In feng shui, the best spaces are the ones with the most positive, peaceful, free-flowing energy. When that energy gets blocked, we feel blocked too.
If you've been feeling uninspired, lethargic, chaotic, or otherwise "off," a space-clearing ritual may be just what you need to reinspire your routine and reignite your life. It can help you sweep away any stagnation or unwanted energy hanging in the air around you.
Throughout history, various cultures have practiced space clearing to purge their surroundings of negativity, and many of them have kick-started the process with a sage burning. Nearly everyone I know around the globe has a sage wand that they burn at home, and they instantly feel the difference once they're done. As sage burns, it floods a space with negative ions that create a more positive-feeling environment — like the freshness you feel in the air after a rain shower.
If you're looking to upgrade your own sage wand with herbs that are more exotic, specific, and fun, here are 10 traditional rituals to clear space and welcome in fresh, fantastic energy. Always set an intention for what exactly you'd like to clear from your home before you begin!
Use caution and common sense with these routines. Open your windows before you start and never leave anything burning unattended.
1. Burn cedar for decluttering.
Burning cedar is a great way to smudge the air when you're in the midst of releasing some bad juju. For example, when you finally get rid of bad-memory outfits in your closet, burning cedar is a symbolic way to clear the space of their lingering energy. Likewise, if you buy antiques or vintage objects, you can wave cedar smoke over them to clear them of their previous owner's energies.
2. Burn yerba santa for loving vibes.
Yerba santa has traditionally been burned to help heal broken hearts. The herb is also great to incorporate into your home-smudging ritual if you're just starting to practice more self-love and self-care.
3. Burn rosemary for new beginnings.
Rosemary is often burned to create a "fresh start" in life. Whether it's breaking a habit, embarking on a new path, or opening up to more creativity, powerful and fragrant rosemary can help open doors to the new.
4. Burn mugwort for dreamy nights.
Mugwort sounds a bit like something you'd read about in a fantasy novel, and its effects are equally fantastic! Burning mugwort in your bedroom is thought to enhance dreams, especially lucid, adventurous ones!
5. Burn juniper for comfort.
Burn juniper if you're looking to feel more comfortable in your home. As its smoke flows through a space, it's thought to create a more sacred energy.
6. Burn resins for purification.
Resins like frankincense and myrrh have been burned in purification rituals throughout history. The resin itself won't ignite easily, so to burn it, you'll need a charcoal puck to sit it on. To burn resins, light the edge of the charcoal puck with a long match or lighter and place it on a nonflammable surface, such as sand. Give it a minute to heat up, then sprinkle a small amount of resin on top. (Keep watch on this as it burns — the charcoal is fiery red hot.)
The smoke of frankincense is thought to carry prayers to heaven in its smoke. It's also used to quiet a racing mind, making it useful for meditation. The incense may have health benefits as well, as the smoke it produces is antibacterial.
Myrrh is used to still the mind and align the energy centers of the body, so it's also popular for burning before meditations. Like frankincense, it may also have medicinal effects.
7. Burn Palo Santo for prosperity.
Palo Santo is a sacred wood that comes from the Palo Santo tree indigenous to the coast of South America. Shamans have traditionally used it to clear negative energy and increase love and prosperity. It burns fairly slowly, and its woodsy scent is rich and inviting.
8. Burn Tibetan Monastery Incense for clarity.
Extracted from 38 Himalayan herbs, Tibetan Monastery is thought to deeply purify space as it burns. It creates more of a calm, clear, meditative sanctuary.
9. Burn sandalwood for grounding.
Simple cones of sandalwood smell delightful as they burn and they fill the air with lots of grounding and centering aromatherapy.
10. Use Himalayan salt lamps.
While you don't technically "burn" these lamps, you can use them to release negative ions into the air and create feelings of peace and prosperity. They are ideal for offices and homes where burning things is not an option, and they're gorgeous as they glow!
Anything you do to clear space, even the simple act of opening a window, will bring more flow into your home and your life, too!