Smudging is the ancient ritual of burning herbs to cleanse and heal a space, person or object. It includes the use of a smudge stick (found at natural shops or online) or loose herbs. Sage is known to have healing qualities and is the preferred herb for smudging ceremonies but other herbs, such as cedar or sweetgrass, can be incorporated as well.
The basic idea of why and how smudging works lies in the subatomic energy that surrounds us and how it makes us feel. Energy can become trapped in a space creating a barrier for new energy to enter. This can cause feelings of discomfort, agitation, depression, and anger, to name a few. Smudging, i.e. upward dispersing smoke, helps lift up the current energy, allowing you to replace it with your own positive and creative energy.
So when should you smudge?
It’s a good idea to smudge a new home before you move in. It cleanses the air and provides a fresh space for you and your family to bring your own energy.
Smudging can also be done when a current space has a “bad feeling”. We’ve all been in a room that gives us the “creeps” or makes our hair stand up. This is a reaction to the current energy in the space. Smudging can help eliminate that bad feeling.
How to Smudge Your Home
- Smudge Stick
- Bowl (or shell)
Using a shell incorporates all four elements – earth, air, fire and water (herbs, smoke, burning embers, and shell, respectively). It is not crucial to include all four elements but it can enhance the experience.
Set your intention for the smudging. It’s very important to have a positive mindset when smudging. Light the smudge stick and let it smolder. You don’t want a flame, just smoke to billow out of the end (too much smoke will set off smoke detectors. Use caution). Once the stick is smoldering begin by moving clockwise through each room, wafting smoke into all corners of the room. Open doors, cabinets and drawers so the smoke can move freely through all areas. As you exit each room smudge the doorway. Move through the house in a clockwise direction.
You can internalize your thoughts or you can use words to express your intentions. Are you smudging because you just moved in to the home? Vocalizing your hopes for your new home can help personalize the ritual.
Focus on areas of the home that feel dark, closed off, stale or heavy. As you smudge, be sure to replace the bad energy with positive words and thoughts in these areas.
After you complete the smudging you should feel calm and light in your home. Continue to bring positive energy into the space to maintain that feeling.
The effects of smudging are not visible to our eyes, making it hard for some to believe that it works. Smudging creates a feeling, a mood, an energy. If you don’t believe, you won’t feel the benefits. It’s truly a mind over matter phenomenon so your mindset when smudging will ultimately affect the outcome. Please only smudge if your intent is pure and positive. Only then will you receive the rejuvenating and healing benefits of smudging.
Alexander, J. (2005). The smudging and blessings book: Inspirational rituals
to cleanse and heal. New York: Sterling Pub.
Lembo, M. A. (2011). All about smudging. Woodbury, Minn: Llewellyn