I learned about smudging at a very young age. I’m pretty sure it was my mother’s friend who taught me about it around the age of 6, and it is something I have carried with me through the years. Growing up, I frequently moved into new homes, so each time we moved I cleansed the space with sage. Being that this is a practice that I started as a young child, I feel that it was my intuition that lead me to trusting in the process. It’s something that is sacred to me, so I hope this is helpful to you as well.
Smudging is an ancient spiritual ritual and has been well established as a practice by Native Americans, and even the Catholic church. Every Christmas our church burned sage, and many other cultures around the globe have similar rituals with different sacred plants (sage, palo santo, copal, incense, etc). Smudging helps to purify the air (sage and many other plants have antimicrobial properties), and can be used as a spiritual tool to help clear space of negative energy. It brings feelings of clarity and mindfulness. Personally, I cleanse my home and myself almost weekly (if not more) by burning sage, palo santo, copal, or my favorite incense. I walk through my house with the intention of clearing any negative energy and bringing forth positive energy and environment. Just like cleaning house, this helps to clear the space energetically and is very grounding. I often will cleanse around my physical body before meditation. Many times I cleanse the studio/yoga space I practice and teach in to refresh the space for class. I love the smell of each of these plants/incense, and I also feel the practice connects me to myself and the spiritual realm. Afterward, I feel calm, renewed, grounded, and relaxed. My space smells great and feels really good. I invite you to use this practice if it feels good to you any time of day, before meditation, yoga, if you’ve just done some housekeeping, are about to host a gathering, or after a gathering to clear the space. While traveling, I always cleanse my hotel room/Airbnb, and do the same for my home upon returning from being away.
Things you’ll need:
◊ A sage bundle or a smudge stick (you can find these at many stores, even Whole Foods. I like to go to any cosmic store locally) You can use white sage, palo santo, or other bundle that is offered at your local store
◊ A seashell or something to hold it (like a clay/ ceramic/glass dish)
◊ A lighter or matches
◊ Feather *optional* to help fan the smoke
◊ Water (just in case!)
Begin your smudging ceremony by setting intentions.
◊ To clear any negative energy
◊ To clear anything that does not belong in this space
◊ To invite in feelings of positivity and love
◊ To invite feelings of protection
◊ To prepare myself for a difficult task
1 | Light the sage or smudge stick (use caution with fire and with the ash—it is easy for ash to drop on your carpet or rugs, so be sure to use a dish to prevent ash from falling).
2 | The sage/smudge stick should smolder a bit with smoke coming off if it.
3 | Begin by directing the smoke around own body, and allow the smoke to linger around your body.
4 | Begin to smudge your living space.
5 | Open a few doors/windows to allow the smoke to escape and fresh air to come in.
6 | Walk through each room (I like to start on one side of the house, specifically the back of the house and move toward the front, and then move back to where I started. Some people recommend moving in a clockwise direction around the house, while other people recommend counter-clockwise). The important part here is to repeat your intention, and do what feels right to you. As this is more of a ‘spiritual practice’, you can make it yours, and do what feels best to you.
7 | Be sure to attend to any corners, closets and areas you might not attend to often.
8 | If you have any crystals, be sure to smudge them, too. This helps to clear and renew their energy.
9 | You can also simply smudge an object or space, like your altar or oracle cards if you use those.
10 | Enjoy this practice! It is sacred, and brings forth a sense of ritual to my day.