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The Medicine

SPIRITUAL CLEARING AND BLESSING – Part 1 Clearing Negative Energy From Home Or Business

Banishing and Blessing are like two sides of the same coin

A Clearing and Blessing Ceremony has two parts – like two sides of a coin. Clearing releases negative energy and sends it back to its source. The Blessing calls in positive energy in the form of prayers, wishes and intentions.

The Clearing expels any negative energy that’s left over in the atmosphere and sends it back to its source. People may feel a heaviness or bad feeling in the whole house or just in certain rooms.

The Blessing calls in positive energy and infuses the atmosphere with support for their individual needs, hopes and dreams of the individuals who live or work in the building. The Blessing includes individualized prayers for the occupants of the building.

Together, these two have the mutual goal of cleansing and refreshing a space, bringing it to a state of peace and harmony, and calling in abundance and good fortune on all levels.


What Is Meant By “Negative” and “Positive” Energies?

no negativity“Negative energy” means any old or stagnant energy from memories or strong emotions that have gotten stuck and linger in the air, walls or furniture. For instance, there may be unresolved anger or sadness from arguments, illnesses, a death, divorce, or child leaving home, etc.  Or something traumatic may have happened, like a fire or domestic violence. A business may have suffered a bankruptcy or a break-in and robbery. Competition may have led to serious betrayal and unresolved anger and resentment that still fills the offices.


positive energyIn contrast, “Positive Energy” means all the usual blessings, like happiness, peace and harmony, good health, long life, safety, protection, etc. For instance, someone who is working toward a diploma, certificate or degree may want a place in the house that affords a conducive atmosphere for studying. A mother who has become an empty-nester may want to re-discover her identity or, perhaps, start a home-based business. In the case of a business, it may want to attract more customers, add products and services, or become successful online.

All these things are addressed in the Ceremony. But, before all that comes the Walk-Through.


First comes the Walk-Through

spiritual clearing of the whole houseThe Walk-Through is the initial assessment of what needs to be done. I put myself into a meditative state and walk through each room, receptive to feelings, impressions and messages. I look for what is light and good and should stay, and also for what is heavy, dirty, stagnant, etc. and must go.

I take notes and take them home to meditate and pray on. Depending on the fruits of that labor, I will contact the person who petitioned the Blessing to let them know what steps to take to ensure and enhance the Blessing. For instance, certain items may have to be moved, a wall may need a picture, a corner may need to be filled, etc.

Then we set a date for the Clearing and Blessing. These may be scheduled as one event, or separate dates may be preferable for any number of reasons.


Next comes the Clearing

smudgingNext, comes the Clearing, which is not simply de-cluttering or feng shui. However, some suggestions along those lines may be recommended. But the main purpose of the Clearing, is to get rid of any old, stagnant or negative energies that have accumulated over time in your home or business. These energies can result from any number of causes. Negative emotions or states of mind, such as depression, anger, fear, etc. would be a very common cause. The negativity may not be from the current occupants, but lingering from a previous family or chain of employees.

Sometimes a person who lived or worked in that place has died (either before or during the period of your time there), but a piece of their soul remains. They left it either unknowingly or because they loved their life there and are having trouble moving on. Their energy can put a drag on the other people in the environment. It can be released in love and freed from its confinement.

Or, in some cases, something terrible may have happened in the space. There may have been physical, emotional or sexual abuse, bullying, betrayal or some other sort of traumatic event.

However, generally speaking, the typical causes in most homes and offices are the inevitable build-up of the stresses. For instance, frustrations, arguments, illnesses, financial worries, etc. are typical.


THEN comes the Blessing

spiritual blessingThe third part, the Blessing, summons the powers of healing, protection, and strength. The purpose of the Blessing is to call in all the positive energies desired by the person requesting the Blessing. They can be as unique as the individual. However, we humans have a lot of the same needs and desires. Most people wish for a peaceful atmosphere, safety, compatibility, good humor, abundance and the like. Some people want a quiet retreat-like atmosphere; others ask for an inviting feeling for friends to share and enjoy. The prayers can vary. I encourage people to include personal appeals, as well as collective ones.  


When should I seek a Clearing & Blessing Ceremony for my home?

A really good time to seek out a Clearing is before you move into a new house or apartment. That is one of the most common times for people to request a Clearing and Blessing. They want a fresh start and don’t want to be encumbered by anyone else’s energy – either good or bad.

clearing & cleansing

After that, it’s also a good idea to renew your environment every 5-7 years. The reason why is because – let’s face it – stuff gets stuck. Not only that, but you change. You may well need a different Blessing Ceremony for your changing goals, needs and circumstances.


