The Art of Smudging
Are you’re feeling stuck, negative, sluggish, or even sad? This may be due to some stale energy in your energy field or home. This negative energy will need to be cleansed to allow positive energy to enter. Your field can include your emotional, energetic, mental, spiritual or physical body, and your environment—whether it’s your home, office, or other physical space. Stagnant or negative energy can be extremely damaging effects on your mental and physical state. It is even believed to manifest into things like a lack of happiness and success as well as pain and disease.
Smudging can help combat this negativity, clear the energy in your field, and help you start fresh. Smudging is an ancient ceremony in which you burn sacred plants, such as sage, to allow the smoke to clear and bless a space. Smoke offerings are found in many traditions such as Buddhism, Native American and other spiritual religions. The smoke ceremony creates transformation and blesses a space and the inhabitants.
As the smoke ascends, our wishes and intentions rise and mingle into the universe, connecting heaven, earth and humanity. You can also smudge a house or room to clear it of previous owners’ energy or any negativity that may have entered in the form of arguments, illness, or other entities. You can smudge an object to clear it and make it clean or pure for use by the new owner – like a book, jewellery or second-hand clothing. I always cleanse my diary for the New Year, to clear away any energy from other people handling it in the shop. It also creates a clean space for my appointments and activities for the year.
Prayer and Meditation
You can use smudge to pray or meditate. The smoke from the smudge will carry your prayers to the Creator. When you smudge/purify yourself, you are clearing your mind and auric field. You attune yourself to a higher vibration that reminds you to speak and act in a sacred way, with an open and compassionate heart.
What You Need
- Sage or other sacred plants Some common ones are: sage, cedar, sweet grass and lavender. Sage represents the earth element and when burning sage, the smoke from it represents the air. I love palo santo, a wood from South America. It provides an uplifting scent that raises your vibration in preparation for meditation and allows for a deeper connection to the Source of all creation. It is also said that Palo Santo enhances creativity and brings good fortune to those who are open to its magic. Palo Santo is in scarce supply so I only use it for special ceremonies.
- Abalone shell. This is meant to hold and burn the plants. The shell represents the water element.
- Matches or a lighter. These represent the fire element.
- Feather. This represents the air element.
- Drum(s) or sacred drumming music, which represents the beat of the heart. Or you can tune into your own heart beat.
For indigenous people Great Spirit is in all of nature and creation, each thing representing a different aspect of divinity and sacredness. Therefore they honour the elements, and all natural things, from plants and minerals, to animals and people.
The Smudging Process
Clear your space of clutter and mess and open up windows and curtains and allow for clean air to enter. Light your sage (or other herbs) on fire and then fan the smoke with your feather around your body and anyone else in your space. When performing a space clearing, intention is key. Before you start, take some time to contemplate what your wishes are for your home and family. When you clear your house, there’s a vacuum that’s created. You want to welcome your intentions into the newly cleared and open space.
Tips for Smudging
The art of smudging is a sacred act, here are some things to keep in mind before starting the ritual.
- Hold sacredness and respect when connecting with the plant people who help you in this ceremony and when you pray.
- Remember and honour your ancestors with good deeds.
- Honour the divine by caring for what the Great Spirit has created.
- See the divine Mother in everything. Women are the embodiment of Great Spirit’s creation on Earth, thru the gift of birth, so women are holy. We are all from the same womb.
- Everything is related to everything; nothing is random.
- Caring for creation is everyone’s responsibility.
- This will is not religion; this is love.
Clearing Your Body
Smudging is not only for spaces; it’s also for clearing your body, mind, and spirit of any negativity, stagnation, or energetic disturbances within or surrounding you. As part of the ritual, make sure to invite the sacred smoke around your body from head to toe and front to back to help set your intentions before smudging your space.
A Smudging Prayer
May your hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.
May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where you most need to be.
May your heart be cleansed, that you might hear its messages clearly.
May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed.
May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of the world.
May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants.
And may that same smoke carry our prayers, spiralling, to the heavens.