I received such a glowing response from so many of you on our Instagram page requesting a more detailed overview and instructional on the artful practice of smudging (or traditionally known as ’saging’) as some like to call it, so I thought it prime time to relay all that I know about this beloved sacred ritual. Remember, it is a practice of thousands of years of spiritual communion and ritual so it’s pretty special.
On that note, let’s get right into it!
WHAT IS SMUDGING
The act of smudging, essentially, is all about elevating vibrations with ancient herbal medicine. Scent works on a physical level and the smoke works on clearing and cleansing the spirit and auric field. Burning herbs - or "smudging" - helps clear the build up of emotional or spiritual negativity by turning the positive ions back to negative ones. Essentially, it changes and shifts the air element, and transforms your current surrounding into a mystical one. Think of it as though you are taking an energetic shower as you embark on a deep metaphysical cleansing.
WHEN TO SMUDGE
Ideally it’s best to smudge when you move into a new house, before meditation, during your yoga practice, after an argument, when you’re attempting to overcome an illness, during a healing session or before and after a guest enters your home. But it’s really up to you, and you can be as creative as you like with your smudging practice.
If you’re new to this practice, try to be open minded about it. Take a moment to notice if the smell brings up certain memories for you. Where does it vibrate within your body? Do you feel a spiritual connection? Is there an earthy, ancestral stirring in your veins? Or perhaps a sense of calm has enveloped your senses? Whatever it may be, just take a moment of meditation to notice all that is arising. This is also a good practice to do once the smudging ritual has ceased.
When you’re ready to begin follow the below steps:
- I always start off with a spritz of I AM... PROTECTED over the crown of my head and around my body. The cleansing, purifying and uplifting scent acts as a protective layer around your being and aids in psychic protection, helping you to clear and release any energies taken on from your environment.
- Light the end of your smudging bundle and then blow it out so it’s just smoking.
- Walk through your space blowing the smoke in all directions and rhythmically waving the sage bundle around. You can do this for as long as you like.
- Put out by rolling the lit end into a ceramic dish. Your bundle can be used multiple times.
When doing the home you work through the whole home even in cupboards and corners. This is especially important when moving into a new home, clearing any previous energies and starting a new.
When smudging the self start at the feet working under the soles and working your way up wafting all around, under the arms, over and around the heart, moving up around the neck, back of head, past the eyes and up over the crown. Handing over to the heavens for clearing.
SMUDGING WITH SAGE
Dried white ceremonial sage, with its distinctively beautiful scent, is a 2000 year old Indigenous American practice that the shamans used on their fires as a ritual of calling upon ancestral spirits. Any evil, illness or conflict was absorbed by the sage smoke and then cleanse from the auric field of a person. Sage has a masculine energy, and incense has a feminine energy, so once you have burned sage, I recommend lighting an incense stick to balance the two energies. You can find bundles of white sage at your local health food stores, some yoga studios and farmers markets or purchase online.
SMUDGING WITH PALO SANTO
A recent favourite method of space clearing for me has been smudging with Palo Santo, a tree related to frankincense, myrrh and copal. This holy wood grows in the coastal regions of South America and has been sustainably harvested to provide cleansing and healing benefits. The fragrance is unique – I’d describe it as somewhat sweet with a hint of sage and mint. Very easy to use, you light a stick holding one end in the flame, allowing it to burn for at least 30 seconds. You then blow it out and follow the regular smudging method to purify your surroundings with its soothing, rich aroma.
SMUDGING WITH SWEET GRASS
Sweet grass (which has an unmistakably sweet aroma) is a great one to smudge with, to call forth the energy of love and peace. Anytime you feel like you need some auric polishing, whip out this ancient shamanic archetype. You want it to be slightly green when you burn, and often the ends are more dried out. Because it takes slightly longer time to light than sage, hold the braid in the flame and rotate so it gets to all sides. Smoke should arise, without any flames, and it will start to emit a vanilla-like fragrance.
Because smudging has the ability to make our own energy, and the energy around us, feel lighter and freer, I like to accompany it with a Native Smudging Prayer that I adore:
"May your hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.
May your feet be cleansed, that they may take you where you most need be.
May your heart be cleansed, that you might hear its messages clearly.
May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed.
May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of this world.
May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of the fragrant plants.
And may the same smoke carry our prayers, spiraling to the heavens."
~ Native smudging prayer
I also like to finish by saying "and so it is".