A Beginner’s Guide to Smudging

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Knowing how to smudge your space is a powerful tool that will protect your energy and create an environment of peace, clarity, and health. Every space has a type of energy that can be both felt and seen. This energy is often filled with negative vibrations, as well as hard-to-detect but influential energies from past events or experiences. Smudging is an ancient practice used to clear out this negative energy and create an atmosphere of peace and harmony. Smudging is also used to cleanse your own energy, as well as items such as jewelry, decor items, and clothing. The smoke from these sacred substances cleanses the air when it is spread around.

Knowing when your home needs to be smudged isn’t difficult. You just need to be attuned to the energy in your space. Have you ever walked into a room and felt immediate sadness? Or, perhaps exhausted or overwhelmed? Do certain places in your home make it difficult to relax or enjoy yourself? All energies manifest themselves as distinct emotions; could the feeling be telling you something about the space itself?

Your body can sense energy. Your first feelings when you enter any area can tell you what kind of energy is there. The impressions that come to you in the first few moments can help you understand the environment better. Space-clearing techniques like smudging can help you transform a room’s energy.

The benefits of smudging include:

  • Clearing out negative energy
  • Creating a peaceful atmosphere
  • Opening up the space to positive vibes
  • Promoting healing and restoring balance in your home
  • Purifying physical items (jewelry, decor items, etc.)
  • Strengthening the connection between you and your environment.

The energy in our homes affects us in ways we may not even be aware of. Positive energy promotes good health and well-being, while negative energy can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety, or even physical illness. Keeping your home filled with positive energy is important for creating a peaceful atmosphere that brings out the best in ourselves and those around us.

This can be achieved through activities such as smudging or simply by regularly tidying up and freshening the space with plants, crystals, and incense. Spending time sprucing up our homes also helps us to connect more deeply with our environment, allowing us to create an inner sanctuary where we can feel safe, comforted, and joyful.

Smudging is an effective way to clear the air and bring positive vibrations back into space. When smudging is done correctly, it can leave the area feeling peaceful, calming, and safe. All that’s left behind is pure energy that helps raise your vibration and create a more positive atmosphere.

Source: iStock

Smudging History

Smudging has been practiced for centuries by Native Americans and other indigenous cultures, who used herbs such as sage, cedar, palo santo, sweetgrass, and copal to cleanse their homes. Different indigenous people use different herbs, depending on their availability. Over time the practice evolved into a ritual of purifying the energy in an area through the burning of these sacred plants. This is done to bless or honor a space, as well as to provide mental, spiritual, and physical healing.

Traditionally, in native american tradition, they would burn herbs in a bowl. They believe that the smoke will take away bad energy and invite good energy back into space. People use a hand, feather, or smudging fan to spread the smoke around. It is also common to bundle various herbs together in smudge sticks or long braids for convenience.

A smudging ceremony is always done with humility and respect. It is a time for prayers and blessings, purification, and connection to the Great Spirit. This ceremony could be connected to a bigger event, such as the Sun Dance or a vision quest, or it could be a shorter ritual completed before healing someone who is sick.

When To Smudge

Here is a list of times when it is a good idea to perform a smudging ritual:

  • Cleansing your living space or office
  • When a lot of people have been in and out of your home
  • Transitioning into a new home, job, new beginnings, or relationship
  • Preparing for rituals and ceremonies
  • Creating positive energy in the home
  • To remove stagnant energy from yourself or your home
  • Connecting with one’s spiritual self
  • Removing negative energies
  • Achieving emotional and mental clarity

How To Smudge

If it’s your first time, rest assured learning how to smudge is not difficult. A simple smudging ritual is a process that consists of several easy steps and very few supplies. Depending on the size of your space, it should not take more than 10 to 25 minutes. Once you understand the basic structure of a smudging ritual and become more comfortable and confident with performing it often, you can start adding various elements of space clearing to your smudging rituals, as well as a specific smudging prayer and blessing.

Related: 15 Simple Smudging Prayers to Purify and Protect Your Home

Source: iStock

Smudging Ritual Structure:

You start with your clear intent for the ceremony, then invoke the help of any energies that you believe in that can benefit you. The actual smudging of the space comes next, followed by a time of gratitude for completing the ritual with the prayers or mantras of blessings and protection.

  • Intent – When performing a smudging ritual, it is essential to begin with a clear intent. This helps you stay focused on your desired outcome as you go through each step of the ritual.
  • Invocation – This is simply inviting any energies or spirits that can help you with your positive intentions for the space. You can use any god or spiritual source of your choice, or simply speak from your heart and ask for help.
  • Smudging – When smudging, it is important to go around the entire space. This can be done by using a hand, feather, fan, or smoke wand to circulate the sacred smoke into every corner of the room. Paying special attention to the corners of each room where memories and energy can build up. Smudging should be performed with care and respect as you work your way around the space.
  • Gratitude – Finish up your ceremony by thanking any spiritual forces that you have invoked and expressing your gratitude for their help. You can also use this time to call in blessings, protection, and harmony into the space and your new energetic shower.

Smudging Supplies

All you need to do a smudging ceremony is a smudge stick (like a sage stick or sage bundle), a bowl, and either a candle or charcoal tablet. There are other items that can be used, such as a:

  • A fireproof bowl or fireproof container – to catch potential flaming ashes from your smudge stick.
  • Albacore shell – to hold the smudge stick after clearing the space. You can also fill a second bowl with sand, as this is the bowl in which you will place your smudge stick in order to extinguish it.
  • A smudging fan, or a smudging feather – to fan the smoke and spread it around the space.
  • A bell or a rattle – to mark the different steps of your ceremony, as well as set the tone and create an atmosphere of sacredness.

