The Miracle of Space Clearing
Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Charmed Life Chronicles
Victoria Moran 

This evening I was blessed with a house blessing — well, condo blessing: a space clearing ritual performed by Donna Henes, "Mama Donna, the Urban Shaman." We've lived here nine months, the longest I've gone without a house blessing in the past twenty years. It was past due. When I called Mama Donna, she suggested this date because of the new moon. When I mentioned it to Shelley Ackerman, astrologer extraordinaire, she told me that it's also the solar eclipse in Cancer, which hasn't happened since 1990, and before that,1971. Because Cancer rules home, this is a perfect time for space clearing. I love it when things work out like that.

For the ritual, Mama Donna blessed me with some lovely oil to the crown chakra. Then we cleared each room—including closets, cupboards, cabinets, corners, under the beds — by burning a cedar frond. Burning the more traditional sage works, too; cedar is an alternative and smells less like the Bulldog Cafe in Amsterdam. My intention during the process was everything, she said.

She also used chunks of bluing, the stuff our grandmothers — for some, great-grandmothers — used in the wash to get whites whiter and colors brighter. It's a natural mineral used around the world in ritual as well as laundry. Mama Donna dissolved a chunk in water and sprinkled the areas that had first been smudged with the cedar smoke.

She left me with more bluing chunks to continue the clearing over time, and she gave me a fascinating little plant called a rose of Jericho, also known as a "resurrection plant." When she opened the bag, it was a dry ball of plant fibers, but once placed it water, it started to open and within twenty minutes it had bloomed to its full circumference. Donna explained that it would absorb negative energy and, as the water evaporates, it would close up again, trapping and "metabolizing" the bad energy like a psychic Venus flytrap. She said to allow the rose of Jericho to stay dry for a while after this happens, as it would in its native desert environment, and then place it again in water. This gives a whole new meaning to the word "perennial": she's had one of these plants on her altar for eight years.

Some people would say that this is all superstition or the placebo effect, but I feel a difference, a lightness in the rooms of our home. When my husband gets back from the movies (he's not a ritual kind of guy), I'll be interested to see if he feels it, too. Bobby, our cat, is already mellower, and mellow is not a word one would usually choose to describe him. All in all, it's as if a janitorial crew just came in and did a deep cleaning, but instead of cleaning walls and windows, the stale energy and negative emotions were just scrubbed away.

If you'd like to give yourself the pleasure of this experience, you can contact Mama Donna or someone like her in your area, or do it yourself. A couple of helpful books on the subject are Space Clearing, by Denise Linn, and Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, by Karen Kingston. Happy clearing.

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