The art of smudging is an ancient spiritual ritual for purification, dispelling negative energy and improving mood and can easily be incorporated into your weekly routine or meditative practice.
Sage: 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.
Palo Santo: Spanish for “holy wood”, Palo Santo is a sacred tree which grows in select parts of South America and is a natural insect repellant. It has been used for centuries by shamans in ritual prayer, ceremonies and healing, known for its grounding and focusing effect which can enhance creativity, productivity and increase good fortune.
Simple Smudging Ritual
• Smudging is the ritual of cleaning the energy of a physical space, object or person. If you have a meditation ritual, you can burn Sage or Palo Santo before your practice. This will help prepare your energy and mind for meditation and allow you to more easily connect.
• First you start with a simple intention of focusing on clearing the negative energy out of your space and mind.
• Once you have your intention in mind, light the Sage or Palo Santo and hold at a 45 degree angle pointing the tip down towards the flame. Allow it to burn for 30 seconds and then blow it out.
• 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.
• If left to rest the stick will smoulder and release smoke for approximately 5 mins. If used for smudging, walk around the room, space, object or person, fanning the smoke over its entirety, whilst focusing on cleansing and clearing negative energy.
• Once you’ve finished smudging and removed the negative energy, you must push positive energy into the space to maintain balance. To do this, declare your intention out loud or silently in your head.
When to Smudge
• Before you go to bed after a long day around people
• Before and after a 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
Smudging and Blessing Herbs
Sage The use of sage is for healing. The smoke is used to bless, cleanse and heal the person or object being smudged. Sage is used to 'wash off' the outside world when one enters ceremony or other sacred space. Objects are likewise washed off with sage medicine smoke to rid them of unwanted influences.
Cedar Cedar is a medicine of protection. Cedar trees are very old, wise and powerful spirits. Cedar is often used to cleanse a home or apartment when first moving in, inviting unwanted spirits to leave and protecting a person, place or object from unwanted influences.
Sweetgrass Also called Seneca grass, holy grass and vanilla grass. This very special herb's sweet vanilla-like scent is the breath of the Earth mother, bringing the blessing of Mother Earth's love. Sweetgrass is burned to remind us of essence of the feminine and that the earth provides us with everything we need. Sweetgrass can also be be unbraided or trimmed with a scissors into small pieces and sprinkled on hot Charcoal Tablets. Allow the sacred smoke that follows to wash over the subject of the blessing. The sacredness of the sweetgrass herb then sustains the smudging process. Use a smudging feather if you need to douse the flame or promote more smoke.
Copal This is tree sap from Mexico that is similar to Frankincense. When burned it has a crisp, clean, sharp scent that is almost citrus-like. Copal is sacred to the native peoples of Mexico, as it is a gift 'pleasing to the gods.' Because copal is the blood of trees, it is offered to honor the enormous gift given to us by all of the tree people of our planet. Burning Copal is best done on Charcoal Tablets.
Frankincense At one time both Frankincense and Myrrh were considered to be more valuable than gold. Used to embalm the bodies of the Egyptian Pharaohs, this tree resin is considered to cleanse and protect the soul. Frankincense became important to most every major religion in the world and is still used in Muslim, Jewish and Catholic rituals. Frankincense is said to ease depression and promote clairvoyance. Burning Frankincense is best done on Charcoal Tablets.
Myrrh This tree resin is said to help one maintain a state of enlightenment. It also connects one to the spirit of youth and clears the path of debris that stands in the way of one's truth. Burning Myrrh is best done on Charcoal Tablets.
Smudging Feather It is traditional to use a bird's feather to brush the smoke over the person or object being blessed. It is important to use the underside of the feather to wash the smoke over the object of blessing. It is the underside of the bird and its wings that face the Mother Earth as it flies and it is this surface of the feather that offers the blessing medicine of the bird.
“We start in the East where the sun rises, and brings us the opportunity to begin again with each new day. Breath.
We go to the South and honor our creativity, our children, the child in us, our playfulness, joy, and hope. Earth.
We go to the West where the sun goes down, and the blackness of introspection begins when the day is done. Water.
We go to the North where our rest awaits us. Knowledge, stamina, compassion, silence. Fire.
We use a feather to fan the sacred smoke in each direction, one drums, one sings, one dances, one prays, until we have circled back to the east.”
Tips for Smudging
The art of smudging is a sacred act and there are some things to keep in mind before starting the ritual.
Hold sacredness and respect when connecting with the plant spirits who help you in this ceremony and when you pray.
Remember and honour your ancestors.
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. We are all from the same womb.
Everything is related to everything; nothing is random.
Caring for creation is everyone’s responsibility.
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 sacred plants.
And may this smoke carry our prayers to the heavens.