One of the most common questions we get is about how to spiritually and energetically cleanse negative energy from your house and self! This is a great question to ask because it’s one of the most important and foundational aspects of a spiritual practice.
Cleansing has become more and more of a mainstream practice in the last few years – it seems like you can find sage bundles at every little boutique shop these days. I think this is wonderful since it can be so helpful for people of all spiritual beliefs and can help keep us all feeling our best!
How to Cleanse A Space (Energetically and Spiritually) To Remove Negative Energy In House
In this article, we’re going to talk about what is cleansing, why and when you should do it, and several methods you can try, including which methods and terms are not considered ethical and alternatives to them.
What Is Cleansing?
Cleansing, also known as purification, is the practice of clearing out and releasing negative energy, as well as energy that’s just old, stale, stagnant, or no longer serving you. Some people refer to this as “energetic hygiene” because it’s not just something you do when a negative experience has occurred but really something that can and should be done on a regular basis.
This can be true for just about everyone, but is especially important for those who are empathic or very sensitive to the energies and emotions of others.
We’ve all walked into a room and immediately thought: woah, this place has bad vibes. Or even just weird, funky energy, right? Whether it was a room in your own home or your new place, at a friend’s house, or in a public setting, you might have felt unsettled and on edge but been unsure what to do about it.
This is where cleansing comes in! Cleansing is a ceremony or ritual that you can do whenever the vibes are feeling off and you know it’s time for a refresh. This is about clearing out the old and making way for new, fresh energy to flow. Spaces and objects can pick up the energy of the people that move through them and cleansing helps to keep that energy from lingering long term.
For example, if you’ve been sick for a week but you’re finally feeling better, you might feel the urge to wash all the linens and open all the windows. This is about both physical and energetic hygiene – we want to wash away the illness and also the stagnant, sickly energy you felt while stuck on the couch for days, feeling miserable.
That misery you felt at feeling crummy, not being able to go to work or school or out with friends, and missing out on your life seeps into the walls and furniture and can keep you feeling gross, even if you’re physically recovered. Cleansing helps to release the germs and the emotions from your illness so you can perk up and move forward.
Why and When Should I Cleanse?
Illness is just one example of when you might want to do a cleansing ritual. Other examples include after an argument or unpleasant conversation, at the end of each season so you can move forward with a fresh start, or after you’ve had visitors to release their energy from your home.
If you practice magick and witchcraft in other capacities, it’s also a good idea to cleanse yourself and your space before and after rituals and spellwork, especially if you’ve communicated with spirits. These are all good examples of how cleansing can help you move on after negative or foreign energy has entered your space.
You can also think of cleansing as a good way to bookend a situation. Maybe you know you have visitors coming to stay in your guest room so you might cleanse the room and hallway before they arrive to protect your space and again after they leave to clear out and release any energy they brought with them. This is definitely a good practice if you know these visitors tend to have negative energy but even if it’s people you love and vibe with, cleansing can still be a good practice to keep the energy in your home clear and flowing.
However, as I mentioned before, it’s a good idea to think of cleansing as an energetic routine, something that you do proactively and not only when something bad happens.
Why? Well, just like physical cleansing or other forms of hygiene, it’s easier to maintain something rather than have to fix it when it breaks. It’s better to brush your teeth and floss twice a day, than to have to get a root canal, right?!
Cleansing works the same way. If you’re regularly cleansing your space, it’s that much harder for negative or unwelcome energy to enter in the first place. Then when something bad does happen or some funky energy comes through, it’s also easier to release it.
It’s also important to note that this goes for your physical and energetic body as well as your home and spaces. Especially those of us who are more intuitive or empathic can be very sensitive to the emotions and energy of others so it’s easy to pick up someone else’s bad mood, anger or sadness, or lack of motivation. Cleansing yourself can be a really powerful way to make sure that you’re always staying in your own energy. Taking a bath or shower at the end of the day is a great way to do this, on their own or coupled with more energetic practices.
Cleansing yourself is also a good option to have on hand when you’re out in public or at a friend’s place and feel the need to clear the energy. Obviously, if you’re in a public setting, you’re probably not going to want to bust out a sage bundle and a lighter and start waving them around but there are a number of more subtle ways to cleanse and protect your energy which I’ll go into in the next section!
Cleansing Methods to Try: How To Cleanse Your House
So we’ve talked about the what and the why of cleansing. Now let’s talk more practically about how to clear and remove negative energy from your home and body!
The most common and popular form of cleansing is with smoke. Some people burn incense or candles, while many burn bundles of dried herbs. These bundles are tied with string so you can easily hold them and are typically lit with a match or lighter on one end and extinguished so they smolder and produce smoke. You can find these bundles in just about every shop these days, as well as online. However, there are several things to be aware of when practicing smoke cleansing.
First of all, the practice of smoke cleansing is a very broad, general ritual found in cultures all over the world. However, it is commonly called “smudging” in the spiritual and retail space which, unfortunately, is a term that has been culturally appropriated from indigenous Americans.
Smudging is not just about burning sage or other herbs to cleanse your space, but is actually a specific sacred ritual utilized by tribes such as the Lakota Sioux, Comanche, Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Navajo. If you were not born into or trained and initiated by a member of one of the tribes that this ritual is sacred to, then what you’re practicing is simply not smudging and should not be referred to as such.