Smudging kit for beginners: If you are new to smudging, you can use this starter kit that contains all the necessary supplies for a smudging ceremony.

Your Step-by-Step Smudging Guide

The goal of smudging is to make the energy in a space better. You can do this inside or outside. You can also do this to yourself or to things around you.

How To Smudge Your Home

You will need:  

1. Place all the supplies on a flat surface away from drafts and farther away from both the front and the back door. According to feng shui, it is ideal for you to locate the heart of your home at the central point of your residence.

2. Unless rings and bracelets carry a special significance for you or if you are aware of how to regularly cleanse their energy, it is best to remove them.

3. Open windows and make certain that bad vibes can be released, especially when working in small spaces.

4. To declare your intent, light a candle and spend some time concentrating on what you want to accomplish with the smudging ritual. It could be as simple as “cleanse any negative energy from my home” or something more intricate such as “ease all of the grief in my bedroom after going through a breakup.” Additionally, remember to inhale deeply while focusing on your purpose – this is integral for creating clarity about what it is that you are trying to achieve.

5. The next phase is the invocation, a process whereby you invite the preeminent forces that can grant your longing. Clutching the smudge stick in your adept hand, ignite it by placing its end above the candle’s flame and let burn for several seconds before extinguishing to cause smoke.

In a deliberate, gentle motion, wave the smudge stick to disperse its smoke around you. Summon your spirit guides and angels for protection or call upon the Great Spirit in prayer. Facing each of the sacred directions separately, reverently offer them blessings by waving the sage smoke their way as well.

6. As you proceed to clear your home, grasp the smudge stick in your primary hand and place a bowl beneath it so that any residues will be collected. As you make this journey, pick whatever route feels right for both you and your house; just remember to always move in a clockwise direction as you smudge. Here are the options to choose from:  

Source: iStock
  • Begin your smudging ritual by facing the East direction at your altar or in the center of your home. Then, you can either commence from there and cleanse each room one by one.
  • Or start from the front door and move inward to remove negative energy that tends to accumulate furthest away.
  • Regardless, empower yourself with this purifying tradition for a space filled with abundant energy.

7. To purify the energy in your home by smudging, slowly wave the smudge stick into the air, starting at the higher levels closer to the ceiling and then smudging the levels closer to the floor. You might notice that you spend more time in some spaces than in others; it may be a prominent space of any negative energy, just trust the energy and follow it. Be sure to spend more time on all room corners and doorways since these tend to accumulate the most negative energy.

8. When you have smudged your whole house, go back to where you started and extinguish the smudge stick in the bowl filled with sand.  

9. Spend a few moments in silence and gratitude to honor the energies that assisted you during this ritual.

10. To conclude, blow out the candle and open a window to allow all of the negative energy to leave your home. Leave your bundle in the bowl of sand until completely extinguished.

To bring the smudging ritual to its full fruition, it is essential to not jump into any other activities. Take your time and let this act serve as a meaningful conclusion that will reap positive outcomes.

VIDEO: If you are more of a visual learner, watching this video guide can be helpful too. It is remarkable how one act of smudging can bring clarity to your home and manifest the energetic shift you desire. Enjoy the process and let it open up all of the possibilities that await you.

Source: iStock

How To Smudge Yourself

Smudging yourself is an effective and simple practice to help uplift your mood and energy. Here are the steps to follow:

1. Prepare a clear space for the ritual, ideally somewhere that can provide comfort and peace of mind. Also, remember to remove any jewelry aside from items that have a personal significance or you know how to use in a ritual.

2. Gather the items you need for the smudging: a bowl, sand or salt, and your choice of herbal smudge stick. Place them carefully around you to create an altar that reflects your intention.

3. Light the herbal smudge stick with a match and let it burn for some time until smoke appears.

4. Hold the smoking smudge stick in your dominant hand and gently wave it around you, beginning with the head and proceeding to the feet. Breathe deeply and focus on your intention while dispersing its smoke all around you.

5. When finished, extinguish the smudge stick by placing it inside a bowl filled with sand or salt so that all its ashes can be collected.

6. Sit in silence and gratitude for a few minutes before opening the windows to let all of the negative energy leave your space.

7. To finish, take a few breaths and move into the next chapter with renewed energy.

Smudging Risks

Before deciding to smudge, exercise caution and consider the following points.

Many people feel uncomfortable with the idea of smudging their homes because the process of smudging involves smoke. If someone has asthma or any other type of respiratory condition, it is important to take extra care. An alternative option is to diffuse essential oils instead.

Also, some people are sensitive to smoke inhalation, so it might be necessary to have a window open while smudging. Lastly, never leave burning herbs unattended, and make sure all embers are extinguished after the smudging ritual is complete.

Final Thoughts on Smudging

Smudging is a powerful ritual tool and good way to purify and clear the energy of a space. This purification ritual has been used for centuries in many cultures and can be tailored to fit individual needs – from smudging before and after guests arrive, to rituals that aim to restore harmony within a home.

At its core, smudging is about creating a safe space in our homes and inviting positive vibes to take its place. As with any ritual, the effectiveness of smudging lies in the intent behind it.

No matter how you choose to approach this practice, remember that all experiences are valuable and will contribute to your journey of transformation. Trust yourself and see where this act can take you.

When done correctly, smudging can offer profound cleansing and clarity that will help you to make the most of your life journey. May this sacred practice bring peace and joy into your home.