Recently, Stephanie Jutt, flutist for the Madison Symphony Orchestra and co-founder of Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society (BDDS), came to our house in a flurry. Now if you know Stephanie Jutt, her hurried state probably doesn’t surprise you. But she had a particular purpose on this day. She came to rid our house of bad spirits, clearing space for the good ones.
We really didn’t have particular issues at the time with any type of spirit or ghost. Most people like to imagine that’s the opposite with a 160-year old house, but we haven’t experienced anything, so far. However, Stephanie knew the obstacles we faced to open The Livingston Inn, so her intent was more to rid us of any further negative energy that might impede our success as bed and breakfast owners.
So, how does one chase away bad spirits, or negative energy, and invite in all the good stuff? Stephanie’s answer: a Princess Leia costume and a handful of dried sage. As she rushed into the door, Stephanie insisted my wife, Peggy, don a Princess Leia gown, straight from the BDDS Star Wars theme this summer. Stephanie then placed a double-bun wig on Peggy’s head and thrust a light saber in one hand and a bundle of sage plants in the other. Next Stephanie lit the sage, and with the torch billowing a hefty column of smoke, she and Peggy ran through the whole house, demanding in each room that bad spirits leave and inviting in the good ones. No room was left behind, not the cupola at the top of the house or the laundry room in the basement.
Did it work? I couldn’t say for sure. I can say that it seems the longer we’re here, the more wonderful things come to us. Delightful guests, helpful neighbors, and supportive people are all around us. Could I call it good spirits or positive energy? It sure feels that way. If anything, Stephanie’s visit was a day filled with laughs as my wife ran around our house like the Statue of Liberty with her flowing robes and glowing torch. As we look back, we appreciate whatever she brought to The Livingston Inn that day, for the opportunity to bring good spirits to our home.
P.S. The photo with this post was a re-creation taken a couple days ago, some weeks after Stephanie’s visit. If you’ve ever smelled burning sage, it’s very similar to a plant now legal in some states to smoke for medicinal purposes. Needless to say, as our guests returned from an evening out in Madison, we had some quizzical looks and then a good laugh as we explained what we were up to.