item in their home that works just fine.
Note: Do NOT, under any circumstance, burn a charcoal disk in a glass bowl, container, ashtray, or any other glass item. The intense heat from the charcoal and its ability to burn for an extended period of time WILL shatter the glass, shooting shards everywhere, and making a giant, injury-inducing mess. I have scars from my days as a novice to prove it.
Once you have all these items (and a lighter or matches, of course), hold the charcoal disk carefully in one hand, sunken side up, and hold the flame to the edge of it. It takes a minute to catch (just like in a grill), but you’ll know it’s lit when you see a thin line of orange sparks start to move across it. When this happens, set it carefully in the receptacle of your choice, and wait for all the sparks to die down.
Once the charcoal is done sparking, it’s ready to place the herbs on to burn. I generally start with the white sage, then rosemary, then Solomon’s Seal. That’s my go-to mixture, but you can also add in mistletoe and cloves, and then the elder berries last, if you want. As these burn on the charcoal, there will be a great deal of smoke (and a heavenly scent, in my humble opinion), which you carry around the house and use in the same manner as you would the smoking sage bundle, complete with affirmations.
As the herbs burn out, you will need to replenish them periodically. Use the end of your lighter or a knife or some other tool that is NOT your finger to scoot the spent herbs/ashes off the charcoal, and then begin anew with a fresh batch.
Note: If I’m doing a full house cleansing like this, I’ll typically carry a bag or small handkerchief in my pocket containing whatever herb mixture I’m using so I have my restocking supply on hand.
There are also many crystals associated with banishing/protection/transmutation of negative energy. The top selections are amethyst – protection and transmutation of negative energy into positive, black tourmaline – grounding and protection, smoky quartz – protection and banishing, black onyx – protection, grounding, and banishing, and obsidian – extreme protection and banishing. Carrying these stones with you, laying them around your house for protection, or placing them outside in your yard (buried, preferably) are all great ways to help peel off any negativity brought home after your cleansing before it even makes it in the door. I’ll just let you take a guess at where you might find these crystals. (hint: online or at the metaphysical store)
Note: Obsidian is an extremely powerful stone. For some (like me), it is almost impossible to hold, due to the massive ability it has to bring long-buried emotions bubbling to the surface. There is a gentler form of obsidian, called an apache tear, that is a viable alternative and incredibly potent for protection purposes, as well.
The most important thing to remember – whether it’s battling negative energy propping its hairy uncle feet up in your living room, or an actual, unwanted, sentient entity – is that YOU hold the power. You are the one in the flesh, the one who is able to combat and compel that which is intangible. I cannot stress enough how important it is to keep this in mind. I have a saying in my practice…”The one with the body always wins.” And it’s true. I always approach a spiritual situation by showing respect to the energy or entity present, but when something shows me it’s ugly, and it’s time to get down and dirty with it, the fleshy one (that would be me) ultimately has the upper hand (the only hand, really, if you think about it).
It may take more than one cleansing to get your desired results – maybe even more than five. But eventually you will gain the strength and confidence you need to be able to protect your family spiritually and emotionally from any stray spiritual goo, and you will come out the victor.
But in the meantime, hey – get your feet off that table.
Follow more from this author, Jeni Cantrell, Spiritual Advisor, LGBT Activist @ Jenibeanstalk.blogspot.com
PR/Media Director, T.R.I.P., Inc. @ tripinc.org (Texas Research and Investigations of the Paranormal)