Let’s Talk Smudging!

Do you clear your space?  Are you familiar with the term smudging?  Let’s talk about this!  Smudging is such a simple process that can really bring big changes to the energy around you.

So, what is it?  It is a traditional Native American (North) energy cleansing technique.  It calls on spirits of sacred plants to drive away negative energies and restore balance.  It is the art of cleansing yourself using simple ritual.  It helps to clear away emotional and psychic “garbage” that may have gathered, like a spiritual spring cleaning.  The change can be swift and dramatic!

This type of cleansing practice is documented in history as an age old tradition.  From the Zulus to Maoris, Chinese to Balinese have forms of cleansing and blessing rituals.  The West even retains forms of them even though many have long forgotten the true purpose behind them.  Incense wafting through a church cleanses the space just as the medicine man’s bowl of sacred smoke, or smudge.  The bells that ring out on Sunday are intended to purify the parish and lead the community into worship, just as the Shamans drums can lead versus on sacred journeys to the spirit world.

The herbs most often used in smudge sticks are sage and sweet grass.  My personal favorites are white sage or a palo santo stick.  Sage drives out any negative thoughts, energies, spirits, and influences.  Sweet grass is used to attract positive energy after all the negative energies have been banished off by sage.  You can purchase smudge sticks on Amazon.com, your local metaphysical shop, Etsy, or one of my favorite online shops, http://www.sagegoddess.com (I am not getting paid for these mentions!).  You can probably buy an entire smudge kit at any of these places as well.

What do you need? A smudge stick/palo santo stick (represents earth element and smoke represents air). An abalone shell to catch the ashes (represents element of water) to extinguish and place the smudge stick.  A large feather to waft the smoke (element of air).  Depending on how in depth your ritual is, you can incorporate crystals, essential oils, flower essences, sea salt, or bells/drums/rattles as well.  You can incorporate this practice into your daily or weekly routine, or anytime you think your energy could use a boost or some cleansing!  You can never smudge too much!  Some ideal/necessary times to smudge your space or self would be:

  • When you move into a new living space
  • When you begin a new job or start your own business
  • Before and after a guest enters your home
  • Before and after a yoga or healing session
  • Before meditation
  • After an argument or any illness
  • When returning home from very crowded situations

If you’d like to try this ancient practice, there are many, many resources online to help you get started.  For now, here is a simple 3 step process that you can modify in a way that best suits you.

  1. Assemble your desired supplies
  2. Place your Smudge stick on your Abalone Shell.  Light the bundle by holding a flame to it until it begins to smoke. If a true flame appears, shake the bundle gently or blow until it is just embers and smoke. I find that I have to re-light my sage bundle a few times during the ritual process. 
  3. Once you have gotten the smoke going, use the feather (you can also use your hand) to direct the smoke over your body from your feet up to your head, then back down again. As you do this, visualize the smoke taking away with it any negative energy from your life.

          If you feel comfortable with this incantation, repeat the following:
          “Air, fire, water, earth. Cleanse, dismiss, dispel.” 
          The sage ceremony lifts the veil between the everyday and the sacred. As you say your incantation, you are shifting energ  at will.  (You can really say any type of intention or incantation that you feel comfortable with.  This is just one example).  Once you have smudged your body, now you can move through your space. Waft the smoke into the corners, doorways and into shadow spaces. To maintain the atmosphere of ritual, keep repeating the incantation in your mind as you diffuse the smoke.  Once your space is cleared, you can choose to allow the sage bundle to either burn out or gently press it out in your heat-proof shell or container. (Personally, I press it out in the abalone shell or else I will set off my smoke alarms! LOL!) Some choose to bury the remaining smudge in your garden to really feel the completeness of the cleansing ritual. Once buried, the sage has done its work in completing the elemental cycle.  This is not a requirement.  I know some who sprinkle the ashes in the garden, some who flush down the toilet, some who throw outside.  All are fine!  Go with whatever you feel comfortable doing.

I hope to have given you a little bit of insight into a beautiful, simple, yet powerful practice that you can easily incorporate into your daily life.  I would love to hear from you if you decide to try this out, or if you already smudge yourself and your own space!  If so, what method do you use and what are your favorite herbs to use?  I look forward to hearing from you.


Kristine, Indigo Wings XO