‘Smudging’ is the common name given to the Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing, a powerful cleansing technique from the Native American tradition. However the burning of herbs for emotional, psychic, and spiritual purification is common practice in many religious, healing, and spiritual traditions. It is a ritual way to cleanse a person, place or an object of negative energies or influences. The theory behind smudging is that the smoke attaches itself to negative energy and as it clears it takes the negative energy with it, releasing it into another space to be regenerated.
Smudging is very effective when you’ve been feeling depressed, angry, resentful or unwell or after you have had an argument with someone. It is also great to smudge yourself, the space and all the guests or participants before a ritual or ceremony or celebration. You can smudge your home or work space as part of a general spiritual housecleaning and you can cleanse crystals or other objects of any negative energy with a smudging ritual.
There are many ways to smudge and a variety of different herbs may be used. When the herbs used for smudging are tied into a bundle and allowed to dry they are called a “smudge stick”. In traditional societies the herbs used for smudging are considered sacred and the smudge stick is treated with great respect.
How to Smudge
Any action, undertaken with intention and belief can become a potent ritual so consider your intention before you smudge and hold it clearly in your mind. You may wish to invite the spirit of the herbs to join you and guide and assist with your intention.
A candle flame is recommended to light the smudge stick as it may take a little time to get the stick smoking. Once there’s a flame blow it out so that the smudge stick is smoldering, not burning. Blow or wave the flame with your hand to put out the fire. Allow the smudge stick to smolder, freeing the smoke to circle in the air.
Fan the swirls of smoke around your body from head to toe. You may want to especially focus on areas where you feel there are blockages or where there has been or is physical, emotional, or psychic pain. Imagine the smoke lifting away all the negative thoughts, emotions and energies that have attached themselves to you. If you are feeling depressed for instance you could visualize the smoke carrying away all your feelings of depression.
It is often appropriate to smudge guests as they enter the space at a ritual, ceremony or special event. Smudge as if you were smudging yourself, fanning the smoke all over their body. You may want to speak an intention or a suggestion for the smudging as you do it. For instance “Allow the sacred smoke to cleanse your body and spirit and bring you present and available into this moment”
Smudging a Room or Space
Light the smudge stick and walk about the perimeter,move in a counter clockwise direction to banish negativity, giving special attention to the corners and the places behind doors. You can also fan the smoke throughout the room with a large feather.
During Healing Work
During healing work, the smoke may be fanned over the person either by your hand or with feathers. This clears out unhealthy energies and brings in the special attributes of the herbs. You may also direct smudge to each of the person’s chakras and as you do so visualize each chakra coming into balance as it is purified by the smudge.
Cleansing Crystals or Other Objects
Hold the objects to be purified in the smoke or fan the smoke over them. If you are clearing your crystals prior to programming them thank both them and the smudge stick for helping you to realize your goals.
Illness strongly affects the energy in the home. Illness subdues the energy in a home, whether physically or mentally in the case of the person suffering, or from the nervous tension and energetic output of the person tending the ill. Fresh air must be brought into the home, as well as plants and flowers, candles and some form of purifying water. By bringing the four elements into the home and the sense of a fresh clean, beginning, you will raise everyone’s spirits and incorporate balance into the home again.
Conflict in the home or violation in the form of constant arguing or anger or if the home has been robbed or damaged in some way can also strongly affect the chi of the home and its occupants. This is another instance where space clearing, regularly if necessary, can help you move on from negative energy and holding onto the past and moving forward into a happier future.
After Change or to Elicit Change
When change comes into life, whether positive or negative it can’t help but affect people and their environment. If you change jobs, lose someone you love, have to deal with conflict or resentment, or if you end a relationship, you need to make sure that you take the time to process your emotions and then cleanse yourself and your space. Honor the passing, mourn, grieve, let your anger or anxiety our and then work to let those emotions go so you can continue unencumbered on your path. Chi is all about balance – learning and moving forward and working to maintain harmony internally and externally. Clearing space is a good habit and one that can help you move on in all facets of your life with more ease.
Extinguishing the Smudge Stick
Have ready a fireproof receptacle such as a shell or a glass or ceramic dish to put the smudge stick in when you’ve finished. It’s ideal to damp the stick out in sand, or earth or you can just press it against the bottom of the receptacle. Always make sure that a smudge stick is out before leaving the room where you keep it.
- A traditional way to cleanse away negative energy
- Cleanse divination, ritual and psychic development tools.
- Use to clear energy out of a room where stress occurs.
- Use to cleanse people and pets that are depressed, sick or anxious
- Clear energy from a previous resident.
- Can also be used to bless or consecrate spiritual tools or sacred spaces
- Sage Smudge Ceremony to help sell your home