What if I want a Clearing and Blessing Ceremony for a business instead of a home?

There are some different considerations for an office or business, depending on the nature of the business.

If you have just gotten a new job, or are moving into a new office for any reason (like a promotion), the Ceremony would be much like a House Blessing. You would want to clear out any negative emotional residue hanging around from the previous employee’s disagreements with bosses or co-workers, from resentments (for instance, if the person who inhabited the office before you was fired) or from betrayals of confidence, etc. You would want blessings for a clear space, free of disruption from others (or from your own wandering mind 😉). You would want blessings to help you be productive and contribute to the business and your career. And you would want blessings for each of your goals. If you stay there 5-7 years, you would want to repeat the process.

classrooms need clearing and blessing yearlyHowever, if you are in a profession where you are dealing with patients or clients on a one-to-one basis, or in groups (classes, group therapy, etc.), things are very different. In that case, you would want to have a Ceremony more often, simply because more people equals more energy build-up.

waiting rooms & treatment rooms need clearing regularlyIf you work or have a practice in a place that sees many people on a daily basis, like a clinic or school, you would want to Clear and Bless the whole building at least once, or maybe twice a year, depending on the amount of traffic and severity of trauma in the individuals who patronize the business. Doctors and health practitioners of all kinds fall into this category, as do therapist, lawyers and others.


Part 2 coming in the next newsletter at Spring Equinox

In Part 2 of this blog, I will explain what a Clearing and Blessing Ceremony is like and describe the parts of the ritual. I’ll tell you what my part involves as the officiant, and offer suggestions about parts you may wish to contribute as the petitioner.  

The Medicine – Old And New

What is meant by the Old Ways?

When we speak of the Old Ways, we are referring to the innate spirituality of human beings across cultures, from the beginning of time up until the industrialization of our modern era. It holds all of nature in reverence. It calls the earth Mother, and the sun or sky, Father. Indigenous cultures throughout the world shared a surprisingly common creation story despite their separation by continents – and without any means of communicating, or even knowing of the others’ existence. The story goes something like this:

In “the time before Time,” all beings lived together in harmony. They spoke an unspoken language and understood each other’s hearts and souls. In the words of Chief John Snow, Nakoda elder, “We talked to the rocks, the streams, the trees, the plants, the herbs and all nature’s creations. We called the animals our brothers. They understood our language; we understood theirs. Sometimes they talked to us in dreams and visions. At times they revealed important events or visited us on our vision quests to the mountain tops.”

The interplay between the spiritual world and the material world was a common daily awareness. However, as time passed, humans lost their way. They lost connection with the imagining and intuiting functions of their spiritual nature and could no longer speak the language of Spirit. The more they relied on their physical senses alone, the more separated they became from their inner direction. They fell out of harmony and balance. They invented weapons and began killing and eating animals, birds and fish. Later, they even began killing each other. And so the story goes. Each culture has its own details and characters.

There are a few aboriginal tribes, however, who have resisted becoming “civilized” to this day and still live according to the Old Ways. They are known for their uncanny ability to “know” and prepare for events that they have not read or heard about.

The Australian Aborigines may be the best known to us for this skill. They say they get their knowledge from the “dreamtime.” The Dreamtime is where the Aborigines’ world came from. The Dreamtime also brought the knowledge of the laws of existence. Aborigines continue to observe these laws to this day; they are the laws for survival. In addition, they continue the Dreamtime (Creation) as the Dreaming. That is, they continue to dream the world into existence.

What is Medicine?

While this type of knowledge is not typically brought into play in today’s busy lifestyle, it IS still part of our make-up, and we can avail ourselves of its benefits. The Old Ways offer methods for developing the spiritual side of our intrinsic nature – the means to know and understand who we truly are, our best options and actions to take, and how we can contribute to good of all. In many indigenous cultures, this is called Medicine.

Medicine is the power to heal and strengthen the body, mind, heart and soul. That Medicine may be a physical substance, like herbs; a non-substantive agent, like music; or something with both qualities, like touch. Anything that eases the mind or body . . . anything that uplifts the heart and soul . . . that’s Medicine. The means for developing your Medicine is also Medicine. In addition, each being (animal, plant, mineral) has its own special Medicine, a quality or gift that is unique. And you have your own Medicine. Your Medicine is whatever gifts and talents you possess for contributing to that beauty.

