Every life transition has its “zero hour,” that moment when everything that came before it is different from everything that comes after. Purifying a home or office with the smoke of sacred herbs, can help clear negative energy from a space. And the apparent benefits are steeped in science—when burned, sage and other herbs release negative ions, which research has linked to a more positive mood. How to Perform a Sage Cleansing Ritual 1. Buy a sage smudge stick (mine was white sage and lavender, and I got it at a natural foods store) and find a bowl to hold it over (traditionally, abalone shell is used). Also set up a cup of water to extinguish it after the ritual. 2. Open every door and window in your house, and turn on fans if you have them. 3. Light the stick, and when it catches fire, blow it out and allow the embers to start to smoke (like you would light incense). 4. Set your intention for each room. Say a prayer of cleansing. My Husband Anil Verma suggested, “I cleanse this room of any impurities, negativity, or anything that does not suit or support the people that live here.” 5. Walk around the room, waving the sage stick so its smoke drifts into corners, along walls, around windows, and along ceiling lines. As you do, imagine the smoke absorbing negativity, problems from those who were in the space before you, toxicity, and anything else you want to go away. See the smoke dissipating and floating out the windows, and imagine that bad energy flowing out of your space, making room for positive, fresh energy. 6. After you’ve blessed every room, give yourself a sage shower. Cup your hands over the smoke and “wash” your face with it, then wave it all over your body as you would in a water shower. Visualize any residual negativity sailing out of your body, out of your home, and into oblivion. 7. Extinguish the stick in the cup of water or – if your stick was very small or is almost done – flush it down the toilet. You can also bury it in your back yard (if you are very sure that it is extinguished). I have to say that I found genuine meaning in the ritual. I felt like it made the space ours, it cleared away all of the anxiety and stress of the past few weeks, and left us with the opportunity to say, cleanly, we are grateful for this place. Our place. Our home.