Another very important issue with this is that the true, indigenous smudging ritual typically utilizes sacred white sage which is heavily overharvested due to the immense demand from mostly white, appropriative “spiritual” practitioners. Sage is a wonderful cleansing herb and common garden sage is perfect for smoke cleansing but it’s best to steer clear of cleansing with white sage.
Another common wood that is burned for cleansing is palo santo, which is also overharvested in Peru. The only exceptions would be if you are growing it yourself in your garden or if you’re purchasing cleansing bundles directly from an indigeous artisan. However, I would really encourage you to explore other cleansing plants, especially those that might have been sacred to or native to the region where your own ancestors are from.
So How Can You Practice Smoke Cleansing In A Respectful and Ethical Way?
Luckily, there are lots of options! First off, just don’t call it smudging if you are not indigenous yourself – you can call it smoke cleansing or “saining” which is a Celtic ritual and great for those with Celtic ancestry. Instead of calling the actual bundle a “smudge stick” or “smudge bundle”, you can call them smoke bundles, cleansing bundles, cleansing wands, or cleansing sticks.
Second, choose plants that are native to your own area or to your ancestral regions or just those that have been grown and harvested ethically. Some plants that are excellent for smoke cleansing include garden sage, rosemary, cedar, juniper, lavender, and rose petals, (which can be laid over the side of a bundle of other herbs before binding with string. There’s no obligation to use sage which some people really don’t even enjoy the smell of so feel free to experiment with different plants until you find those that smell wonderful and refreshing to you.
Once you have your smoke bundle picked out, you can use it in a cleansing ritual which can be as simple or as elaborate as you feel called for it to be – trust your intuition on this and go with what feels right!
3 Steps For Cleansing A Space With Smoke
1. You might start by getting grounded: place your feet firmly on the floor, take a deep breath in through your nose, and sigh it out of your mouth. You might open the doors and windows, light some candles, or place some crystals around your space. These are all options but none are required or necessary!
2. Then when you’re ready, light the end of the smoke bundle with a match or a lighter. Gently extinguish it so it begins to produce smoke. Be aware that depending on how long you want the bundle to smolder for, you may need to relight it periodically.
3. You can then wave the smoke around your body or into the corners of a room to cleanse the energy, or place the bundle in a ceramic dish or abalone shell to smolder for a period of time. (Do not walk away from the smoldering bundle and extinguish it completely if you need to leave.) You could walk around the room in a counterclockwise direction to banish negative energy or just sit and soak up the fresh, cleansing energy!
Other Ways To Cleanse Negative Energy Without Smoke
What if you’re not interested in smoke cleansing, though, or if it bothers you or someone in your house or if you aren’t allowed to burn incense or candles in your apartment? There are lots of reasons why smoke cleansing might not be an option for you but don’t worry: there are many other methods of cleansing you can try as well!
Cleansing sprays are an excellent option that you can even carry with you to spritz surreptitiously if the vibes are funky somewhere. These are spray bottles filled with typically witch hazel or Florida water and that might have other essential oils added as well, such as sage, cedar, lavender, or lemon. You can use these like a room spray, spritzing them around your space, or even as a perfume, spritzing them on yourself or your clothing.
Another option is to use salt for cleansing, which is one of the most commonly used purifying and protective element in magick in many different cultures. You can sprinkle salt along doorways and windowsills to protect them from negative energy entering, take a bath with sea salts to cleanse your energetic body, or just keep a small bowl of salt on your altar, mantelpiece, or coffee table to absorb and dispel negativity.
Crystals can also be used as more of a long-term, proactive cleansing practice rather than a specific ritual that you perform. Placing crystals around your home can be beautiful, decorative, and also functional in this way! You can also carry cleansing crystals in your pocket to keep your own aura and the spaces you move through clear too.
Clear quartz, selenite, and black tourmaline are some of the most cleansing crystals. Selenite is perhaps the best option because it actually absorbs and dissipates negativity, so it doesn’t need to be cleansed itself. If using clear quartz, black tourmaline, or another cleansing crystal though, it’s a good idea to pass them through cleansing smoke every few weeks or set them out under the full moon to be cleansed and recharged so that they aren’t holding on to the negative energy they’ve absorbed.
Of course, I would be remiss if I did not also mention physical cleansing. Although it’s important that we clear the energy in our homes, it’s also important to keep ourselves and our spaces tidy and physically hygienic as well. This isn’t just for practical and health reasons, but also helps to keep the energy clear and flowing too.
You might consider coupling physical and energetic cleansing practices together. For example, you can take a bath with sea salts and then visualize any stuck or negative energy washing away down the drain or you can burn a smoke bundle and then open all the doors and windows and sweep the floor, sweeping the physical and energetic dust outside.
Finally, in addition to cleansing, it’s important to also make your space one that is aligned with positivity and love so that as the old, negative energy flows out, new, fresh energy can flow in. You can bring in crystals, objects, and photos that make you feel joyful, verbally and energetically open your space to receiving support, (such as saying out loud, “This space is filled with love and positivity” after cleansing), or working with other, complementary practices such as feng shui.
A regular cleansing practice can help you stay focused, motivated, uplifted, and confident in your own energy and emotions!