In the darkness, restless energies shift through the house, grating together like shipyard masts, taking me by the shoulders and shaking me roughly from sleep, demanding my attention. Voices of tenants past whisper urgently through the walls. By day, these things seem foolish, the product of an over-active imagination. Night after night, I am visited by wild thoughts not my own, unfamiliar and disturbing. Eventually, I decide to claim the space for my family, something I intuitively wanted to do when we moved in, but didn’t because Rational Rachael Riding Upstairs scoffed at such foolishness.
I dedicate a moody, cloudy morning to my ritual. I begin by clearing every window with a vinegar wash. My hands dry out, but light pours into the chilly rooms. The Australian sandalwood smudge stick refuses to light properly. I strike match after match, burning my finger tips. My two-year old laughs at me. I feel ridiculous. I begin to smudge the house but the tiny red embers wink out. I light another match, nostrils seared sulphurous. Repeat ad infinitum. I refuse to give up on this task, foolish or not. A stroke of inspiration – I hold the little orange flame to the opposite end of the smudge stick. It works. Great joy – thick curls of fragrant smoke loop outwards into the central room of our aged, hardwood home.
I visit every spidery corner of our rambling old house, smoking out deadened air and those restless, demanding particles clinging to a time past. I claim the space for myself and my family. I dance the smoking embers into the ceiling spaces and basement cold. Some dank corners I revisit, willing stubborn energies out. I pray the smoke alarms stay silent. The child follows me around, muttering my words, pleased to participate.
I reverently place my quartz crystal singing bowl on our dining table in the centre of the house, at its heart. I pour water into it. I begin to caress the bowl with the rubber-tipped wand. The tip is a plain white rubber stopper from the hardware store. It’s not sacred, but I don’t care. It’s the intention that counts. The tone of the bowl radiates outward, humming its resonance through my dense flesh and the chambers of my body, through beam and steel. I feel the house welcoming the sound, drawing it in like a thirst crazed desert wanderer, soaking it up. I sing with the voice of my heart, raising notes to the sky, to love, to family, to home and hearth, to the Earth. I lose my mind in this singing, I am the sound. The tone of the bowl and the timbre of my voice create a third singer. Three from two. This is the magic I work. The water in the bowl trembles and shudders, imbued with the song of love.
Joyful now, I decant a glass of water from the bowl. The child and I drink. It’s smooth and sweet, changed by the vibrations. I dip my fingers into the water and flick it around the room. I waltz through the house dousing every room, every bed, every doorway, like a wild animal marking her territory. I pulse with the vibrant energy of change and rebirth. I fling the seeds of light-love and heart-home into every cranny and crevice. Rational Rachael watches cynically from a rafter, scorning my absurd behaviour, but I don’t care. She is the one who would wallow in the darkness, troubled, trying to understand. I smile and wave at her, flicking droplets of irrational, sensual, lightfilled magic in her frowning face.
Unbidden, the child brings me toy after toy – Thomas, Henry, a bear, a pull-along. “And this one, do this one …” Over and over, he presents his treasures for baptism. “Now do my room. Do my bed. Come on …” he urges me. I follow his chubby legs around, tossing light water at his command. We have fun. I am energised by this process of claiming my space, cleansing my home, changing the air between these walls to love, creativity, magic and laughter.
Two hours slip by. I am satisfied that every lonely corner, every dank, dismal space has been touched by smoke, sound or light. The house warms to my endeavours, my attention and my love. I am exhausted, but happy.
At night now, all I hear is the song of the moon, chirruping crickets, a clog-clad possum thumping around on our tin roof and the creaking of old wood as the house shifts in her peaceful slumber.