'Bless this house' gets a new-age twist

A smattering of ‘smudgers’ emerge in New York to wipe out unpleasant memories, clear auras and remove bad mojo for new homeowners.

By MSN Local Edition Jan 5, 2011 10:17AM

Nowadays, many homebuyers discover they’ve bitten off more than they can chew. Between trashed foreclosed properties and houses used for marijuana and meth production, a new homeowner’s first call may be to a platoon of Merry Maids armed with vats of bleach instead of the cable guy. But how can you disinfect spiritual funk?

Call in the “smudger.” According to The New York Times, a “tiny industry” of professionals has surfaced to clear the auras of previous residents and recent decedents, as well as improve the feelings in the homes of current residents. 

Smudging arose from Native American rituals that included burning herbs such as sage and sweet grass to drive away negative energy and restore balance. It can take a variety of forms, from burning incense to lighting candles and chanting.

Judith Wendell, a New York feng-shui consultant, performs smudging rituals for clients like Ziporah Reich, a 38-year-old lawyer.

“I want to bring a positive energy that’s not tied to anything specific and also get rid of the energy of the previous owner,” Reich tells the paper.

Despite the housing downturn, business is good for Wendell.

“I thought my business would go down because it’s not a necessity what I do,” Wendell said. “But when people are trying to create some security for themselves, this is one way to do it. This is part of their lives they have control over.”

Wendell charges between $900 and $1,800 to perform her ritual, but don’t think you’ll get a discount for a studio apartment. Her rates are based on “what’s in the space energetically.”

Of course, you don’t need to shell out big bucks to get a little benediction on your home. House blessing has taken many forms throughout the years, including formal visits from the local priest, housewarming gifts from the neighbors and the spreading of salt and oil.

What’s the first thing you do when you move into a new place? Do you have any blessing or good-luck rituals? Tell us on Facebook.

—     Greg Lee is a producer for MSN Real Estate.

Tags: buying
Aug 22, 2011 5:09AM

This is a just the latest example of the Classic "New York City, Politically Correct, hipster, limousine liberal's narcissistic FAD chasing.  First it was Catholic "house Blessing", then Jewish Cabala "something-or-others, then Wicca/Neo-Pagan "whatever", then  Feng shui, and now this since "Native American is "All the Rage" this year.  It is the same way they "support" all "The Arts" types.  Artists, Fashion consultants, Musicians, psychiatrists, Pet psychiatrists, Hair Stylists, etc.  The entire culture that caters to the "IN" "Jet-Set" crowd and wanna-be's.


Notice that this Wendell women was a Feng shui consultant and has now branched out into this new fad of Native American "Smudging" at $900 to $1,800 a pop.  I would bet she doesn't have a drop of Native American or Japanese/Chinese blood in her vanes.  I have to agree with Native Grandmother and find this and all the rest morally repugnant.  If it were truly a spiritual thing for people like Wendell,  charging for it would destroy the "magic" of the ritual/ceremony at least that was what I was always taught.  Wendell and her kind are the just the newest version of the "old gypsy fortune tellers/psychics" with their "smoke and mirrors".


Don't get me wrong. I do believe that there are evil spirits, demons, and negative energy that can "possess" a person or space, and these rituals/ceremonies can "Cleanse" them, when done by a true/pure practitioner.  But as usual, there are a lot of "Fakes" out there trying to make a buck off ignorant "Marks".

Feb 7, 2011 7:40AM
I have to disagree with you Picachowilly. I am native and I am not Christian and do not pray to The Lord Jesus Christ. I pray to The Creator as do many native peoples. I'm not trying to make this statement into a "Oh the white man did this and did that to us, and woe is me!" BUT because of the residential schools I know of many native peoples who do not follow the Christian way but follow the spiritual way of life. Saying that only Christians should do it is wrong in my eyes. As long as you have faith and your head in the right place then by all means smudge and cleanse yourself and your home.
Jan 21, 2011 7:48PM

"You steal from Native people when you get money.  Shame on you, greedy."


So all of those Indian casinos built on "sacred Native American lands" are just giant neon spiritual temples, then?

Jan 21, 2011 11:48AM

I agree this is a spiritual thing, but non-native should know this only works for Native Americans! 

Jan 21, 2011 11:28AM
This is a spiritual situation that can only be dealt with by a Christian who is praying to our Lord Jesus Christ. The smudgers are dealing with an evil spirit that can only be released through prayer and fasting. The smudgers work is a superficial smoke screen. When you become a Christian you can spiritually clean your own home on a daily basis.
Jan 21, 2011 11:09AM
This practice is connected to how a person lives in their space. You take the practice and make it a service for sale. This will help you and other non Native people feel like you're on to something that will improve your income therefore, well being. The place will "feel" better.  It will too, because smudging does what you think it will do. You have those types of practices in your own culture but it seems attractive to you to copy the way we do things (Native people). We don't go around charging $900 to $1800 to smudge someone's space. That is morally repugnant and wrong of you to cash in on something you learned about. You steal from Native people when you get money.  Shame on you, greedy.
Jan 21, 2011 10:27AM

You are not supposed to get money for this!

It is an honor to help someone cleanse their home...

This is nothing more than a clever way to make money...


For me..I would be offended  if someone asked money to do this!

The energy is false when money  changes hands!

Jan 21, 2011 9:28AM

Smudging is done for cleansing/purification, however to make a profit off of it is ridiculous.  That ruins the reasons for smudging.  In our traditional beliefs, when one does not use the prayers for proper reason, they will bring worse things into the environment.  Furthermore, if one does not obtain the sage or sweet grass properly, the likelihood of prayers or ceremonies working is slim to none. 

Jan 21, 2011 8:42AM
I don't see how a lot of people smudge their own homes regularly and this guy is making $900-$1800 dollars a "cleansing." I was brought up as smudging is sacred and you don't make money going and smudging for somebody else if they cannot do it themself. Besides, anyone can go to a new-age or native store and pick up sweetgrass or sage if you don't know where to get it or how to pick it and smudge your own house.
Jan 21, 2011 8:15AM
This seems funny to me - I've been doing this for YEARS!  For myself, for friends - whatever ... holy water, salts & white sage... all for different reasons / needs / circumstances.  Have even "cleaned" a Lot BEFORE the house was built.  It's not a "new" practice. It's just being mainstreamed.  Oh, at no Fee.  Sometimes we just need to assist because it's the right thing to do.
Jan 21, 2011 7:54AM

Rocky roads,

How often do you smudge? Is it whenever you feel that the energy of your surroundings is a bit "off"?

Jan 21, 2011 4:02AM

I have been smudging my home with sage bundles that I had picked and dried while visiting western South Dakota.  It is easy to do and "yes" it is good, I have been doing it for over ten years.  I think sage is the only way to go when smudging because that is what the American Indians used themselves.  The closer to nature, the better.  I will even smudge the detached garage and entire property.  Try it.

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