What is Smudging?
We take care of our bodies through healthy diets, exercise, and skincare, so why wouldn’t we take care of our energetic body as well? Smudging your body, your sacred space, or even your home or office is like taking an energetic shower. Our homes, bodies, and objects do not consist of purely physical matter; they also vibrate with subtle, invisible energy. Cleansing our bodies or space through smudging clears away emotional and psychic ‘garbage’ that is gathered around you. This technique is one of the oldest and purest methods, dates back to prehistoric times and has been used in every corner of the world by our ancestors. From the Zulus to the Maoris, from the Chinese to the Balinese, people have utilized this age-old form of cleansing and blessing ritual. Even the West retains relics of it – the incense wafting through a church is cleansing the atmosphere. The use of smoke is said to connect humans to the spirit world and shamans used and still use dried sage plants on the fires as a ritual of calling upon ancestral spirits. Any disease, anger, conflict or evil absorbed through the sage is released or cleansed from the energy field of a person.
How does smoke work?
Smudging calls on the spirits of sacred plants to drive away negative energies and put you back into a state of balance and harmony. The apparent benefits are steeped in science. Colleen McCann, an energy practitioner, and shaman who specializes in clearing energy have discovered sage clear bacteria in the air. Sage smoke offers rapid delivery to the brain and efficient absorption to the body. Scientists have observed that sage can clear up to 94 percent of airborne bacteria in space and disinfect the air. When the sage is burned, it releases negative ions which are linked to putting people into a positive mood. The Latin word for sage, salvia,
stems from the word heal
. Other qualities believed to be associated with sage when burned are wisdom, clarity, and increased spiritual awareness. In addition to sage, other smoke from herbs like cedar actually changes the molecular structure of air and energy, producing a cleansing effect. As the sense of smell is connected very powerfully to instinct and memory, the burning of smudge sticks has been found to be a very effective aromatherapy agent.
Times to Smudge: (You can never really smudge too much!)
This ancient shamanic ritual is a simple one to incorporate into your daily or weekly routine, or any time you feel like you might need a little aura fluffing.
Times to smudge your aura or space:
- Before you go to bed after a long day around people
- Before and after you’ve had guests at your home
- When you move into a new home
- When you begin a new job
- When you start your own business
- Before and after a healing session
- Before meditation
- After any illness
- After an argument/conflict
Simple Smudging Ritual:
- Use a wand of sage or cedar, which is usually bound together by a thin string.
- Next, place it on any heat-proof burning surface like an abalone shell, a traditional vessel used by Indigenous American people that represents the element of water. Light the bundle by holding a flame to it until it begins to smoke. If a true flame appears, shake the bundle gently or blow until it is just embers and smoke.
- Once you have smoke going, use your hand or a feather to direct the smoke over your body from your feet up to your head, then back down again. As you do this, visualize the smoke taking away any negative energy from your life and visualize yourself being surrounded by loving energy or beautiful white light. Breathe in love and positivity. If you’d like to clear your space as well, wave smoke into all corners and across doorways. To maintain the atmosphere of ritual, keep repeating the intentions of clearing in your mind as you diffuse the smoke. Once space is cleared, allow the sage bundle to either burn out in your heat-proof shell or container.