Smudging is a powerful Native American cleansing ritual used to remove negative energy. Smoke attaches itself to the negative energy and removes it to another space. “Cleansing” is the word traditionally used, but you can think of it as a shift in energy from any bits of negativity to a more positive and peaceful state.
Smudging can be used to cleanse yourself - spirit, mind & body; an object such as a stone or book; and your home or workplace. Smudging is often used to cleanse before a ritual, ceremony, meditation or sleep.
Some of the more commonly used herbs are Sage, Cedar and Sweetgrass. They can be burned in a bowl or shell, or as a stick. Many prefer to use a feather to direct the smoke, but you may use your hand. The shell represents Water, a gift from the ocean. The feather represents a gift from our winged friends.
Smudge Herbs Sage – Healing & Cleansing Sage is used for healing. The smoke is used to heal, cleanse and bless the person or object being smudged. Sage is used to 'wash off' the outside world when one enters ceremony or other sacred space. Objects are likewise washed off with sage medicine smoke to rid them of unwanted influences.
Cedar – Purifying & Protection Cedar is used for protection. Cedar trees are very old, wise and powerful spirits. Cedar is often used to cleanse a home or apartment when first moving in, inviting unwanted spirits to leave. Also for protecting a person, place or object from unwanted influences.
Sweetgrass - Blessing, Goodness & Warmth Sweetgrass is used for general blessing--for making a home a warm, inviting place. Sweetgrass is burnt after smudging with sage, to welcome in good influences after the bad have been driven out.
This very special herb's sweet vanilla-like scent is the breath of the Earth mother, bringing the blessing of Mother Earth's love. Sweetgrass is burned to remind us of essence of the feminine and that the earth provides us with everything we need.
The Smudge Kit Each part represents one of the four elements that come together to form the fifth element – life energy.
- The shell represents WATER - The unlit herbs and ashes represent EARTH - The lit herb represents FIRE - The smoke represents AIR Smudging
~ Before you begin, be sure the area is well ventilated because the smoke, carrying the negative energy must have an escape route. Take normal precautions to prevent an unwanted fire, such as placing your smudge pot or shell on a non-combustible surface. ~ Gather your smudge kit and something to light the herbs. Long wooden matches or a candle are best. ~ Light the herb and when a flame appears, put the herb out so it will smolder and smoke. Before smudging another person, object or place, you should first smudge yourself. You may want to ask Spirit to come help cleanse you or your space.
Smudging yourself Fan the swirls of smoke around your body from head to toe with your hands or feather. Blowing the smoke is not encouraged as this is considered as blowing negativity into the smoke. You may want to focus on chakras where you feel blockages or imbalances. Visualize 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.
Smudging another person 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 To cleanse a house, first offer smoke to the four directions outside the house, starting with the east, then south, west and ending with the north. Beginning with the lowest level of your house, and moving upward, light the smudge and walk about the perimeter, giving special attention to the corners and the places behind doors. You might say something like: I break up and release all negative and stagnant energy in this place. May peace, light and divine love protect us and be ever present.
Cleansing objects Hold the object to be purified in the smoke or fan the smoke over it.
~ When you are finished smudging, extinguish smudge stick by damping against the shell or bowl or one filled with sand.