It turns out that Bhakti Sondra Shaye does windows. She also scours microwaves, refrigerators, dishwashers and closets.
Recently, she arrived at my front door, swathed in a pale pink pashmina, brandishing an empty pink spray bottle. Slight and pixieish, she looked like a New Age fairy, as played by Anne Hathaway.
Ms. Shaye, 49, who has an M.F.A. in creative writing and practiced for years as a corporate lawyer, is no mere clutter buster. She is what is known as a space clearer. And she was there to perform a really deep spring cleaning of my apartment, beyond anything the vacuum might reach — way, way beyond. The dust bunnies were safe; it was bad vibes she would be Hoovering up.
Beloved by reality television show producers and Manhattan real estate brokers, space clearers like Ms. Shaye barely garner a raised eyebrow anymore. Running off the fumes of the big four religions, with a lacing of indigenous ritual and a dash of early 20th-century palaver — Madame Blavatsky by way of L. Ron Hubbard — the shamans and healers, mystics and mediums of the last century’s not-so-New Age have become indispensable exterminators for certain homeowners in New York and other big cities, who summon these psychic scrubbers to wash their apartments and town houses (as well as their offices and even some events) with ho-hum regularity. They get more publicity than most decorators and architects, and have armfuls of testimonials from brokers at companies like Core and Corcoran.
Uncertain times, it seems, call for unorthodox housekeeping — or “that extra advantage,” as Desiree Gruber, a founder of “Project Runway,” put it.
Jeff Sharlet, who has written extensively about faith and religion in this country (his last book, “Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithlessness and the Country In Between,” came out in 2011), would argue that woo-woo ablutions are no longer merely a coastal practice. “It’s in many ways a small-town Midwestern phenomenon, a red-state phenomenon as much as a blue one.”
Fair enough. But why clean so, ah, thoroughly?
Why not? asked Dominic Teja Sidhu, 31, a curator, creative director and art adviser who said he calls upon Ms. Shaye for all his projects, including photo shoots, gallery shows and art installations. “It’s very affordable, the cost of a car service, and the money is going to such a good place,” he said. (Regarding the money: Ms. Shaye charges $50 for a project clearing, $250 for a remote home clearing and from $350 to as much as $1,000 for an on-site zhoosh of an entire house.)
Written By: Penelope Greencontinue to source article at nytimes.com