The Ancient Art of Smudging
Say bye bye to negative energy…
The ritual of burning herbs has been around for centuries and is common to many cultures all over the world. Smudging is the common name given to the sacred smoke bowl blessing, a powerful cleansing technique from the Native American tradition where burning herbs calls on the spirits of plants to drive away negative energies and put you back into a state of balance. It is the psychic equivalent of bathing yourself in water to cleanse or washing your hands before eating.
From the rich scent of frankincense in the churches, the heady incense of Asia and the middle eastern Bazaars, the raw energy of bush burning in many native cultures, the ancient Celtic druids who used sage and oak moss besides, to the indigenous peoples of the Amazon whose Palo Santo (sacred wood) burning ceremonies are still in practise to this day; one thing is for sure, there’s a common theme that links them all… purification and cleansing!
Many people think that when we burn incense its just making our homes smell nice, well yes, but its so much more than that and smudging with sacred sage which is the most well known of the herbs for cleansing is where I shall begin to explain; so how does smudging work? The answer lies in the sub-atomic world of subtle or spiritual energy. Our bodies and homes are not just constructed out of purely physical matter, they also vibrate with subtle invisible energy. Cleansing our bodies or space with sacred smoke can clear away all the emotional and psychic rubbish that we or a space may have gathered over years and possibly hundreds of years.
You can use it for space clearing your home where there has been illness, arguments, sadness or just to keep the energies uplifted or vibrant. in fact a few centuries ago, even we in the west would have energetically cleared our homes ready for new occupants and done the same when we moved into a new home.
It can be used to keep therapy rooms clear of negative energy left unknowingly by clients. Or used to cleanse a space in readiness for a ceremony. Busy spaces can accumulate lots of energy that can become stagnant and unwelcoming, which brings me to mention that my shop ‘Destiny Rising’ is smudged every morning to clear the hustle bustle energy from the day before and welcome in a clear fresh energy for the new day to begin.
Smudging is truly wonderful. If you are not familiar with it, why not give it a try! Lots of our customers have become converts to it since we have explained it and showed them how its done. Often people will come rushing into the shop and say “please smudge me, I’ve had a lousy day!” We of course always have a sage bundle to hand.
I love it for its simplicity and its effectiveness, I’ve witnessed how different a person can feel after clearing their Aura with the smoke of the sage, they feel lighter and often feel calmer. Homes and spaces feel clear and energetically fresher after being cleansed, which makes sense in that burning sage also releases negative ions, which research has linked to a more positive mood.
I see it as a beautiful and effective esoteric practise that seems to be being adapted to fit into life in the 21st century. It can be kept extremely simple or as ceremonial as you like, but whichever way a weekly smudging will keep you, your home or healing room nicely clear and balanced. We don’t just save it for special occasions or ceremonies, this fast pace frenetic world needs all the help it can get!
Objects can also be smudged, tools for majickal purposes, therapy couches, computers, phones and one of the best ways to cleanse crystals is to wash them in some filtered or mineral water or a stream if you’re lucky enough to have one close by and then run them through the smoke of a smudge stick, before charging them up in the glow of the full moon or sunshine.
Its not surprising that the Latin for sage is ‘Salvia’ which originates from the word ‘to heal’ and apart from cleansing, purifying and removing old static energy, sage is known for its ability to bring about clarity, wisdom and spiritual awareness. Its no coincidence then that we refer to wise folk as ‘sagely’
I really love it when I can explain to people that something is not airy-fairy or new age waffle and this is one of them! Native American tradition dates back millennia as does loads of traditional cultures, from the Maoris to the Balinese, the Chinese to the Zulus, all have age old blessing and cleansing traditions. Even here in the west as I have mentioned had them, although mostly long forgotten! The incense that even now wafts through the churches began life wafting from a pagan alter, the bells that ring out on a Sunday morning were intended to cleanse the parish through sound and invite the community from everyday space into worship, just as the shamans drum beckons us on sacred journeys into other worlds…
So, lets get on with the practise of smudging. I’m going to keep it simple to get started.
I’m going to talk about using a sage stick, bundle or wand as they are often referred to, as opposed to lighting sage leaves in a bowl. Sage sticks are bundles of dried sage leaves, often white sage is used for purification although there are many others which I will mention later. I always like to start a house or space cleansing by clearing myself first.
What you will need is your smudge bundle, a t-light and a largish feather if you feel you would like to use one to waft the smoke, but its not essential if you don’t have one, or you could even use a little fan that you have made.
Sit quietly before you start and fix your thoughts gently on your intension, which is to clear you and your space of all old unwanted lingering energy and purify yourself and the space that you occupy.
(note: be careful if you suffer from respiratory problems or asthma, please experiment cautiously)
Light your t-light and use that to light the tip of the smudge bundle, (the fat end) do not untie the string that holds it together. Now let it burn for a few minutes until it starts to smoulder, you may need to fan the flames for a while to get the smudge really smoking. Then extinguish the flame by fanning out the flame, so that the bundle is now just smoking.
I like to start my ritual by wafting the smoke towards my heart, asking the sacred sage to help me to release any grief that I am holding and calling in unconditional love. Then take the smudge (always using little clockwise circular motions) over your head into the crown chakra, down in front of your face, down the top of one arm, around your hand and back up under your arm, then the same with the other arm. Run the smoke down the front of your body, down both legs, under both feet and then back up the back of your body. As you smudge visualise yourself being surrounded by gentle loving energy.
Imagine the smoke taking away with it any negativity and being taken away into the earth or out of the window into the air where it will be transmuted or dissolved. This may sound simple but its very powerful, don’t underestimate this practise. Put your smudge bundle on a abalone shell or in a saucer is fine until you are ready to use it again for your space clearing. If you have finished with the smudge bundle, always take it outside and stub it out on some sand or soil, make sure it is extinguished, I always wrap it in some tin foil and keep it for next time.
