Moving into a house, office or any new space prompts us to envision bright days ahead filled with hope and joy. Perhaps this is why, from first-century Christians praying to dissuade evil influences to the Mayans smudging herbs to welcome positive energy, the act of blessing a house is such a time-honored tradition.
Whether held in private or with a group of kindred souls, with or without religious elements, blessing a new dwelling takes the concept of housewarming to a sacred level. A house blessing can temper the hair-pulling stresses of a move and be a wonderful way to restore harmony after life gives us a jolt, be it a job loss, a broken relationship, a loved one’s passing or an illness. Simple gestures of intention, sprinkled with some beauty, enable us to claim our space and sow a new beginning.
Arranging seasonal blooms in jewel-toned vases, scattering fresh rose petals over the threshold or misting the air with ethereal scents consecrates what might otherwise seem mundane. Singing a favorite song, whispering a spontaneous prayer or reciting a Buddhist chant during the flurry of unpacking invites calm and attracts benevolent influences. Pungent smudges of dried, white sage, sweetgrass, pine or lilac flowers help dissolve unpleasant memories and energetic imprints from the past.
Honoring the four elements of earth, air, fire and water can create balance and celebrate ancient customs. Adding one or more essential oils to a spray bottle filled with distilled water or culinary rose water is an easy way to mist the air and the space inside drawers, closets and cupboards before filling or refilling them. Hanging fresh evergreens, leafy branches or tufts of blossoms over doorways evokes what 10th-century mystic and healer Hildegard of Bingen called veriditas—the greening energy of the Earth. Employing a crystal or Tibetan singing bowl, beating a shamanic drum or playing an instrument in select rooms can charge the atmosphere with fiery hope. Opening windows, even briefly during cooler seasons, invites in the fresh air of possibility.
Stepping into a new life—or revitalizing an existing one—is one of the most beautiful acts of caring for soul and self. Blessing our spaces is also an expression of gratitude, something that can make any life wonderful.
Marlaina Donato is an author and recording artist.