Wow, it’s 2018! Between all the changes the past year has brought and the head-long rush into the holiday season, I often find myself rather unceremoniously dumped into a new year not quite knowing how I got there. Whenever I find myself feeling dazed and out of step with time, I remember the importance of slowing down. To that end, I’ve developed a few rituals that bring me into the present moment and also set the stage for a fresh state of mind. One of my favorites is clearing my home of all the stale accumulated energies (and smells) that have collected over the last year. I do this with fragrance and fire, using a smoldering bundle of White Sage to wash away impurities, sadness, anxieties, dark thoughts and any unwanted energies or emotions that may be clinging to a space or individual. I find this an especially nice way to welcome in and prepare for a new year. The simple act of lighting the sage, blowing on it gently until it smolders, and walking the sage around my home puts me profoundly in the present moment and clears my mind of mental chatter.   

The act of smudging is an ancient ceremony, practiced all over the world. The fragrant materials may differ depending on the geography and culture—ancient Egyptians favored Khyphi and Native Americans White Sage and Sweet Grass—but the one thing that remains the same is the specific intention to clear and bless a space or person.   

The process is simple: chose your favorite, fragrant combustible—whether a bundle of White Sage, a sliver of Palo Santo, or simply a stick of ready-made incense—set it alight, blow out the flames and let it smolder. Be sure to have a fire-proof vessel handy to catch any ash or sparks. With your now smoldering incense, walk through the space you wish to purify with the clear intention of dispelling any negative energies with the smoke. I like to carry the incense into each corner and any closets of a room I’m clearing.   

There’s a wonderful alternative for those of you that have people or animal friends in your home that may object to the smoke of smudging:  The Golden Lotus Electric Incense Heater by Mermade Magickal Arts. This beautiful incense heater has an adjustable thermostat that allows for gentle heating of incense materials which results in less smoke and more fragrance. It is by far my favorite way to enjoy resins like frankincense, myrrh, and opoponax. Frankincense in particular is a favorite all through the winter months; in addition to the beauty of its fragrance, it also great for a cold. It can help eliminate phlegm in the lungs.  It also acts as an anti-inflammatory in the nasal passages, making breathing easier, even for those with allergies or asthma. The scent is cleansing, refreshing and relaxing and clears away the anxiety and stress that frequently accompanies being ill. 

Amber's Incense Chest,