Smudging, the ritual burning of holy herbs or woods, is done to clear a space or person of negative energies. If your home feels stale or sad, if an argument has taken place and the air still hums with anger, if an unpleasant energy lingers after a visitor – these are times to smudge. One may also smudge one’s self to banish anger, ailment, sadness or illness.
How to Smudge:
Holding your Smudge Stick (sage bundled alone or with other herbs) in your power hand, place one end over a continuous flame. You may use a candle or gas stove for this purpose. It will take a while for your smudge stick to light completely; hold it over the flame until the entire tip of the stick is smoldering like the end of a cigar. Then extinguish the flame to let the sage smolder gently.
You may hold your smudge stick in your hand, making sweeping movements to keep the stick lit, or you may place the stick in a clay, stone, or metal bowl. Abalone shells are often used for this purpose. Should you choose to carry your smudge stick in a vessel, you must fan the smoldering tip to keep it lit. Feathered fans are employed for this purpose, or you may use your power hand. Whether brandishing your smudge stick like a wand or carrying it in a vessel, you may find it helpful to blow on the tip to keep it lit. Do recall that you are waving a burning thing about the house; be mindful of falling ash or embers if you are not using a vessel: they will fall, they may flame!
When your smudge stick is ready, you may say a prayer of blessing, or other such affirmation, and begin to walk around the room (or rooms) widdershins (counter-clockwise). You may smudge one room only, but it is advisable to smudge the entire living space, lest you chase the negativity from room to room instead of away entirely. When walking around your space, make sure the smoke touches every single opening, every single corner. Ring your threshold, every corner in the room, under the bed, in your closet, around your windows – do not forget your drains, faucets, heating vents, radiator plugs, cable inlets, stove vent, phone jacks. Ring your furniture, smudge under the table, and behind the bookcase. You may direct the smoke with your breath to reach hidden areas. Be thorough, and take your time. Pay attention to the way the smoke drifts: does it linger in some places and run from others? Does it pool, or rise? Are there disturbances or even images in the smoke? Paying a sharp third eye to detail may tell you much.
When you have made the full circuit around your space, return to your starting point, and re-affirm your blessing or prayer. If you have not used the entire stick, you may retain the remainder for future use. To extinguish the stick, you will need a vessel; any vessel that cannot burn will do. Grind the smoldering tip against the vessel gently but firmly, until all embers are gone. This may take time; make sure your smudge stick is completely extinguished before disregarding it. When it is totally unlit, do thank it for the work it has done for you, remembering that it was once a living thing. You will feel a marked difference in your living space: a sense of calm, positivity, and sanctity. Once you have cleansed your space by smudging, you may then bless it with a prayer, anointing oil, sacred water, Palo Santo, orHouse Blessing incense. Remember, kind viewer: there is a difference between cleansing and blessing. Cleansing banishes negative energy, Blessing invokes benevolent or Divine energy.
You may smudge yourself the same way you smudge your space: let the smoke drift over every part of your body, lingering over chakras, pulse points, meridians, or lines or energy. If you have a physical manifestation of a mental state (a pain in the … neck, for instance) describe a small circle with the smudge stick over this area, and pay it special attention. You may choose to pray or chant a mantra while doing this.