What is Smudging and How do I Smudge?

Why you should smudge 

Smudging is a critical first step in any sacred ritual, as well as an important way to complete and seal sacred work. This ancient practice clears low vibrations and stuck energies. I smudge daily to purify my sacred space before ritual, ceremony, or meditation. Burning sacred herbs and resins is perhaps the most time-tested method for energetically (and sometimes physically) cleansing a space. For millennia, our ancestors have believed that sacred smoke raises vibrations and assists with magic. So when we smudge today, we also connect with our lineage in a powerful way.

Did you know that incense was, in fact, the first form of perfume? Perfume literally means through smoke. Yes, our ancestors also used smudging as the primary way to scent their bodies. Our Egyptian and Roman ancestors “perfumed” the air with the incense they burned. In pre-Christian times, frankincense was the most valued type of incense; it was rare, expensive, and prized. No wonder it was one of three gifts brought by the Wise Men to Christ’s manger; it was a gift fit for a king.

How to Choose Your Smudge 

It is important to know that all plants are sacred, not just sage. Different plants carry varying properties and benefits, so if you hold a specific intention for your smudging ritual, you should select an herb that resonates with said intention. If you are drawn to a specific smudge, trust that intuitive calling. There is an underlying reason and purpose.

If you are being called to practice smudging and you aren’t sure what combination to use, I offer a wide variety of smudge bundles to meet your magical needs. After all, this is where Sage Goddess began; it started with my creation of white sage bundles wrapped with rose petals. I was the first to create such an offering in an online store, and Sage Goddess grew from there. I invite you to stop in and talk to anyone in the shop for smudging help, or join any of the Sage Goddess sacred communities on Facebook to share ideas and rituals.

If it’s healing you seek, my Palo Santo kit offers a potent dose of botanical medicine. Palo Santo is an ancient and powerful healing wood from Peru that has been used by shamans for centuries. My Sweet Grass Bundle – made with desert sage and cedar – purifies your space and energy, while invoking the Divine Feminine. The Black Sage Bundles that I wrap in red and black string are a popular offering for those seeking protection. I prefer to keep several mini smudge bundles ready for use on my altar, so that I may satisfy any intention at a moment’s notice.

Just for fun, save this and share it with your friends!

How to Smudge

Light one end of your smudge, allowing it to catch fire and burn for several seconds. Once the flame extinguishes gently blow on the lit end to fan the embers; the smudge will begin to glow and smoke. Lay the smudge on a heat proof dish, such as an abalone shell, to catch the ashes as it burns. We should always respect the power of fire when using it in ritual.

As the smoke rises into the air, picture your intention, whatever it may be. If you are clearing negative energy, picture its density and see it lifting away. Healing? Then imagine the smoke cleansing any illness or injury. Whatever it is – envision it floating away on the smoke. You can pray or chant if you feel so called. Use your hands or a smudge fan to guide the smoke over yourself and around your sacred space. In my native Greek culture, we begin facing east, then turn south, west, and north before finally turning east again. After making this ceremonious circle, we douse the burning embers. I love honoring the cardinal directions in my smudge ceremony; it roots me to the Earth.

Native American ceremonies begin by sprinkling the floor with loose sage. They then burn the sage, followed by a braid of sweetgrass. Finally, they burn a bundled sage stick (or smudge bundle), while washing the smoke over the body.

The beauty of smudging is that it can be done at any time, as often as you f need, no matter your background or culture.

Sacred Herbs for Smudging

Listed below are some basic properties for various herbs I use at Sage Goddess and, of course, in my own rituals. These herbs have been used for centuries in the Far East, Middle East, Native North, and South American cultures.

Alfalfa associated with psychic abilities, and attracting animal spirits.
Allspice – for uplifting and increasing energy, and determination.
Amaranth – for healing, protection, vulnerability, especially healing of broken hearts.
Aspen – for ascension, protection, and overcoming fears.
Basil – for attracting love, happiness, peace, and money; steadies the mind.
Bay Leaves – for psychic power, divination, success, and money; invoking wish magic.
Blue Spruce – the symbol of pure intentions, generosity, and giving.
Calendula – for love and constancy.
Catnip – attracts good spirits and great luck. For love, beauty, and happiness.
*Cedar – banishes fear and enhances psychic powers.
Chamomile – for protection and purification.
Cinnamon – when burned raises high spiritual vibrations and aids healing.
Cloves – for protection and exorcism; attracting opposite sex.
*Coastal Sage or Artemisia Californica – for clearing negative energies and healing holes or tears in the aura.
Dandelion – for divination, spirit calling, and wish magic.
Dill – for protection, luck, money, and lust.
Eucalyptus – for healing and protection.
*Frankincense resin – reduces stress, eases tension, and connects you with Source energy.
Ginger – adds power to any magical activity, speeds things up; brings passion.
*Lavender – brings peace, relaxation, and restful sleep; purity and love.
Lemongrass – for cleansing and purifying, removing obstacles, and opening doors.
Lilac – for protection and exorcism.
*Mugwort or Artemisia Vulgaris – brings clarity and develops/deepens psychic abilities.
*Myrrh resin – for physical healing and grounding.
*Palo Santo – for deep healing to the physical body; can be used to clear a home of energies associated with illness.
Peppermint – for purity, protection, release, and renewal.
*Pinon Pine resin – protective, healing, and nurturing.
Rosemary – for removing negative energies associated with sickness, and clearing.
Sage Flowers – for cleansing and releasing negative energies; brings wisdom and purity.
*Thyme – excellent for releasing ceremonies; allows us to recall the past without pain.
*White Sage or Salvia Apiana – used to clear negative energies from objects, space, or people.

*Denotes my personal favorite herbs.