Regulars and Shorts

Ask Your Mama: Ceremony & Spirituality

By catalyst

Ceremony & Spirituality
by Donna Henes

Dear Mama Donna,

I am wondering how to shift the energy in my house and make it more cozy and nicer to be here after my divorce. I have done the paint job and I feel like I am living in an empty theater in many ways. Any ideas? I haven’t had my house re-warming yet because it doesn’t feel like I am really ready. I am trying to both keep the creative juice going, and excavate what I don’t need. Should I just relax and make soup and knit and do projects and wait for the cold to pass?

—Domestically Challenged


Dear Lady of the House,

It sounds to me like you want to make your house into your home. To personalize it and to claim it as your own. Creating your home is a perfect metaphor for redirecting the focus of your life.

You have cleared away the old energy by scrubbing and painting. Now you need to fill it with your own spirit. I really like the idea of starting with an empty theater. Think of it as a proscenium on which you can stage and star in the production of your own life.

I never could understand how people could design all of the tiniest details of a house on paper and then build from those plans. How can you possibly know what you want and where you want it until after you have inhabited the space? How can you be sure exactly where you want a particular drawer or light switch or outlet, until circumstances and your own habits and requirements show you the way?

I always like to build my home around myself, to it create as I go. To gradually bring into my environment the things that I like, that I need, that I find, that I make myself. I am like a bowerbird or a magpie who forages for the fripperies with which it decorates its nest.

And then, of course, each new thing that I drag inside demands to be set in the environment with thought, feeling and intention. This ritual of placement assures that each each addition makes a relevant statement to me. Nothing that is not a reflection of my own taste and experience.

As you spend time in an empty space, you learn where you feel the most comfortable, or conversely, where you feel agitated or ill at ease. You find your favorite corners and discover your power points.

Do you remember in “The Teachings of Don Juan” where Don Juan assigns Carlos Casteneda the exercise of locating his sitio? Don Juan had him get down on the floor of the porch and roll around until he could identify his perfect place, his sitio. Once he found his place, he was to spread his bedroll there and spend the night. But Carlos felt frustrated and foolish and eventually just drifted off to sleep. In the morning, Don Juan came out of the house and congratulated him on finding his sitio. His body and spirit had automatically stopped looking and relaxed when he was in his proper place.

Finding your sitio is a good way to start domesticating your house. This especially energetic spot is the seat of your power. That is where you should put your altar or drawing table or desk so that it will support your creative juices. This source of nurturing energy is like the hearth. The heat it generates will fuel the room and you can build out from there.

It is tempting to want it all done fast right now this minute, because that would mean that you had already transformed yourself and were settled into your new life, as it were. But your personal makeover will come to pass from the very process of your homemaking.

By simply living in the house, you will be claiming it and enlivening it with your spirit. And once your spirit owns the space, it will speak to you and let you know precisely what you need and what you desire in order to be happy in your home.

So yes, burrow in, make soup, knit and do pro-

jects. Put on music, light some sweet grass and putter around. Live your life and do creative work there. Cook and eat and read and dance and dream there. Relax. You are home.

And there is no place like home.

—xxMama Donna

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. Send your questions about seasons, cycles, and celebrations to Mama Donna at

This article was originally published on February 28, 2009.