Smudging is nothing more than burning herbs, flowers or grasses to cleanse and sanctify a space. I was taught to do this from an early age and have been fortunate enough to witness Medicine Men of the Navajo and Cherokee Nations do the same.
The premise behind smudging is simple: energy is supposed to move. It is supposed to circulate and transfer. When energy becomes stagnant, it can become unhealthy. Everything in Creation has an energy field about it; a vibration, a type of awareness. People, animals, Spirits, plants, water, air, even stones all have energy fields and inherent vibrations in their physiological makeup. The purpose of smudging is to cleanse an area from stagnant, unhealthy, unfruitful and unjoyous energy remnants.
Have you ever walked into someone’s house or office where there had just been a disagreement of some sort? You can feel the tension in the air. The energy has become unhealthy and detrimental. The focus and balance have been lost. Smudging helps to ‘re-balance’ an environment and all those that dwell within that environment.
The sick and the elderly can also benefit from a smudging. I have performed healing smudge sessions on the ill to help move the negative energy out and away from them. Even animals can benefit from this practice. My dad used to burn Sage in our chicken coops and barns to cleanse and purify the air and to sanctify the living environment of the animals in our care.
I use White Sage or Mesquite for my cleansing. Some use Lavender, some use a mixture of many herbs, flowers or grasses. For me, I like the strength and potency of one herb to permeate my environment. Sage is the most traditional in my path and I feel most familiar with its Spirit for cleansing purposes.
A smudge stick is nothing more than the selected herbs rolled together to form a cylinder and typically wrapped with a coloured cord or thread. You can align the colour of the thread with your smudging purposes as well. For example, green to bring prosperity, red or pink to ignite passion or to ‘warm’ up your surroundings and relationships.
While the most common technique of smudging involves sticks, I have seen others merely ignite the herbs in an incense burner. This is also highly beneficial and effective. The purpose of the stick is to allow you to ‘wave’ the herbs and make more smoke, but I have seen incense burners perform the same task just as well. Use whatever method you prefer and feels most comfortable to you.
Once you have your selected herbs, you light them and walk slowly and thoughtfully around the space. I usually say a prayer of cleansing as follows:
‘Great Mother, cleanse this space, cleanse my heart.
All evil and discontent depart.
Only Your love and Your peace remains
Make my life pure and whole again’.
I walk around each room, each corner, each closet, uttering the prayer and waving the lighted smudge stick in the air. If you have carpet, please be careful as some embers can drop. I have seen people use plates or trays under the sticks to keep any embers from touching the floor.
I try to smudge regularly, usually when the Sister is full. It brings me closer to the Great Ones and I feel pure and clean after. If you have had many visitors to your home or workplace, or have illness or depression, you may need to smudge more frequently. Your intuition will guide you.
After a smudging, you should feel a lightness in your environment; a purer, healthier feeling. Be sure to thank your Deities or Spirits for Their assistance. Dress and light a candle in Their honour after your session. Be thankful for They are with you and your home, thanks to Them and the purifying presence of beautiful plant Spirits, is pure and healthy once more.