It’s been a funny sort of month. A mixed bag, if you will. Oh, nothing too full on awful – simply a combination of things that have left me feeling a bit down, less inspired than usual. But really, who am I to complain? With the state of the world as it is, I know that I, in my comfortable life, am very fortunate. Plus, I think a post with me burbling on about general feelings of malaise just wouldn’t be that interesting, to be honest.
So today I decided to make some magic. Now, before we go any further, I don’t consider myself any sort of expert practitioner. I have read and experienced some fairly esoteric things, and I certainly believe in Shakespeare’s assertion that ‘there are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.’ I’m also open to the idea of changing one’s energy, of choosing to pursue a more positive path. I know that there are things in life for which it is just not possible or easy to say ‘oh well, I choose to be positive about this,’ but for general feelings of just being a bit down, a bit off, I believe that focus and a positive attitude can make a difference.
And so what is magic, after all? There are varied schools of thoughts on this, but most seem to agree that it comprises both intent and ritual. Intent, in that there is something you wish to achieve, and ritual, a series of steps which focus power and attract the right sort of energy to get things done. And when you think about it, intent is another word for choice, at least when it pertains to our own lives. And ritual is a route to focus, which is what we need to effect change.
Our whole family has been sick this month with a virus that refuses to go away, mutating and moving from head to throat to chest, a fever that comes and goes, chills and tiredness. A month of spluttering and coughing and broken sleep, the house closed against the cold weather. So this morning I woke up and said to my husband, ‘I think I might smudge the house today.’ He nodded in agreement. You see, we’ve had success with this ritual before. When we bought our first house in Australia, it was a busy time. We were both working and living in Melbourne, planning our wedding, then heading down the coast on weekends to renovate our new place, supposedly getting away from the bustle and stress of city living. Yet, every time I slept in our new house, I had the most awful blood-soaked nightmares, the kind from which you wake shaking, wondering what the hell is going on. Our new neighbours had told us some of the history of the house and its previous owners, and what was clear was that it was a place that had not been loved for quite some time. So I decided to give smudging a try. I had read about it but never tried it before – if you’re not familiar with the practice, it involves burning a tightly tied bunch of herbs (usually sage and/or lavender) then wafting the smoke through the rooms of the house, letting open windows take the smoke away and with it any ‘bad energy’ that might be bringing the place down. So I smudged our little beach house, lavender and sage wafting through and out into the blue yonder. Then I slept the most peaceful sleep I’d had there. We ended up living in that house for seven years, and people would always comment on what a nice feel it had. The nightmares never returned, either.
What’s really interesting about smudging is that, even though it’s an ancient practice dating back several thousand years, scientific research has recently discovered that the medicinal smoke generated by the burning herbs actually does cleanse the air of harmful bacteria and pathogens, with the effects lasting up to a month after the initial smudging process. Sounds about perfect for a house full of sick people, don’t you think? So this morning I dug out my smudge stick, picked some extra herbs and flowers then took advantage of the fresh breeze, opening doors and windows and letting the warm scent of burning sage fill the rooms. The house certainly does feel fresher, so it will be interesting to see how my family react when they get home later. And, interestingly, my mood has lifted with the cleansing, my writing kicking back into gear.
That seems pretty magical, don’t you think?