Smudging is a process of burning herbs or resin to create incense that is used to purify or clear. Commonly herbs are gathered in a tight bundle known as a smudge stick but herbs may also be burned loosely. The smoke that is created is distributed around a room or an individual to neutralise energy, clearing the auric field and space.
Smudging will clear a house of previous owners’ energy or any negativity introduced by arguments or illness. It is also used to restore energy to items for a new owner, from any kind of second hand item to cleansing crystals.
Sage sticks are the most common smudge stick and can be purchased from health, healing or metaphysical stores. I choose to buy from reputable sellers rather than stores which sell cheaper imports to ensure the quality is high. I am also growing my own sage not only to cook with but to make my own sage sticks – try it!
Sage is the most common herb used traditionally by Native Americans who have used smudging for centuries to clear the self, the space, prepare for ceremonies or difficult conversations, and to promote healing. The Native Americans are also known for smudging with cedar, copal, lavender, sweet grass, or pinon while some of the herbs Celtic traditions use are copal, frankincense, and myrrh.
Your emotional, energetic, mental, spiritual and physical body can benefit from smudging if you are feeling blocked, negative, depressed or lethargic. Clearing negative energy has the capacity to help your body regain homeostasis and clear lack.
When smudging myself or others, I follow the practices attributed to Native American healer Grandmother Wapajea Walks on Water, descendant of the Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee tribes. She says, “The goal of smudging is to make a place clear of lingering energy that is different from what you may be intending for that space. You want to prepare the space for ceremony, the way you would clean your house, cook, and decorate when your family comes for a holiday. We are welcoming Great Spirit, angels, and ancestors to come and share clean space with us as well.”*
To begin, set a clear intention.
Include intention, speaking and acting in a sacred way, to attune yourself to a higher vibration as you clear and protect your energy space. For example, ask the Divine to release all negative and dense energy that no longer serves you for your highest good.
You will need
· Sage stick or other herb/s of choice (earth)
· A shell or flame proof dish (water)
· Matches or a lighter (fire)
· Feather (air)
Light the sage and once burning, blow out the flame to create smoke. Hold the shell under the sage stick to collect any embers or ash. Then feather smoke around each part of the body with smooth strokes, including front and back, starting at the hands as you speak the smudging prayer.
A Smudging Prayer
May your hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.
May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where you most need to 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 the world.
May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants.
And may that same smoke carry our prayers, spiraling, to the heavens.
Smudging a space is a four direction ceremony. Clear all clutter, open windows and doors, and draw back curtains to allow clean air to enter the space. Clear yourself, using the smudging prayer above. Then follow Wapajea’s space smudging process reciting the prayer as you clear each room, East, South, West and North as stated below. Make sure you waft smoke into every nook and cranny, behind and under furniture, up towards the ceiling and down to the floor.
“We start in the East where the sun rises, and brings us the opportunity to begin again with each new day. Breath.
We go to the South and honor our creativity, our children, the child in us, our playfulness, joy, and hope. Earth.
We go to the West where the sun goes down, and the blackness of introspection begins when the day is done. Water.
We go to the North where our rest awaits us. Knowledge, stamina, compassion, silence. Fire.
We use a feather to fan the sacred smoke in each direction, one drums, one sings, one dances, one prays, until we have circled back to the east.”**
**If you are smudging alone, speak the final sentence with intention to acknowledge the traditional process.
Aboriginal peoples respected our connection to the land, earth, sea and sky. Hold this sacredness and respect when you smudge.
The following tips are courtesy of The Chopra Center-
Remember and honour ancestors with good deeds
Honour the Divine by caring for all of creation
See the Divine Mother in everything
Everything is related, nothing occurs at random
Caring for creation is everyone’s responsibility
This is not religion, this is universal love
Finish with a traditional Native American expression of gratitude –
‘Thank you for unknown blessings already on their way’.
Live your best life,
* Many sites recount Grandmother Wapajea, however, I have not found an original source. I do know that this smudging process works!