Both Karen Kingston and Denise Linn claim to have coined the modern term “space clearing”. But the practice it represents is an ancient tradition found in many parts of the world.
It is a ritual to cleanse the energy of a space on a metaphysical level. Although the ritual can differ among traditions, typically elements of nature are symbolically used to cleanse the ethers.
Over the last decade, I’ve embraced regular space clearing as I view my home as a sacred space. And purifying the energy is as important to me as cleaning the dirt and grime.
Our homes are containers for our emotions. Over time, the predominant energies of the residents become imprinted into the fabric of the building. This is why visitors to a place can actually feel whether a home is happy or sad.
When we’re cleaning up energy, we’re dealing with something we can’t see. And so we clean differently to cleaning up the physical elements of the space that we can see. We use sound, air, and water. And we use our intention, which is also energetically potent.
Space clearing is the perfect completion to spring cleaning, but it can be used more frequently than that. A mini cleansing is a good practice if you consciously treat your home as a sacred space.
It’s beneficial to space clear after an argument, illness, or traumatic event. It can also be helpful when going through a life-changing transition.
And when you move into a new home, it’s a great practice to clear the space of the previous resident’s energy. I do it too when moving out of a home to help me move on energetically.
When doing a mini-cleanse, I either smudge with sage or incense or use sound with a Tibetan bowl. For a full space clearing ritual, though, I set up a mini altar and do several rounds with different elements.
With Imbolc around the corner, this weekend would be a lovely time to perform a space clearing ceremony. If you’re new to this and you’d like some pointers, I’m outlining my own ritual here for your guidance.
Set up a temporary altar
Clear a surface and place a candle on it. Add your sage or incense, and a bowl or spray bottle of water. If you have a singing bowl, a bell, or a loud rattle, add them.
If you were to hire a space-clearing professional, they would use these kinds of tools. But there is no need to rush out and buy them — use what you have to hand. Over time, if you find yourself space-clearing regularly, you could invest in some of these items.
You’ll also want a pen and a piece of paper, on which to write your intention for the ceremony. For this, bring to mind what you want to clear out of your life right now and what you would like to invite in its place.
For example, if you’ve been feeling stuck in your life recently, you could intend to clear out all energetic stagnation — in your home and your personal energy field — and make way for new opportunities to unfold.
If you’ve been feeling depressed, you could intend to clear out all lower and negative energies that are lingering in your home. Intent that your home feels lighter, and you feel lighter — and better — when you spend time there.
If you’ve been neglecting your home, ignoring things that need fixing, not cleaning regularly, or allowing clutter to accumulate to overwhelming levels, you could set the intention to redress that. To be motivated enough to finally get started with fixing, cleaning, decluttering — whatever your home needs to be a happy, healthy, peaceful environment.
With your intention clear in your mind, write it on the slip of paper.
Light your candle, take a long slow breath, and declare your intention to yourself. Out loud is best, but silently works too.
Clearing with sound
Holding your intention in your mind and heart, stand inside the front door of your home. Then move through it in a clockwise direction, using sound to loosen stuck vibrations.
If you do not have a bowl or bell, you can do this by clapping your hands up and down the walls. You might notice a different sound and feel to the clapping in different spots. It might feel a bit thuddier (made-up word alert), particularly in corners or cluttered areas. If you do, clap a bit more until it sounds and feels a bit crisper.
In cluttered areas, the vibration might not change. If that’s the case, keep moving and make a mental note to declutter that area afterward.
If you have a large home, particularly if you have high ceilings, the clapping can be tiring. Another alternative is to use a saucepan and wooden spoon. Bang the wooden spoon in the pot, again up and down the walls as you move around your home in a clockwise direction.
Needless to say, this is a noisy technique. But that doesn’t matter. The purpose is to use the sound vibrations to get ‘stuck’ energy unstuck and moving again.
After you’ve completed a round of the whole house, it would be good to do a second round with a lighter sound if you can. This time use something that tinkles rather than clangs. (Keep an eye out in thrift shops, where you might find a small brass bell in the knick-knack section.)
Clearing with air
With the noisy element passed and stagnation starting to shift, open a window in each room. (If you don’t have very nearby neighbors, feel free to do this at the beginning of your ceremony.)
Now, light a stick of incense or a bundle of white sage. Return to your front door, and center your intention in your mind again. Repeat the clock-wise round of your home, wafting the sage or incense into every corner.
Complete this stage on each level of your home.
Once you’re finished, return to your altar and use the sage or incense to cleanse your own aura before you quench it.
Clearing with water
Once again, return to the inside of your front door and bring your intention back to mind.
Now begin another round of your home, this time spraying or flicking drops of water into the space.
As with the other stages, complete on all levels of your home.
Return to your altar and pick up the piece of paper with your intention written on it. Read it over and declare your gratitude to your home for being a safe space to release what no longer serves you and invite in what does.
If you wish, you can burn this piece of paper. I like to close the ceremony by chanting Om three times.
Once complete, blow out your candle and remove all altar items to their normal storage places.
If you have a large home, the full ceremony probably won’t appeal too often. But it would be a great practice to mark the turning of the seasons.
And a mini-cleanse with one element is something we could all do regularly. I often do it at Full Moon or New Moon.
Space clearing reminds me that my home plays an integral role in my well-being. And I want to deliberately honor that through physical cleaning and energetic clearing.
If it’s new to you, I invite you to regard this as self-care and give it a go. It certainly can’t hurt.