The Medicine the Old Ways

There are age-old traditional prayers, songs, practices and ceremonies that have been done in the same way, for the same reasons and commemorations, for incalculable generations. These practices and ceremonies are commonly called the Medicine of the Old Ways. They include ways of praying, meditating, honoring Mother Earth and Father Sky, Moon ceremonies, feast days, sacred songs, pilgrimages and vision quests, to name just a few. There are also prescribed task for rites of passage, as well as practices for clearing and purging oneself. They are tried and true, and still have a potent impact to this day.

Any medicine, be it spiritual or pharmaceutical, has to meet the challenges of a changing world. It must stay abreast of the needs of the people facing new demands. The Medicine of the Old Ways shapeshifts effortlessly to accommodate the needs of the current times. However, that is not what makes it “new,” as that is a quality of the “old” Medicine.

The New Medicine of the Old Ways

The New Medicine of the Old Ways is a term I coined to address the contemporary direction of the latest surge of interest in the Old Ways. Many seers of Native American (and other) Medicine people foretold of the day when the knowledge that had been kept secret and protected for so long should be shared with the white man. Although many indigenous people do not believe they should do that, many others began sharing a few decades ago, believing in complying with the prophecies.

Because of the widespread dissemination of ancient traditional practices across cultural lines at this time, people who have not been brought up in a discreet lineage are prone to mixing and mat

ching the practices from separate traditions. While I can understand how some perceive this to be a misappropriation and watering down of ancient wisdom (and to a certain extent I have to agree), I also see that every generation has a similar complaint about the upcoming generation, even within their own culture.

The best analogy I can come up with (and it may, or may not, be a very good one) is to liken it to adapting a foreign country’s cuisine to one’s own. The taste is not exactly like the country of origin’s typical palate, nor is it like the customary taste of the adopting country’s food.

However, if the persons eating it have an open attitude to something new, both sides will find the adventure stimulating, the taste fresh and the experience rewarding.

There is another difference. The Old Ways require the shaman, priest/priestess, Medicine man or woman, etc. to do all the work on behalf of the person who asks for help. It is my belief that we have reached a time in our evolution where it is not just “special” people who have the power to maneuver in higher realms. I recognize that we have grown enough that Spirit is asking us to assume a more active role in the goings on of everyday life. We’ve been given a promotion, if you will. We’re faced with a new responsibility to step up and be part of the team.

The way I practice the New Medicine is to bring you up to speed on the skills you need for the new position you are wanting to hold in your life. Rather than perform ceremonies for you, I help you conceive your own “ceremonies,” your own new beneficial ways of thinking, new habits, etc. And, most especially, I help you deepen and strengthen your own connection with Spirit and the profound assistance that connection affords you.

I believe the New Medicine of the Old Ways is true to the traditional values of honoring Mother Earth, Father Sky and all living beings. I believe it respects and requires the custom of grounding, centering and clearing oneself to connect with Spirit with a calm mind and open heart. I believe that ancient practices, carried out in their traditional ways, are powerful and have a place in the New Medicine. And I also believe that all the wisdom from all the teachers – if practiced with commitment over a long period – can come together in a new way. It will go straight to the heart and soul of a present-day seeker to touch her and change him in deep and positive ways. The New Medicine takes substance and meaning from the Old Ways and respectfully makes something fresh, stimulating, profound and meaningful for the person journeying in these current times.

All About Smudge

Smudge is the term used for an herb, combination of herbs, or resin that is burned as incense for the purpose of purification. The herb may be burned loose, or in the form of a smudge stick. The “stick” is made by bundling the herb or herbs together with hemp cord or string to form easy-to-burn smudge sticks. A resin is usually burned on a coal.

The most common herb used by Native Americans is sage, but just as familiar are cedar, copal, lavender, sweet grass, or pinon. Common to the Celtic traditions are copal, frankincense, myrrh, and Dragon’s Blood, among others.

When you smudge/purify yourself, you are clearing your mind and auric field. You attune yourself to a higher vibration that reminds you to speak and act in a sacred way, with an open and compassionate heart, and with your ears open to hearing the guidance from your spirit helpers and from Creator or the Goddess, depending on your tradition. Keep in mind that when you smudge yourself, you traditionally want to be very thorough and take at least ½-hr or more.

You can also smudge a house or room to clear it of previous owners’ energy or any negativity that may have entered in the form of arguments, illness, or other entities. You can smudge an object to clear it and make it “clean” or “pure” for use by the new owner – like a book, jewelry, second-hand clothing or furniture, etc.

You can use smudge to pray. The smoke from the smudge will carry your prayers to Creator.

