Smudging or the burning of sacred herbs in ceremony has been an ancient practice. This is most widely used for spiritual cleansing or blessing of a person, place or object. The most common herb used in smudging is white sage; Salvia apiana.
White sage or Sacred sage is an evergreen perennial shrub. This herb has a number of benefits depending on how it is used. It can be burned, applied topically or used as a tea, which can help resolve sinus infections, congestion, eliminate bacteria, and cleanse negativity energy. When sage is burned, it can reduce bacteria from the air by as much as 90%. When used as a tea, it also reduces the presence of bacteria in the body.
When to smudge?
You can smudge every day if you like, with every changing season, moon cycle or based around major events in your life. If you are feeling like a place or person needs a cleansing and positive momentum in their life, moving into a new house or overcoming an emotional experience, these are all good times to do a cleanse.
What do you need to smudge?
You only really need a smudge stick to work its magic. However, depending on your preference and level of spiritual awareness, you could design rituals of your own that speak to you for this practice. To keep things simple, your smudge kit consists of four elements. Pertaining to Fire, Water, Earth and Air.
Bowl: Traditionally a shell representing water is used as the first element.
Smudge Stick: This is the bundle of fried herbs used to perform the smudging representing earth.
Match/Lighter: This is used to light the herb itself and or a candle. You may find that you need to relight your smudge stick during the process. This represents the fire element.
Smoke: the smoke produced from burning the herb represents the fourth element; air.
Optional: A fanning tool like a feather can be used or just simply your hands to allow the smoke to spread and cover more area.
How to smudge
1. The Set Up
Once you have your four elements ready, open up all the windows and doors in your home to allow the negative an escape route.
Quieten your mind and centre yourself. Focus and determine why this ceremony is needed ie; cleansing, healing, spiritual connectedness.
3. Purify Your Aura
Light the dried herbs, blow out the flame gently to start the smoke. Using your hand or a feather, start wafting the smoke towards your body beginning at the feet, gently moving up to the head. Gently blow on the herbs to keep it burning.
4. Cleanse the home
Do it with conviction. Starting from the inner left corner of your home or space you are cleansing, slowly move around the space staying to the left. Fan the smoke over covering the whole space and stopping intuitively at places that need more clearing. Hold in mind your intentions for this ceremony as you perform the smudging. Make your way to the front door and shoot the smoke out the front door. Keep doors and windows open until smoke clears.
5. Finishing Up
Once you’ve performed the smudging, extinguish the smoke by gently pressing the herb into your bowl or vessel until it stops burning on its own. Alternatively, you can press it into sand. Do not leave it burning unattended. Gather the ashes collected in the bowl and return it to the earth or release it to running water such a river or a stream. Now that your space is cleansed of negative energy, infuse it with your own positive vibes, love and light.
The use of smudging is so versatile it can only be limited by your imagination. For maximum benefits as with any spiritual practice, it should be approached with purity of intent. Hold your smudging tools sacred and it will bring you good vibrations.
Love and Light