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A Real Vodou Priestess on Cleansing Your Home of Evil Spirits and Negative Energy

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Feel like there's something wrong about your space that tidying up or re-arranging the furniture won't fix? You're not the only one. "I think it's becoming more common in general that people come to the conclusion that there's some negative spirit or some curse on them, and that's surprising to me," says Sallie Ann Glassman, an ordained practitioner of Haitian Vodou and owner of Island of Salvation Botanica, a Vodou supply shop.

"It may be the stress of modern living ... I have no idea. I get people needing to do something about it weekly at least, if not every day." If you sense negative energy in your home, or just want to appreciate your space, a home cleanse might be in order—and it's not as elaborate or expensive as you may think.

Why would someone do a home cleanse?
Glassman says people cleanse their homes for a variety of reasons, positive and negative. A person might just be moving into their home and wants to anoint and celebrate their new space, or there could be negative energy in the house they want cleared.

Now, what do you mean by "negative energy"? What are some signs? Where does it come from?
People most commonly associate negative energy with spirits—perhaps there was a death, murder or suicide in the house. But negative energy could also be caused by human behaviors. "If something happened because of someone's behavior, or they've been doing something very negative themselves, it's not something I'm going to go and clean up until they stop that behavior," Glassman says. Before seeking out the power of magic, consider if you or someone else in the home may be contributing to the negative energy.

What are some signs of negative energy in a home? "There can just be terrible, bad things happening over period of time. Often these things have a quality that doesn't seem normal, like things flying off the walls, or you're having a tremendous amount of bad luck," Glassman says. "Sometimes it can manifest in couples arguing incessantly when they've never had problems before."

So, I have bad vibes in my home. What do I do?
Glassman says that for many of the problems she's presented with, customers can handle them themselves. "Sometimes it's as simple as using cedar oil in the house, and that will clear it up. Or saging the house," she says. "I usually get people try and clear up the problem themselves because I think that's far more empowering. It's good to know that you're in charge of your own space." If it's really bad, and getting dangerous, Glassman will step in herself. "There's a whole system of magic I will work with called Enochian magic and combine that with some Vodou, and I go in and do a serious exorcism," she says. "That entails reducing something to its essential elements of fire, water air and earth and spirit and bringing it into balance so the negative entity can sort of dissipate. It gives it the space and opportunity to reform in a balanced way."

How much is all this going to cost me?
Like Glassman said, most people can handle negative vibes themselves, and pretty cheaply. "Using the products is very cheap. It might be a grand total of $20. And that's if you use a bunch of stuff," she says. "A bundle of sage is $7.50, floor wash is $3." If the spirit requires additional intervention, "I try to work with what a person can afford and what will give them peace of mind," she says.

Why sage?
Even those not acquainted with Vodou or magic have likely heard of "saging" a home. What's so powerful about this herb? "It's very effective, for one thing. It comes out of Native American practice, and of course the early Voodoo practice. The slaves, when they came to this area, met up with Native Americans, so these are some of the traditions and knowledge that crossed over," Glassman says. "Sage is very purifying, and there's a spirit with the herb itself and that's what's doing the work."

Is there anything I can do to keep the positive vibes flowing in my space?
Glassman says it's important to always emphasize keeping balance and harmony in one's home. "Because I come from the tradition of Vodou, I think it's very important to have shrine or altar to your ancestors, at the very least, and to get right with your family spirit first and to keep that balance," Glassman advises. "It's good to periodically to take a bath with salts to keep the energy clear. It's good practice to have house blessing candles periodically."

To seek Glassman's advice or services, visit her at Island of Salvation Botanica at the New Orleans Healing Center.

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