"I say, so be it. And so it is."
According to Barrie Dolnick, selling a house is just about that simple.
Sure you still have to clean the place, fix those dripping faucets and loose doorknobs you've learned to live with, brighten up the interior with a fresh coat of paint and do whatever else it takes to set your house apart from the competition.
But selling your home is not just about physical things, says Dolnick, the New York City-based author of "Simple Spells for Hearth and Home" (Harmony Books, $18). It's also about attitude, mainly letting go of a place that has been your friend and protector for all the years you've lived under its roof.
"I come at it from the atmospheric angle," says this highly profiled consultant whose company, Executive Mystic, makes serious use of such unusual techniques as mediation, astrology and spell casting to guide business and career decisions.
Hold on, now. This is not just another one of those silly Halloween stories, is it?
No, Dolnick isn't a professional real estate agent who departs wisdom backed by years of experience guiding home owners through the selling process. But whoooooo's to say she's her brand of salesmanship won't help -- even a smidgen?
Hey, some people bury a statue of St. Joseph upside down in their yards in an effort to help sell their homes. Others resort to Feng Shui, the Oriental method of aligning a household with the earth's natural energy.
Dolnick, on the other hand, relies on incantations to Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth who "rules the very core of the home." And her book, the sequel to "Simple Spells for Love" and "Simple Spells for Success," is loaded with chants for making your house the best home it can be.
Spells casting is not some form of witchcraft. They're not about control or casting power over someone or some event, says Dolnick, who 400 clients range from Wall Street executives to police officers. Rather, they're a form of elemental magic, an ancient practice that paid homage to fire, earth, air and water, the four basic elements of life.
And they work, she says, "they really do. Time and time again, I've witnessed spells become a reality."
As the author explains them, spells are organized wishes that carry "the power to manifest a desire." They're a ritual, a process, she says, and we call on them more often than we might realize. Making a wish before blowing out the candles on a birthday cake is a spell, for example. And so is a housewarming party in which people come to bless someone's new home.
For spells to work, though, you need to believe, you must posses intention, and you have to let them happen. That is, let the spell work on its own time, or as Dolnick calls it, Cosmic Time. "Allowing is really hard," she says. "You have to trust the universe and let your magic happen in its own time."
Now that we've covered the basics, let's talk about some of the ways spells might help -- moving in, remodeling and selling. Dolnick has spells for all of that -- and then some.
When taking up residence in a new place, you need to do a little "psychic housecleaning." Whether brand spanking new or used, the house or apartment needs to be cleansed of whatever karma was left behind.
"Before you fill up your space with your energy, clean out what may have been left behind by the last tenants, the painters, the builders or even the real estate agents," the author writes. "The principle of this cleaning is to neutralize any negativity or toxicity that may have been left behind, and to clear out other people's imprints if they are not compatible with yours."
Once you've cleared out the old forces, you can call upon Vesta to bless the dwelling as your own. But do it on a Thursday during a waxing moon in the third hour after sunset.
On a Monday during a waxing moon and in the first hours of sunset, you can call on Vesta and the other cosmic guardians to help you through a stressful, disrupting remodeling project, which, according to Dolnick, will not only change your home's physical appearance but its energetic make-up as well.
During a make-over, you are forced to make numerous decisions about contractors, materials and products. In each case, the options are enormous. Toss in a spell, and you'll likely make the right choices.
Put two vases of carnations side-by-side, place some cinnamon in a vessel made of organic materials, light a yellow candle, and say aloud: "In expanding our home, we expand our heart center, our life force. I ask that the right person aid us in this great task and that all choices be guided by the greater good. We create together a home or beauty, security and endurance."
Oh yeah. Don't forget to leave the cinnamon in the house while the work is being done.
Selling can be even more difficult than remodeling, at least psychologically. Not only are you giving up something that's been a very important part of your life, you're letting someone else have it. And, says Dolnick, "there can be a strong magnetic pull around a place when it isn't 'let go' consciously."
Not only do you need to open your home to others and beckon them to come in, you have to release it from your own heart, the spell-binding author advises. "Your heart energy is an incredibly powerful force. And if you're not ready to leave emotionally, you'll hold on to your house too tightly."
"Sticky emotions" aren't the only feelings that can impair your ability to sell. So can "anti-sale energy," currents that can easily undermine your best physical efforts. Perhaps you're trying too hard. Maybe you are worried that you may never find a buyer, or that your house won't pass inspection.
"These negative thought patterns permeate the atmosphere and make the house unreceptive to potential buyers," says Dolnick.
They also tend to insult Vesta, who is not about to play host to a new owner without being asked. The goddess of the hearth, it seems, can just as easily prevent people from taking root in your house.
Not to worry, though. "Simple spells for Hearth and Home" has incantations to purify your home and rid the place of any anxieties that might inhibit someone else from buying it.
It also has a chant for attracting the right buyers, "people of right hearts and minds (who) find connection in this space and that these walls will be filled again with live, life and connection to mystery and miracle."
I say, so be it, and so it is.