I wasn't raised with religion. Instead, a rich but elusive spirituality was woven into my day to day experiences. My mother had a strong connection to the unseen realms, whether she knew it or not, and it influenced me deeply.
She never held to a particular spiritual belief, at least not one that I was aware of, and yet I was infused with a sense of the sacred through her rituals and practices that were happening around the house.
One of these practices was the creation of altars. My mother had a knack for creating altars, they were set–up all over the house, little collections of her treasures grouped together on just about every surface. Even though there were no deities being honoured, there was definitely something sacred in those little displays – like offerings to the divine.
She was also big on house clearings; walking from room to room banging on a pot with a wooden spoon, her makeshift drum perhaps. I found this ritual hilarious, seemed like a glimpse into my mother's madness. This was before I understood that all spaces contain energy and if they aren't cleared regularly they can influence how you feel.
Have you ever walked into a home that felt heavy or zapped you of your energy, leaving you feeling tired or listless? How about a space that lifted your spirits, boosted your energy and filled you with a sense of joy? If you've felt your mood shift at all upon walking into a space, you've experienced the difference between a cleared space and a space thick with stagnant or negative energy.
I'm not sure if there was much thought involved in my mother's household rituals, they seemed more like an intuitive process. Regardless, they managed to seep into my bones and have become an essential part of my own home care practices.
This subtle acknowledgment of the sacred within my childhood home, coupled with my experience of being homeless, living on the streets of California as a teenager, has instilled a deep reverence for the simple luxury of having four walls and a roof to hold me.
Home has always felt like a sacred space, a sanctuary of sorts.
If you are interested in bringing the sacred into your home, creating a sanctuary to hold you, here are five simple things you can implement.
1. Start with a Space Clearing
There are so many ways to clear your space. You could bang a pot like my mom used to do, walking through every room in your house or ring a bell. You could burn some sage, allowing the smoke to purify the energy in the space, smudging yourself while you're at it. If you don't like the smell of sage smoke you could use a diffuser and add a few drops of pure sage essential oil to it and allow the essence of sage to permeate your home, clearing the energy and adding an invigorating aroma to your space.
2. Create an Altar, or if You're Like Me, Many
There is something truly special about devoting a little piece of your home to sacred beauty. My preference is gemstones and things I've found in nature. Like my mother, I have little altars all throughout my house. My bookshelf has curated collections of treasures I have acquired over the years, my bedside table is devoted to an ever evolving gemstone display, even my collection of various perfumes and oils feels like an altar because of my deep reverence for scents. A simple way to create an altar in your space is to group together a collection of objects that hold meaning for you, that activate good feelings within you. Place them in a way that feels special and visit them daily. This will charge those objects with your good feelings and create a little pocket of positive vibes in that location of your home. Every time your gaze falls on those objects that you hold dear, your spirit will lift. That's the magic of altars!
3. Bring Some Plants Home
If you don't already have plants in your house, now's the time to acquire some. Plants clear energy and bring a special kind of vitality into your space. They also help you practice nurturance. You don't have to have a green thumb to enjoy the benefits of living with plants. There are endless 'easy' plants to choose from. Succulents being a pretty safe option for the beginner as they hardly need any care, plus they are so beautiful to look at, nature's mandalas, and they make wonderful additions to any altar. But if you prefer a robust leafy green plant then check out this link for a list of 10 of the easiest house plants.
4. Create a Sacred Nook
Do you have a place in your home that imbues you with joy and serenity? A special place where you like to sit and read or meditate or just stare at the wall and reflect on things? We all need a space like that, a little sanctuary to call our own. If you don't have one, it may be time to create one. Even the tiniest of spaces can accommodate a little meditation corner. A pillow to sit on, a plant to add vitality, and maybe a piece of art that you enjoy looking at – et voila! That's all it takes. Of course you can embellish it further, adding an altar or a collection of books, anything goes, after all, it's your special spot.
5. Celebrate and Share Your Space!
After you've cleared out the energy in your home and created some sacred pockets of happy vibes, share it with those you hold dear. Invite someone special over for tea, throw a dinner party, play your music loud and get dancin'. Sharing your space will not only lift your spirits but it will uplift the energy of your home. You'll also be creating sweet memories to reflect on when you take some time to sit in your little meditation nook.
Above all else, remember to be grateful for the gift of having a roof over your head. In Canada alone, over 30,000 people are homeless on any given night and 235,000 experience homelessness each year. If you are interested in learning more or are inclined to help, here's a link to Raising the Roof.