Spirit of the Home by Jane Alexander

Subtitle: How to make your home a sanctuary

Author: Jane Alexander, written 1999

One of the most beautiful books on home improvement that I know is this pearl of a book called the Spirit of the Home. Reading this book starts you on a journey which may take years, guiding you towards your true home. It is a book to get lost in; be inspired by; come back to again and again; fall in love with; get angry at; and find useful information in.

Sprinkled as it is with great pictures taken by Tim Goffe there are several approaches you might take. You might put it on your table-top and show it off to your guests leafing through it once and again for the inspiring pictures. You might also focus on one chapter which captures you and read it thoroughly, but leaf through the rest. Then again you might start at the beginning and take on Jane Alexander’s fascinating challenge – dig deep and wide within yourself and to transform your dwelling into the home of your dreams.

Granted you need to be open-minded to – or at least not be repulsed by – talk of spiritual deities, goddesses, and cleansing rituals, to be inclined to embrace this book. If you can’t get past this jargon this probably isn’t the right book for you. But if you can see beyond this – or perhaps even come to believe in it a little – you will thoroughly enjoy it. The great pictures alone make it worth a study, but I do recommend you go a little deeper.

In the first part the author points out how society has removed itself from what our ancestors knew to be true; regarding the meaning of our homes. She urges us to undertake a life-long journey into the physical as well as the spiritual realm to discover some deep truths about our own psyche and how it reflects on the physical environment we call home.

In the second part you are taken back to the home of your childhood to consider which part of it you wish to reinvent in your current home and which part you’d rather let go of. Then you are led to the threshold of your current home to start a completely different tour of it, during which you might discover something about how it feels, smells, how suitable it is for fulfilling your deeper needs, or “how content it is”. You then get to dream a little about how your ideal home would have been if the world had been a perfectly harmonious place where your dreams had already come true. In practice this means looking through glossy magazines, cutting out the pictures that really speak to you, and make a scrap-book.

The next part is more practical and focuses on how to make your house sparkly clear, clean and healthy. Jane Alexander urges you to start (didn’t we know it?) to declutter and clean every corner of it; and then continue chucking out the stuff that clogs the flow of energy; and finally to cleanse the entire house – including the stuffed storage rooms in the basement and corners with long forgotten piles of papers. You will be learning how putting some “elbow grease” into it can give grounding and perhaps even put you in a meditative state with practice. What a great perspective to have on no longer tedious household chores!

In the next two parts of the book you learn how, when your house is clean and clutter-free, to start the esoteric task of energizing it by means of smudging and feng shui, which you are given a brief overview of. You go searching for your soul colors and learn how to use light, scent, sound and texture, as well as wood, stone, plants and water, in new creative ways to bring the Spirit of your home to contentment.

The last two parts of the book sums it up by pointing out the importance of having a space of your own, and some space for keeping your relationship in great shape as well.

Since you are still with me, I am convinced you would enjoy reading this book; for your own benefit and as well as that of your family and home.

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