smudge stick

smudge stick

As I have been in the process of moving business premises for the past few weeks, my mind has been firmly set on the need to wrap, pack and move belongings, but as the move draws to a close my attention has now begun to wander onto the topic of space and getting organised.

Walking into a cluttered office, filled with dusty boxes and clutter, did not fill my soul with the inspiration to write. Part way through a deadline I paused and thought I must do something about my working environment and quick. After soon tiring of browsing racking, storage and shelving solutions, I remembered a book I read years ago called , ‘Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui’ by Karen Kingston.  Trying not to get distracted by the galling fact that it was actually twenty years ago when I read this particular book, I remembered the rather inspiring lessons on harmonising the flow of energy in your living and working spaces. Indeed, in this book, from what I can remember, Kingston presented lots of lovely ways to clear your spaces of negative energy and unhealthy or negative vibrations.

Well after a bit of searching,  it became certain that this particular book was no longer in my collection.  A series of moves and upheaval over the past two decades no doubt saw me donating the book to charity or palming it off on a friend, so whilst thinking about positive affirmations, mood boards and crystals, I nipped online and purchased a copy of Kingston’s , ‘Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui’ and whilst I was about it I purchased one of her other more recent titles on clearing clutter. Whilst, I await the books to arrive to gain some Feng Shui guidance on making my small office a sacred den of serenity, I have been looking into the art of smudging, something I have seen promoted a lot recently and I remember being promoted by Ms. Kingston.

Whilst, I appreciate that the ancient process of smudging  is often viewed with a degree of skepticism and dismissed as mumbo jumbo, I have long held with many ‘alternative’ therapies and ideas and so I shall be space clearing my working space to see if it actually does enhance the space.  Smudging uses a bundle of herbs (commonly sage) bound together with string to form a smudge stick that is then ignited, an abalone shell of similar is often used with the smudge stick to catch the ash.

As my local crystal shop didn’t have any smudge sticks in stock I decided to make my own and as I bound my smudge stick with the help of my eldest daughter, Hattie, I explained to her that smudging may well have an anti-depressant effect by creating negative ions. Ions are atoms or molecules with a net electric charge due to the loss or gain of one or more electrons. Negative ions are produced in natural settings  such as the beach , whilst positive ions are produced in more man-made environments such as the home and office. Electronics, in particular, give off lots of positive ions and increasingly our homes and workplaces are brimming with them.  The negative ions produced from smudging are suggested to offer some great anti-depressant effects and as I can’t manage to work from a beautiful beach hut or a water bungalow in the Maldives, smudging may be a practical yet less glamorous alternative.

A research engineer in the 1930’s called, Dr. Clarence Hansell whilst studying the effects of negative ions on humans, noted that the mood of one of his colleagues changed when ions were being generated by nearby electrical equipment. He noticed his colleague was more joyful when the machine created negative ions and prone to a more melancholy disposition when it produced positive ions.

More recently, Hansells work was extended in  a controlled study that focused on Seasonal Affective Disorder, where researchers discovered that fresh air charged with negative ions was an effective treatment for depression. This is largely attributed to the affect negative ions have on a serotonin levels, essentially being similar to the way antidepressant drugs work. Well, whilst I am lucky not to suffer with depression I think we all suffer with a feeling of being low during the cold, wet and dark winter months and a natural boost is always a bonus.

Negative ions help to normalize serotonin (the feel-good, happy hormone), boosting the mood and overall energy levels. So this is great not only for  depression, but for keeping up the energy levels of flagging mums and writers! Other studies have shown that people actually sleep better in negative ion environments and that they can offer calming, relaxing and tension easing effects that are known to help lower blood pressure, relieve stress and tension and normalise breathing rates, as the negative ions produced are absorbed directly into your bloodstream. I can’t help wondering how effective smudging would prove in helping my toddler sleep, as bedtime sleeping for her is still broken and disruptive.

Well, I’ll let you know how  the space clearing and smudging activities go next week and if they yield any results in creating a calm writers den and a sleepy toddler. One thing is certain my girls I have enjoyed making our smudge sticks and now all we have to do is wait for them to dry out and then get to work with the smudging. In the meantime, I have the last of the business move to contend with and then joy of joy the house move will begin.

On that note I must dash as I can hear the cry of parcel tape and the shrill shout of bubble wrap, so until next week I bid a fond farewell from a sage filled home in West Wales.