Smudging is an ancient practice that involves the burning of dried leaves in order to remove negative energy from a space or person. Smudging is not particular to one religion; Native American tribes have used smudging for over 2000 years to cleanse negative spirits and ancient Egyptians burned materials in religious ceremonies. Although similar to the burning of incense, smudging deals more directly with herbs while incense uses sticks or cones.
Types Of Herbs
- Sage is the herb that typically comes to mind when a person thinks about this practice. Garden Sage and White Sage have both been recognized as healing herbs and come with the belief of expelling the bad from either a place or a person.
- Cedar is a purifying material and draws positive energy into a negative space or an injured person. Cedar is often burnt when praying to the Great Spirit and is also used before moving into a new home.
- Sweetgrass is used as a more general blessing and can be braided like hair. It can be used after an individual or group has burnt sage to then draw in goodness and warmth.
Other herbs or plants that can be burnt are:
- Sagebrush, to call upon a spirit
- Mugwort, to increase an individual’s psychic awareness and clear out negative energy
- And Lavender, to restore balance and bring a sense of calm.
What Is A Smudge Kit?
It is a kit that includes all you will need to perform the act of smudging. Each part of the kit symbolizes with an element. The four parts combined transform into the fifth element: life energy.
- The shell – the element of Water
- Unlit herbs ashes – the element of Earth
- Lit herb – the element of Fire
- The smoke – the element of Air
What Will You Need?
The unlit herbs, also known as a smudge stick, are tied in a bundle. You can blend together different herbs for more general cleansing, or you can use one type to focus on one particular result. The shell can be made from a seashell or a clay pot, something that won’t catch on fire and that can hold the herbs as they burn. Some vessels have significant meaning, so do some research if you are unsure.
To light the herbs, you can choose to do it one of two ways:
- Directly light the herbs with a match or a lighter
- Or light a ceremonial candle and use that to light the herbs. Make sure that the ceremonial candle is non-scented so that it doesn’t interfere with the essence of the herbs.
Location and time are the next things you will want to make sure you have. If you are cleansing a room, then make sure you have time to go through the room. If you are cleansing yourself, perhaps your aura or your chakras, then a peaceful location is important along with enough time.
What To Do?
First, you will want to choose the place or person that is the intention of the cleanse. Second, you will want to set your intention on what you want to happen from that cleanse. Focus your energy on your intended target and light up the herbs so that they begin to smolder. Use the vessel to catch any falling ashes, and direct the smoke to the targeted area or person. Repeat your intention as you walk around in a clockwise direction. When you have completed this ritual, properly extinguish your smudge stick and reflect on your intention.
Smudging can be done at the beginning of a new season or the end of an old one. It can also be done any time you feel as though you are going through a change in life and need some clarity. There really is no limit to how frequently you can choose to follow this practice.