Smudging 101

by elementhealing



Hello, welcome back. I am happy you are here!! ❤

I was consulting with a client recently and during our discussion I told him that it would do him good to smudge his home and himself to help get rid of some negative energy that he had been dealing with. He had never heard of smudging before and asked what I was talking about. I told him what Smudging was and why it would be a good idea and thought that this would be a good blog idea 🙂 so here goes!

Smudging is a powerful ancient practice of burning fragrant herbs to clear negative energy from people, places and things. For most when the topic is discussed your thought goes first to the Native American cultures, but there are other cultures that also burn herbs and spices. For the sake of this post I will use the Native American Culture. My Father’s Maternal family is Native American so this is the culture closest to my heart.

I will explain the process of smudging in a bit but first I want you to understand that this is a ritual and like all ritual must be done reverently. Each article used for smudging is sacred and represents one of the four element and used together represent the fifth element of spirit, life energy.

  • The sage or other herb represent Fire
  • The shell or clay bowl represent Water
  • The rising smoke represents Air
  • The ash represents Mother Earth

Together these are the elements that represent spirit/life.

Smudging can be used to clear negative energy from anything and can be done as often as needed. I try to always smudge myself before doing readings and rituals. If you’ve had a horrible day, smudge yourself and you will feel better! Even better keep a container outside your home in a ritual space to hold supplies so that you can smudge before going in, this way you aren’t taking negative energy inside!

There are a few things you might want to keep in mind prior to beginning. It’s a real good idea to have a door or window open while smudging. The negative energy has to have someplace to go! If there isn’t a door or window open the negativity isn’t going to leave. It will find some nice cozy spot to hide and come back again later. Another good reason to have ventilation is to keep anyone in the home or group with breathing issues safe. Yes sage and other herbs are medicinal but in concentrated form during a lengthy ritual might be harmful.

Also keep in mind that the shell or clay bowl that holds the smudge stick in is going to get hot so it’s a good idea to put sand or nice dirt in the container as an insulator. And, if you set it down make sure that you put something under it to protect your furniture! Remember also that the cord the bundle is tied with will eventually burn and causing bundle to come apart so don’t leave it burning and leave the room, we don’t want any accidental fires.

The last thing you might want to keep in mind before starting is to try to clear any clutter from the area being smudged. This will open the area and not give negativity a place to hide.

OK. Onward!

Now getting down to the basic process of the ritual. This is a general how to. If you have never smudged before you will, in time work this process into a ritual that you are comfortable with and that works best for you. Remember this is a ritual and must be done reverently with intent!

Lighting the smudge stick can be a bit difficult sometimes. So it’s a good idea to use a candle flame instead of a lighter that will get pretty hot. Once it is lit, fan out the flame and allow the smoke to rise. Don’t blow on the smudge stick. I know that this will be your first impulse but by blowing on it you can inadvertently blow negative energy into the very object that you want to use to rid negative energy!! Use your hand or a ceremonial feather for this purpose.

Once the smoke is rising nicely it is a good idea to offer smoke to the cardinal directions and invite them to your ritual.  East, South, West, North, Up, Down and Center. Not everyone does this, it is up to you to decide if this is something you want to include. This is a ritual in itself. So there is a right and wrong way to do this. [maybe this is another blog post ;)]

If you are smudging a group of people do yourself first then the others. Pass the smoke over your whole body head to toe, front and back. You can use your hands or feather to direct the smoke. When I smudge myself I start by directing smoke to my eyes to clear my vision, my mouth to ensure I speak only kind words and to my heart to open my ability to love unconditionally. Then I pass the smoke over my body both front and back. If I have a physical issue or feel negativity in my chakras or aura I pay special attention to these areas. As you pass the smoke speak, either silently or out loud, something like “As I pass this sacred smoke over my/your body all negativity is released. Allowing peace, love and light to take it’s place”. After doing yourself do any others in your group following the same process. Always keep the intent of clearing negativity in your mind. When you clear negativity you want to always fill that empty space with good. This is why I always fill with peace, love and light.

To clear a space start by smudging around the exterior of the home if possible. This is a good idea because it creates a ring of clear space around your home that will not allow negativity to settle in once it’s driven out. Sometimes this isn’t possible, of course, especially if you live in an apartment building. But in this case you can do around your front door and patio area if you have one and also the windows.

If you are going to do your whole home and you have more than one floor start from the lowest floor and work your way up. Work your way around each room and floor from the left to right. Go around the edges of each room paying attention to corners, closets and behind doors. When you have worked your way around a room you can direct smoke to the center of the space. Again use your hand or feather to direct the smoke and speak something like “With this sacred smoke all negativity is released from this space. Only peace, love and light are allowed to remain” When you have covered all the space you wanted to do finish the process by directing the smoke out the open window or door. When you feel that all negativity has gone shut the door or window.

To clear the energy from an object like a crystal for example. Hold it in or pass the crystal back and forth through the smoke and say something like ” As I pass this crystal through the sacred smoke I clear it’s energy making it strong. May only good strong and positive energy remain for my highest good”.

No matter what I am clearing I always end with “So Mote it Be” you can choose any closing you like that fits with your belief system. When you are done and want to put the stick out, don’t do the first thing that comes to your mind and run it under water. This isn’t good for the stick for two reasons. First if you want to use it the next day, it’s going to be wet! Also for health reasons you want to avoid the possibility of mold growing inside the stick.

Tamp the stick out in a shell or clay bowl that has sand or dirt in it until it is extinguished. When it is no longer smoldering take the ash outside and give it back to the earth. As you do this thank the spirit of the herb and the smoke for assisting you.

Like any other ritual object you should store it in a place of honor. Don’t put it in a drawer and forget about it until you need it again. You can place the shell, stick and feather on your alter or any place that shows respect.

The herbs most often used for smudging are Sage, Sweetgrass and Cedar but there are others that can be used such as:

  • Sage: For healing, cleansing, driving out unwanted energies
  • Cedar: For purifying, drawing in wanted energies
  • Sweetgrass: For blessing
  • Sagebrush: For calling spirit
  • Lavender: For restoring peace and balance
  • Mugwort: For psychic work, this is also a real good cleanser

These herbs can be combined for smudging rituals. For example combining sweetgrass and sage allows for clearing and blessing at the same time. After a traumatic event sage and lavender will clear the energy of the trauma and invite peace and balance back into the home and you if you smudge yourself as well.

Smudging is a wonderful gift you can give yourself, your family and your home. I hope you give it a try.

Have a wonderful week everyone 🙂

Blessed Be!