I believe in magic AND i believe in science so when it comes to house witching or sacred cleansing, my approach is super pragmatic; remove actual trash and yick, declutter, clean thoroughly and then do your deeper cleanse of sage smudging, Tibetan bell banging, whatever. And never ever to try and do the psychic bit without the prep.
Fun Fact: What the Chinese call Qi – the Ancient Greeks/Romans called Quintessence, the mysterious the element. Even NASA refer to it here. And anyway, deep cleaning your environment is one way of working with it. Feng Shui is something else again. Building on house witching, it basically acupunctures your house, activating certain meridians and toning others down, again working with Quintessence or Dark Matter, as NASA would have it.
In the absence of household particle colliders and the like, adhering to the wisdom of the Ancients on this is really all we have. So i was intrigued but also bemused by finding this post on tumblr by a witch dude articulating concerns about appropriating cultures not our own. For instance, he says that sage (the most commonly used herb for so-called smudging) is a native American plant/deity (entheogen is the technical term) and that we should not be wafting it about if we are not of or initiated into that culture.
His post is in depth and worth reading but definitely raises some questions. Is it insulting to utilize a herb or remedy not of your culture in your magic? And who among us has been initiated into an indigenous tribe and carefully instructed in the ways of the craft? The same Tumblr post also warns against “appropriating” the magical floor washes so popular now as these are apparently of the “hoochie” tradition – so does this mean NO to flinging in some magical essential oils or yes if they are of “my” culture? I was introduced to smudging by someone who was absolutely passionate about ancient wisdoms and indigenous peoples – it was her career as a publisher and champion of their work but so far as i know, she is anglo-celtic.
So…juniper not sage? And where does this leave Tibetan bells? I am genuinely interested in whether other people think the using of sage and similar plants IS appropriation? FYI you can buy sage smudge sticks at Wal-Mart now so the witch dude may have a point when he talks about the commercialization of magic. OR is it good that something so rad is going more mainstream? Thoughts?
Image: Jonas McIlwaine