Smudging is one of the simplest ways to cleanse a space and restore positive energy to the area. The cleansing smoke removes pent up negativity and releases it to the universe, allowing positive energy to return. Smudging is often associated with Shaman’s and Native American lore, but versions of this ritual are ancient and permeate many cultures. Many Christian churches for example use incense for the purifying smoke; a ritual they adapted from Pagan customs.
Smudging rituals are multipurpose and can be used to consecrate people, places and even objects. Some examples for how to use smudging rituals include:
• Blessing a new home prior to moving in
• Cleansing one’s home or office when energy becomes stagnant
• Protecting one’s space from outside negativity – if you have a bad neighbor for example.
• Cleansing one’s own aura during times of illness, anxiety or depression
• Releasing spiritual energies that have become stuck
• Removing energies from items – for example after buying an antique to remove old energies.
A cleansing ritual is very easy when using a smudge stick. These sticks are made of purification herbs like white sage (the most popular), mugwort and cedar. They are bound and wrapped tightly with thread. Simply light the end of the stick until it begins to smolder gently and release smoke. You don’t want the stick to catch fully and burn or it may trigger coughing and make it difficult to breathe. Keeping the area well ventilated with open windows is a good idea, not only to prevent a buildup of smoke, but to improve the flow of energy to the area.
Carry an abalone shell or other fire proof container with you to catch ash as it falls. Walk around the space in a clockwise motion. Push the smoke with the stick or with a feather. Go deep into every corner and work your way around, allowing the smoke to touch every possible area. As you work your way through the ritual; repeat a mantra or prayer of your choice. This should be something that holds deep meaning for you and helps you focus your energy. It can be a prayer, a statement of intent, or any phrase that you feel comfortable repeating.
An example of a simple mantra could be “I banish all negative energies and evil influence from this space. Only positive vibrations of love, light and healing are welcome here.” Change the mantra to suit your particular needs.
Although it is possible to extinguish the stick and use it again; most people advise that a stick only be used once to have full power. If you choose to put it out, tamp it out gently inside of a fire proof vessel, don’t place it in water. Once the stick is fully extinguished, dispose of it properly through burial.
Smudge sticks are convenient, inexpensive and come in a variety of sizes and styles. Smaller smudge sticks can be used for short rituals and larger ones for home cleansing. You can purchase them individually, or in larger packs.