Here is more about Smudging . . .


Clear Your Energy and Lift Your Spirits With the Sacred Art of Smudging

by: Bess O’Connor

If you’re feeling stuck, negative, sluggish, or even downright depressed, it may be due to some stagnant energy in your field. Your field can include your emotional, energetic, mental, spiritual or physical body, and your environment—whether it’s your home, office, or other physical space. Stagnant or negative energy can have extremely detrimental effects on your mental and physical state and is even believed to manifest into things like a lack of happiness and success as well as pain and disease.

Smudging can help combat this negativity, clear the energy in your field, and help you start anew. Smudging is an ancient ceremony in which you burn sacred plants, such as sage, to allow the smoke to clear and bless a space.

To get some insight into the ancient art of smudging, healer and singer Grandmother Wapajea Walks on Water—with lineage from the Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee tribes—sheds some light on the topic.

Grandmother Wapajea says, “The goal of smudging is to make a place clear of lingering energy that is different from what you may be intending for that space. You want to prepare the space for ceremony, the way you would clean your house, cook, and decorate when your family comes for a holiday. We are welcoming Great Spirit, angels, and ancestors to come and share clean space with us as well.”

What you use to clear a space depends on your location and what plants you have access to. Grandmother Wapajea says that people on the East Coast use tobacco, cedar, sweet grass, juniper, pine needles, deerstongue, cypress, and sage. Out west they use tobacco, pinion, desert sage, and sweet grass.

“My family uses sage and cedar to purify, tobacco to send our prayers to the Chihowa, and sweet grass to attract angels and sweet-spirited ancestors. We also use sweet grass to bring ease to a space when we need to discuss something that is difficult to say,” Grandmother Wapajea says.

What You Need

  • Sage or other sacred plants listed above. Sage represents the earth element and when burned, the smoke from it represents the air.
  • Abalone shell. This is meant to hold and burn the plants. The shell represents the water element.
  • Matches or a lighter. These represent the fire element.
  • Feather. This represents the air element.
  • Drum(s) or sacred drumming music, which represent the beat of the heart.

For indigenous people Great Spirit is in all of nature and creation, each thing representing a different aspect of divinity and sacredness. Therefore they honor the elements, and all natural things, from plants and minerals, to animals and people.

The Smudging Process

Often, smudging involves a four-direction ceremony. Here’s a guide to help you get started.

Clear your space of clutter and mess and open up windows and curtains and allow for clean air to enter. Light your sage (or other herbs) on fire and then fan the smoke with your feather around your body and anyone else in your space.

Wapajea’s Smudging Process

  • “We start in the East where the sun rises, and brings us the opportunity to begin again with each new day. Breath.
  • We go to the South and honor our creativity, our children, the child in us, our playfulness, joy, and hope. Earth.
  • We go to the West where the sun goes down, and the blackness of introspection begins when the day is done. Water.
  • We go to the North where our rest awaits us. Knowledge, stamina, compassion, silence. Fire.
  • We use a feather to fan the sacred smoke in each direction, one drums, one sings, one dances, one prays, until we have circled back to the east.”

Tips for Smudging

The art of smudging is a sacred act and Grandmother Walks on Water says these are some things to keep in mind.

  1. Hold sacredness and respect when connecting with the plant people who help you in this ceremony and when you pray.
  2. Remember and honor your ancestors with good deeds.
  3. Honor the divine by caring for what the Great Spirit has created.
  4. See the divine Mother in everything. Women are the embodiment of Great Spirit’s creation on Earth, thru the gift of birth, so women are holy. We are all from the same womb.
  5. Everything is related to everything; nothing is random.
  6. Caring for creation is everyone’s responsibility.
  7. This will is not religion; this is love.

Clearing Your Body

Smudging is not only for spaces; it’s also for clearing your body, mind, and spirit of any negativity, stagnation, or energetic disturbances within or surrounding you. Make sure to invite the sacred smoke around your body from head to toe and front to back before smudging your space.


A Smudging Prayer

May your hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.

May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where you most need to be.

May your heart be cleansed, that you might hear its messages clearly.

May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed.

May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of the world.

May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants.

And may that same smoke carry our prayers, spiraling, to the heavens.


