The Ancient Art of Smudging

The art of smudging goes as far back as documented human history. From the burnt offerings of the Old Testament and exotic incenses of the ancient temples the practice of burning sacred herbs, woods, flowers, and resins spans history far and wide. The practice we commonly refer to as smudging comes from Native American traditions where bundles of plants and herbs are burned in ceremony to invoke the presence of Spirit and enhance various intentions.

The most traditional form of smudge is the use of white sage which is used for purposes such as cleansing, protection and purification. Other herbs are used as well and carry a variety of intentions. When smudging it’s important to keep in mind the purpose of your ceremony and select the appropriate plant or herb to enhance those intentions.

Smudging Methods

The actual act of smudging varies with purpose. It’s important to always use a heat resistant surface as it is very easy to burn a table surface or melt through an inappropriately used vessel. Shells are commonly used as a smudging container but other beautiful decorative metal or stone containers can easily be found in retail stores and online.

When smudging, it is common to simply light the end of the stick and allow the smoke to fill the area. When cleansing the body and aura the stick can be gently waved over the surface of the body allowing the smoke to roll over the body and mingle with the aura. Some smudges, when used in meditation have been known to be lit and inhaled for their affects the consciousness. It’s highly important to beware and take into consideration possible allergies, side effects or breathing conditions when considering methods such as these.

When doing a thorough cleansing of a larger area such as a home, office or other area one would typically start at the area farthest from the most commonly used entrance. Using a hand, feather, a fan or your breath to move the smoke around the area filling every corner, high and low, making sure to fill the space, cleansing all negativity or unwanted energies. When banishing these unwanted energy form a space you will move around the room in a counterclockwise fashion. Repeat this motion in each room as you grow closer to the main entrance/exit where you will then send all of the negativity out of the home or building.

Similar to banishing, when drawing in energies or blessings you will work this pattern in reverse in a clockwise motion, winding up the energy. Rather than working from the farthest area from the entrance you will begin at the entrance and work your way through the home bringing in the intended energies and filling your space with purpose and intention.  Often with this process one will use a prayer that compliments the purpose of the ceremony.

It is also possible to cleanse and purify objects with smudging. Smudging not only cleanses and purifies the air of airborne bacteria and pathogens but it cleanses the surface of objects unwanted bacteria as well reducing the spread of illness. It cleanses negative energy from tools and belongings or energies from previous ownership or surroundings. This is done easily by waving the item in the smoke allowing it to cover all surfaces or by taking the stick or container of loose burning herbs across larger items and allowing the smoke to cover the item being cleansed. Commonly smudged items might be:

  • Crystals
  • Divinary & magical tools
  • Money
  • Pre-owned items such as garage sale and thrift store finds
  • Jewelry or other items you may want to charge with an intention

The potential is endless.

In all of these practices it’s important to keep a close eye on the ashes and keep a container underneath the burning stick at all times as falling ash are a dangerous hazard.

Smudging Materials

Herbs

White Sage

Cleansing, purification, protection, banishing negative energy and malevolent spirits.

Blue Sage

Known as grandmother sage, blue sage is used for cleansing, purification, banishing negative energy and malevolent spirits, strength, emotional balancing and healing.

Black Sage (Mugwort)

Beneficial in divination, dream work and lucid dreaming, insomnia, meditation, astral travel, visions and psychic abilities. Stimulates the third eye chakra.

Desert Sage

Used in blessings, cleansings and to heal the mind, body and spirit.

Lavender

Relaxations and releasing anxiety, peace of mind, happiness, sleep and reducing negativity.

Rosemary

Super high vibrational herb raises your own vibration, is soothing, peace bringing, encouraging, cleansing, purifying and consecrating.

Yerba Santa

Protect, purify, brings courage, enhances psychic abilities, love and peace, meditation, banishing and creating boundaries.

Eucalyptus

Decongestant, protection, health, energizing and purification.

Sweetgrass

Purification, healing, attracting good spirits and ancestors, positivity, blessings and celebration and used in lifting prayers to god.

Lilac

Soothing, relaxation, grounding.

Ginger

Protection and cleansing

Calendula

Purification and consecration

Catnip

Love, beauty, harmony, healing and peace within the home.

Lemongrass

Purifying and cleansing, provides clarity and understanding and brings an uplifted spirit.

Bay

Wishes, manifestation, uplifting, protection, healing, calming, success, anxiety, cleansing and purification.

Basil

Happiness, mental stability and peace within the sacred space.

Peppermint

Refreshing, soothing, promotes relaxation.

Chamomile

Happiness, comfort, peace of mind, relaxation, soothing energies.

Thyme

Removes obstacles and mental blockages, negative feelings and enhances the memory.

Dill

Protection and luck.

Dandelion

Divination and spirit connections.

Amaranth

Dissolves blockages, aids in healing and provided comfort to our sacred spaces.

Aspen

Protection, aids in managing stress and anxiety.

Evergreens

Cedar

Banishing, protection, grounding, healing, longevity and healing.

Juniper

Masculine energy, luck, protection, longevity, balance, meditation and cleansing the soul.

Pine

Healing, prosperity, confidence, protection and nurturing.

Blue Spruce

Cleansing, serenity, healing and blessings.

Woods

Palo Santo

Cleanse, sanctify, purify, combats negativity and promotes healing.

Sandalwood

Cleansing, soothing and grounding. Brings love, blessings and protection. Aids in meditation, astral travel, psychic abilities

Cinnamon

Cleansing energy. Brings abundance, prosperity, harmony, health and luck.

Clove

Banish hostility and negativity, enhances psychic ability, it amplifies personal vibrations and the aura.

Allspice

Attracting positivity, determination, strength, uplifting energies.

Resins

Frankincense

Cleansing, protection, clarity, harmony, positivity, release anxiety and depression. Masculine energy,

Myrrh

Feminine energy, enlightenment,  intuition, psychic abilities, necromancy, nurturing and healing.

Copal

Attracts good spirits and ancestors, psychic abilities, divination and consecration

Benzoin

Purification, blessings and prosperity.

Amber

Blessings, love, purification, immortality and healing

Dragons Blood

Protection, clarity, enhancing sexuality and cleansing

Other commonly used items for cleansing

Selenite

A high vibrational stone cleanses and neutralizes negative energy.

Can be placed around the home, carried on the person or used in meditation.

Florida water

A high grade alcohol infused with the essence of a multitude of different flowers.

Cleanses negative energy, purifies the aura, cleanses the area of negative spirits.

Can be used as a spray, to anoint or if often added to cleaning solutions to cleanse an area of negativity during the cleaning process.

Has a very pleasant aroma.