You’ve probably heard of smudging. It may be that you know how to smudge already. It may be that you’ve never done it before. Either way I’m going to share with you how I do it.
My Mother taught me how to use Sage to smudge when I was quite young. We did it to bless and clear the space and ourselves. I remember feeling better after she would smudge me. My Great Grandmother was Cherokee and passed many folk traditions and herbal remedies down the line to my Mother. In the Native American culture it is not common to write traditions down. The knowledge is passed down from the elders. It can be difficult to find good sources on-line to reference.
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, in other words clearing the space of harmful energies. We are welcoming Great Spirit, Angels, Guides and Ancestors to come and share clean space with us as well. You can do this whenever you feel it’s needed.
I do a three (3) step process, Palo Santo Holy wood 1st, Sage 2nd and Sweetgrass goes last. It is a common practice to incorporate something from each element in the cleansing. Earth would be the herbs used, Air would be the smoke or feathers to fan the smoke, Fire would be lighting it, and Water would be a sea shell, you represent Spirit. This brings together the major elements to create harmony in the ceremony of smudging. Here is my process below. Don’t forget to open a window for ventilation.
1. It is good to firmly ask that any energy that does not serve your highest good be removed from the space. Set that intention first then start with the Palo Santo wood. Light the wood stick with matches. (I use matches because it’s more natural than a lighter and less harmful to the environment.) Bathe yourself in the smoke first to clean your own energy then go clockwise around the room. When passing a window or door; completely seal it, starting at the bottom left and tracing the window or door clockwise sealing the box, fill the whole room with the smoke. You can gently blow the smoke in the direction you’d like, or use a sturdy feather to direct it. Be careful of any falling ash, carrying a glass bowl with some sand in it or a sea shell around would be good tools for ash catchers. This wood is good for clearing harmful or negative energy away.
2. Next use the Sage. Light the sage with matches, again going clockwise around the room, and sealing windows and doors, also being mindful of the ash that falls. This is good for clearing negativity and to bring the space back to a neutral feel. After you light the sage, do not stop it from burning. The spirit of white Sage knows just how much negativity, heaviness or harmful energy needs to be released, and will burn accordingly.
3. Lastly use the Sweetgrass braid, light it with matches. It doesn’t stay lit for very long. Little puffs of smoke are normal. It’s best to use with a candle flame, but be mindful of the ash. Walk clockwise around the area, continuing to seal doors and windows, while setting a positive intention for peace and well-being, or whatever else you feel is good. Sweetgrass fills the space after all the clearing with a happy positive energy.
This process can be repeated for clearing your own energy or that of others who would like to be smudged. Always ask for their permission before smudging them. It’s also how I clean and bless all my objects and crystals too.
Here is a little background on Palo Santo, Sage and Sweetgrass.
Palo Santo is a mystical tree that grows on the coast of South America and is related to Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal. In Spanish, the name literally means “Holy Wood”. It is part of the citrus family and has sweet notes of pine, mint and lemon. It is a strong medicine that has been popularized for its heavenly presence in keeping energies grounded and clear. The vapor that the aromatic smoke generates has been considered since ancient times to be a direct path in contact with positive energy and divinity. Thanks to its ability to open the path within and communication with “the other world”, it is an excellent purifier, anti-depressive and relaxant. Stress, panic attacks, “bad mojo”, negative energy, suffering, sadness, etc., are elements that we can have in our inner self that affect our quality of life. Using Palo Santo can allow us to achieve a more balanced state with ourselves, allowing us to become more fully aligned in our mind-body experience. It is also known to help combat cold symptoms, by burning it regularly in the home.
Native Americans started the tradition of using Sacred Sage to ward off evil spirits and negative energies, and white sage has been used in ceremonies to seek blessings of health and prosperity, banish spirits, and encourage protection. Sage can amplify any clearing and protective techniques that you are already using. As a plant, and a living being, sage also has a Spirit. The Spirit of Sage is dedicated to offering protection, blessings, and clearing. As the smoke moves through the room or over a surface, the smoke attaches itself to any heavy, harmful energy that is within the space, object or being. As the smoke clears, the spirit of Sage carries with it the harmful or negative energy that isn’t serving our highest good, back up to the Spiritual Light.
One of the uses of Sage is for healing. The smoke is used to bless, cleanse and heal the person or object being smudged. Sage is used to ‘wash off’ the outside world when one enters ceremony or other sacred space. True Sages are in the genus of Salvia; this includes Salvia Officinalis (garden sage) and Salvia Apiana (White Sage), also called California White Sage. Sage is excellent for meditation, divination, smudging, cleansing and purification. White Sage is my favorite and I use this the most.
Is excellent for cleansing sacred space and helps us to center ourselves. It is traditionally believed to invite good Spirits. Sweetgrass is a rare grass which is found growing wild in very few places. It has a sweet and light fragrance that does not last for long. It’s also called Seneca grass, holy grass and vanilla grass. This very special herb’s sweet smelling earthy scent is 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. It fills the space with positive energy and seals the intention into the space being cleared.
*Please always be mindful of your surroundings and take care with any pets around when using fire. If you have any allergies to any of these, please refrain from using them. Sea Salt is also a great purifier and can be used as a substitute to clean a space or your own energy. Add Sea Salt to a spray bottle of distilled water and spray around the area, to cleanse yourself use a Sea Salt scrub in the shower.*
A House Blessing Kit will soon be available in our shop.
Love and Light to you on your journey,
Below are some references and other articles you can read on this subject.