After the recent and ongoing panic and upheaval in Europe, now is a good time to cool down and cleanse, for which we can use mainly cucumbers and sage.
Anybody behind you in the supermarket queue will be impressed by your basketful of vegetables, herbs and yoghurts as you gather some of Mother Nature’s Little Helpers from the shelves, and who doesn’t occasionally enjoy passive-aggressively shaming their fellow shoppers? Make sure to check if they have saturated fats or refined sugars amongst their purchases, and indulge yourself with a secret tiny smile and imperceptible headshake.
Store this memory to comfort you next time you trudge to the tills clutching a box of Krispy Kremes, a bottle of supermarket brand vodka and a can of black grape soda.
When you get home you will be able to whip up some beneficial treatments to prepare you for completing a Sage & Smudge purification ritual. Smudging is one of the best known and widely used magical ceremonies, and it’s so simple a child could do it, assuming the child had completed basic fire prevention training.
Sage is the classic purification herb, whether you grow your own, dry it, and then wrap it tightly using red thread and a 9 x binding method, or order pre-prepared smudge sticks online. Traditionally burnt sage is used to increase wisdom, clarity and spiritual awareness and clear away shadows. The name sage derives from the Latin- to heal, to feel well and improve.
When you are feeling stressed out, depressed or helpless, smudging is a perfect way to focus on removing negative energies, concepts and emotions.
Take your smudge stick and light it, carrying with you a fireproof container such as a little saucepan. If it starts to burn too quickly for you to hold, drop it into the container and carry on. You will need a small bell, carried by an accomplice or familiar.
Walk around your home wafting the smoke into each room. As each room is cleared, ring the bell as an alert to any dark spirits that they are not welcome.
This should rid your personal space of any negative energies or bad old sunken memories. Before and afterwards, drink a cleansing mixture:
1 stalk celery
Handful of parsley
Handful of mint leaves
1 teaspoon grated ginger
This can be made in the blender or a juicer, but do remove the strings from the celery first if you’re using the blender, or the texture will be spiky. The mixture contains everything you need to detoxify your system, and encourages a calm, light feeling.
After your cleansing drink, take time to lie down and slather your skin and hair with nourishment. Educated as I was on Blue Jeans retro tween magazine in my youth, I am well-versed in the art of raiding the kitchen for natural aids to health and beauty.
Assemble the ingredients you are using, take all your clothes off and shut yourself in the bathroom.
The best possible conditioner for the hair is eggs and honey. Mix them up, and rub them through your hair, ideally wrapping your head in clingfilm afterwards to avoid drippage. It’s messy, but that’s because it’s natural.
For your face, use any combination of mashed banana, yoghurt, oatmeal and honey. You would use plain Greek-style yoghurt for this, the thicker the better. Banana gives moisture and softens, honey is antibiotic and good for healing acne or scars. Oatmeal is anti-inflammatory and absorbs grease and dirt from the pores of the skin. Yoghurt cleans and tightens the pores.
Mix your combination of choice (why not go mad and use all four?)- smooth it over your face, neck, and anywhere that feels rough or sore. Honey and egg will no doubt be dripping down your neck anyway, so you may as well slather it on.
Cucumber slices on the eyes will sooth and brighten them. Lie down in the tub and give yourself over to meditation for 15-30 minutes.
Rinse. Wash your hair as usual after you get all the gunk off. If you follow this two-part ritual as I have described here, you will feel and look better, absolutely no question. You are ready to embark on the third part and smudge.
If are prepared to commit to a more serious cleansing before your smudging then here it is, the famous Bieler’s healing broth.
Physician to the stars in the Golden Age of Hollywood, Dr Henry Bieler created this vitamin and nutrient rich blend to treat his patients (who included Greta Garbo, Anthony Quinn and Lucille Ball).
It’s still used today, usually by models to lose bloat for an important shoot. If you are feeling tired, heavy or sick, this will help you.
Dr Bieler’s Health Broth
From his book “Food Is Your Best Medicine”
3 stalks of celery
2 cups green beans
1 cup of parsley
Cook the celery (remove the strings beforehand), courgettes and beans (Again, remove the strings) together in a cup of water for 10 minutes, with an optional clove of garlic. Pour everything into a blender with the parsley and blend until smooth. Add pepper if you wish, and a tiny pinch of salt.
You could also make a raw version in the blender. Make twice the amount you can drink, and bottle it for the next day.
You can drink it hot or cold. Use it as a meal replacement whenever you need a boost, or as your exclusive and only food for up to three days for a total purification of your system.
It doesn’t taste delicious. It tastes of….green. It has a kind of algae quality. But your skin will glow, you will lose weight, and you will feel transformed. You will feel clean. The key is: just keep eating, and eventually it will be gone. Change is hard.
If you are thinking- this is just basic health and beauty tips – think again. Shamans have always traditionally purged, starved and cleansed before any significant ritual. All the elements work together to prepare you for the most effective smudging result.
And don’t stop here. Clean out your email inbox. Clean out your closets. There is a lot of negative energy around, and we need to be in control of ourselves and our surroundings more than ever. Take responsibility for your voice and your actions.
And when you are ready to dip your toes back into social waters, ease in with a Cucumber Cooler:
1 shot cucumber vodka, whether ready-bought or home-infused. I’m using V Gallery Cucumber Vodka.
Qcumber water (if you can’t find this, infuse sparkling water with cucumber for a minimum of 3 hours, or Pret A Manger do a cucumber soda now:
Dash of Monin Cucumber syrup
Serve this highball with ice, garnished with a cucumber slice. It’s incredibly refreshing.
If we can’t heal the world, we can start with ourselves and take things from there.
Clarity begins at home.