You hear people mention Animal Totems more and more frequently these days. You may also have heard them called Spirit Animals or Power Animals. Certainly, the influence of the animal world on the human psyche is undeniable. It has been with us since the earliest of times. We can observe it in the prominence of paintings on ancient cave walls. We can note the recurrence of animals in fairy tales of all cultures since recorded history. They often talk and give help and advice to humans, occasionally even delivering hard lessons by outsmarting people. Our fascination with animals is so innate that we even have a television channel called the Animal Planet where we can watch them anytime, day or night. And other channels, like Discovery and National Geographic, are filled with documentaries of many of the animals we find most captivating.

Before modern industrialization we were more in tune with the natural world. We were more connected to animals and their wisdom. We learned lessons about life by observing them, and we saw in them a mirror of our own qualities, both good and bad, so that we could improve ourselves and discover how to live in harmony. This lost awareness is reemerging today. It is, indeed, very accessible through any ancestral roots – European, Asian, African, etc. – but the most common view in our culture at this time is through Native American traditions.

Within these traditions, there are variations from nation to nation, and from tribe to tribe within one nation, but some beliefs are generally held in common. For instance, a common view is that when you are born, you enter this life at a certain place on the Medicine Wheel. You will traverse the Wheel many times during your life, as the Wheel encompasses all the virtues and imperfections, all the ups and downs that a lifetime entails. However, your particular placement at the time of your birth indicates which life lessons will be most important for you to learn during your lifetime. Creator gives you help to succeed in mastering these lessons. One such aid is your Personal Animal Totem (or totems, in some cases). In one Cherokee tradition, Creator gives each person seven totems in each of seven categories, for a total of forty-nine. You become familiar with your totems and begin working with them. You then start paring them down until you discover which totem is your strongest ally. This totem is the most influential helper on your path to becoming a “true human being,” someone who who leads your life “in a good way” by developing your gifts and talents to benefit the people for several generations.

Deer Totem

So how does your Animal Totem help you do this? Well, at the most base level, your Totem helps you muddle through your life with a little more grace and peace of mind. But it can do more than that if you work closely with it. It strengthens and deepens your sense of connection – to family, friends, yourself, your purpose, and to the Great Mystery of life. Your Personal Totem shows you where you belong in the great scheme of things. Creator gives you this gift and asks you to cultivate the bond between yourself and your Totem because, as you begin to integrate it into your daily life, you discover how to use its wisdom to remove barriers to your personal and spiritual development. Unfolding your relationship with your Totems brings self-knowledge, healing and purpose. It deepens your intuition and awareness. It improves the stamina in your mind and body, and promotes peace and power in your heart and soul. You arrive at a place where you are contributing to the balance and harmony of all things on earth just by being you. Your Personal Totem takes you there.

So, how do you know what your personal animal totem is? And how do you make its acquaintance? Sometimes an animal enters your awareness because it startles you by flying across your windshield or darting in front of your car as you are driving down the road. Or maybe you just begin seeing a particular kind of animal everywhere you look. People can mistakenly assume that this is their personal animal totem. Usually it is not. Often this is an animal that has come to give you a message for a particular time or circumstance in your life. But your true personal animal totem is there with you throughout your life, all the time, even if you don’t notice it. The way to discover it is through a traditional method called “journeying.”

A journey is a very deep meditative state arrived at by traditional grounding methods and calling on the assistance of the Four Directions, Mother Earth and Father Sky or Great Spirit. Usually you have a guide to lead you, accompany you through the Journey, and bring you safely back. The guide does this through guided visualization, which may or may not be accompanied by drumming. Once you are in the receptive state that Journeying induces, your guide gives you the traditional suggestions that lead to recognizing your Totem, both within you and as a separate being who will assist you. You will be able to ask questions of your Totem, and it will give you insights and answers to what’s been on your mind. You can see your circumstances from a previously unimagined perspective, and new information is offered for considering whatever is at hand.

Horse Totem.

Meeting your Personal Totems is a profound experience. It connects you deeply to yourself and to the Great Mystery – Creator, Spirit, God, Goddess, or however you conceive and call the awe-inspiring wonder of creation. Developing your relationship with your Totems brings self-knowledge, healing and purpose.It deepens your intuition and awareness. It improves stamina in your mind and body, and promotes peace and power in your heart and soul. Its value is timeless – as uplifting and meaningful today as it has ever been.

It has been my great good fortune to have met and studied with some amazing teachers and healers over the years. Medicine people of four cultural traditions have graciously put enough trust in me to give their endorsements so that I might guide others on traditional Journeys to meet their Totems and Spirit Guides, open their Energy Centers (Chakras), find their missing soul pieces (Soul Retrieval), and other such Old Ways of healing. It is a blessing to have received this knowledge ~ and even more so to be able to share this beautiful Medicine with others.