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Uncomfortable Places

Stuck Energy

Sometimes a space feels weird. A room has an odd ‘energy‘, a house gives you the willies. This can happen for animals too. A stall agitates the horse who tries to rest there. A dog won’t relax in your new apartments.

I’m not saying we’re talking about hauntings because I think that concept calls up a lot of pulp fictiony, cartoon-style imagry and vulgar, misleading interpretations.

I am talking about energy, specifically, energy that’s trapped or otherwise stagnated that, rather than dissipating, seem to spiral in uncomfortable vortexes, that, while we can’t see them with our eyes, other ways we connect with our surroundings seem attuned to. These semi-trapped energy bundles seem prone to collecting in corners and other tight spaces.

Brand Named ‘Bad’ Energy

Stuck energy bundles are created from a variety of means mostly having to do with mood and intention as emanated by the occupants or former occupants of a space and go by a whole bunch of different identifying ‘brand’ names assigned by various philosophies and religions: demons, ghosts, spirits to name some popular choices.

Ever since I saw the movie “The Exorcist” with its frighteningly demonic depiction of energy I’ve turned away from such explosive interpretations. Those scare tactics designed to instill fear seem truly counter productive to creative peace, happiness and personal spiritual enlightenment so I shun them. However, the truth from which these interpretations draw is the energy I’ve described. That exists.

Imagination and religious branding can turn it into various scary forms to be sure, but conscientiously dealing with it using some simple, almost folkloric, tools is perfectly do-able even for the non-spiritual.

Energy: Art + Science

Quantum physics tells us a bunch about the oddities of energy and how it can seemingly bend what we tend to think of as solid realities with apparent quantifiable effects that warp the real time observances of the space-time continuum. Just because we can’t see an energy or a force doesn’t mean it isn’t there. We live with such magical ideas all the time. Gravity, for starters – the smartest among us still don’t exactly know what it is – just what it seems to do. Or how about Gamma rays? Or X-rays — the power of suggestion, too. Weird forces you can’t really get at with ordinary senses but are there and apparent nonetheless.

Older cultures attuned to their own perceptions of subtle energies came up with some perfectly wonderful ways to adjust their effects on themselves or their populations. Some of these methods have survived the often suppressive limitations of evolving modern beliefs and are easily attained and likewise easily used. There are several I use with some regularity to impact how interiors feel or seem to feel.

The Tools

Sage, Tibetan Bells and Wind Chimes.

Sage Smudge Stick

Sage smudge sticks are little bundles of leaves and sticks from the sage plant. They are meant to be slowly burnt so the smoke generated can permeate an area. You will see them mentioned when people are talking about ‘clearing’ a room or house or a tipi. This article goes into more detail.

Tibetan Bells or Tingsha

Tibetan Bells, or Tingsha, are sort of like little cymbals that hang down from a short length of leather. You’re supposed to hold the leather and bang the bells together so they ring clearly. They say the ringing, along with your intentions doing so, help the sound waves emenating from your actions affect stagnant energy, loosening it up so it can join the sound waves and move along and disburse.

Beautifully Tuned Wind Chimes

Wind Chimes work a lot like the tingsha except they’re more passive and react directly to the natural forces of weather when well placed. I believe their harmonics, tone and timbre are very important to the cleansing process. Great care should be taken when acquiring them, choose a set that sounds right or resonates pleasingly to you. Usually the better ones, those that have been mindfully tuned, have been designed to vibrate beautifully together and will cost a bit more. It’s always worth it.

Some Background

When my husband and I bought our 200+ year old log home we were told by people who had lived in it that it was “most definitely haunted”. They proceeded to cite numerous personal experiences that described how this had played out for them and the people that lived here.

The house seemed to echo with all the strife....

With such an old presence I had little trouble envisioning the house’s history being full of the after effects of many human emotions. As I came to know more about them I learned the people we were buying it from were full of personal turmoil with a tendency towards negative emoting initiated by a lot of explosive drama in their relationships with one another and those they came in contact with.

I felt the house we had just bought was full of their buzz so I took immediate steps to reverse the effects.

The Process

Step 1

Because we weren’t going to move in right away I decided to start the energy readjustment passively by hanging wind chimes off the side porch so the spring winds would catch them and start the new harmonics flowing. It was sort of a pleasant promise to the house itself that things were changing and peace would reign again. I spent as much as I could afford on that set that chimes away happily to this day in the very same spot.

The side benefit to this was even though I was still hundreds of miles away the energy our new house was being bathed in positive sounds every time the wind blew.

Step 2

Before we moved in our first load of personal belongings (after physically cleaning the place up top to bottom, inside and out – believe me the poor house was a mess) I then lit a sage smudge stick and slowly walked its smoke throughout the entire place; into every room, every closet, every hallway, into every corner — waving it slowly high and low until every spatial inch had been occupied with wisps of the smoke. It’s kind of an odd smell, sage is. A little like burning fall leaves with a sort of resin-y acidic ‘after burn’. Not altogether displeasing, actually.

Step 3

The tingsha help disburse stuck energy

Tingsha, the Tibetan bells. With a little practice you can get pretty good at ringing these. You’ll come to discover that you can actually hear for yourself when you’ve come close to some stuck energy. It’s usually found in corners and the residual ringing of the bells in your inner ears will sound ‘flat’ or off key. What’s really amazing, at least to me, is how you can hear the flatness be resolved as you continue ringing in this one spot allowing each ring to play fully out. You just bang the bells together allowing their sound to fully disburse until the next ring – repeating until the harmonics sound right to you.

You can also help this process along by gently moving the vibrating bells up and down and side to side to sort of create a path for the stuck energy to follow. Do this all throughout every room or stall or office or space in the place you’re adjusting. I have done gardens and cars and art fair tents too. I would plan on spending about 10 minutes per room or space – though it could be more or less – your ears will tell you!


That’s the 3 step process I use for deliberate energy cleansing. I follow up with some prayer flag placement and other sort more day to day positive energy influencing – addressed in other posts. I have had repeated great good luck with it! Since moving into our grand old home I have never had any ghost like or bad energy experience here. Nor have any of our guests or animals that I’m aware of. I’m often told our house feels comfortable and homey. I don’t think people are just being polite.

Other Tools

  • Gongs
  • bells
  • incense
  • chants
  • drums
  • music
  • pictures
  • prayer flags
  • colors
  • plants
  • candles, etc.

You can start to see where all of these items when used intentionally, actively or passively, can help ‘adjust’ the energy of a physical place. If you’ve got a favorite or one you’re particularly drawn to — use it!