Smudging your home or space.
Sometimes when life feels stuck or things aren’t going to plan, you may find that a space clearing session will do the trick, old energy of whatever has been going on in your home, or even before you inhabited your home can effect what’s going on now, old stagnant energy is sticky and the content of it is still vibrating at some level that can have an effect on you and your family.
Sometimes I will sprinkle sea salt around the skirting boards of a house before I start to cleanse because of its ability to soak up the old static energy that I am removing, if you decide to do this sprinkle it always walking clockwise, we want to go forward in time, not backwards! I will then Hoover it up after I have finished smudging and make sure the Hoover is emptied and the bag removed from the house immediately, as I don’t want this old energy lingering in the house any longer. If you would like to get really thorough, you can clap, drum or ring a bell around the walls, to help to break down the energy, ready for smudging. (again always walking clockwise)
I like to keep the windows open to allow the smoke to escape taking with it whatever is leaving.
Light your smudge bundle once again as above. Then using little clockwise motions up and down the walls, wafting the smoke with either your feather, fan or just allow the smoke to billow around the walls, walk clockwise slowly and pay special attention to the corners of rooms. You can call upon the spirit of the sage once again to drive away all negativity from this space. When I do this I feel a sense of taking my space back ready to fill it with my energy and my good intentions for all who live there including pets, they are very sensitive to energy. We all love a good spring clean don’t we? Well think of this as just as important… energetic cleaning! Your home becomes a fresh clear space and you will really feel the difference.
Smudge every room in your house, clear doorways and windows, waft smoke into cupboards and wardrobes, but obviously be careful that pieces of lit sage do not drop off into these spaces, you might like to use a little bowl underneath your smudge bundle for this.
When you have done the whole house or space, safely extinguish your smudge bundle.
You can then walk into each room and touch the walls asking whatever higher energy that you believe in, be it angels, guardians, deity’s, higher power to be present in this space and fill and bless it with love, happiness, protection, peace, health and harmony. This is my way of doing it, but you can adapt it to fit your ways. There is a space blessing that I like to use by bringing in the four elements of earth, air, fire and water, but I will save that for another blog soon.
We get asked about space clearing all the time at my shop, so what I have explained here has been repeated many times, so I thought this would be a great topic to put out there for everyone. Of course there are many ways of doing this, this is the way I like to do it.
After you have completed your space cleansing, its quite nice to balance the male/yang energy of the sage with a little female/yin energy by burning some sweetgrass, lavender or vanilla to attract in positivity, balance and peacefulness, I always think of the scent of Vanilla as representing the sweetness of life.
As I have mentioned there are many other herbs and combinations that can be used for clearing:-
Desert sage (also known as sagebrush) :- transforms energy and brings change and healing.
Cedar :- deeply purifying, good to clear negative emotions, great to clear a new home before moving in, revives a tired mind, body and spirit. The medicine of protection. Cedar trees are very wise, old and powerful.
Juniper:- used to purify and create a safe and sacred space.
Copal :- tree sap from Mexico, considered the blood of trees. Given up to please the Gods by the native peoples of Mexico. It is offered to honour the enormous gift given to us by all the tree people of our planet.
Lavender :- restores balance and creates a peaceful atmosphere, attracts loving energy and spirits.
Sweetgrass :- said to be the breath of the earth mother, bringing the blessing of mother earths love, burnt to remind us of the essence of the feminine and that the earth provides us with everything we need. Also known as holy grass and vanilla grass for its sweet vanilla like scent.
Before I end this particular blog I would like to add something interesting and intriguing that I noticed many years ago when I was working in the property industry, that in those days I didn’t understand, but it was something that came up over and over again!
Over many years of selling property I noticed that certain houses seemed to have an effect over its occupants, sometimes gradually and sometimes quite swiftly. I don’t wish to impart this to cause alarm, because as much as some of the stories had negative outcomes, many were of a positive nature. The point is that I witnessed changes to people and their circumstances by way of where they lived. I started to recognise certain addresses whereby I knew that that particular house would be coming back on the market yet again, probably due to divorce, since the pattern kept on repeating itself. I used to think it of it as coincidence, but after many years I realised that this was not the case.
There was a property whereby the man of the house would be become quite poorly. I have many of these stories, but I don’t want to recite them all. On a positive note, one extremely lucky address comes to mind whereby the occupants, in fact three in a row, became multi millionaires in not too short a time. Big brand names that we all know and love! Or the house that people in disharmony moved into to find things improving dramatically.
Since my endeavours into the realms of metaphysics and quantum energy I understand a few things but certainly wouldn’t claim to have discovered the mysteries of life and the universe, but what I have discovered is that spaces where people have lived seem to be powerful generators for change, there seems to be a direct correlation between your environment and your situations, health, successes and luck in life. Behind every front door is a story of peoples lives that may to some extent play out in yours. But of course we have to ask ourselves why have I been drawn to this house? and its not just for the large garden or the sink being the right height! Its a matter of your vibration and the vibration of the property. Matter, substance and consciousness vibrating together, a huge subject for another time…
However, what I would like to get across is the importance of clearing your home, yourself and the spaces that you work in. I am forever explaining to newly qualified therapists that are setting up therapy rooms in their homes or working in clinics to keep their spaces energetically cleared. A lesson that I have had to learn myself over many years.
Don’t we all know on some level how we feel when we walk into a space, weather it be a house, a place of worship, a theatre, a museum, or somewhere where atrocities have taken place? we don’t always know perhaps with what senses we are feeling it, but we feel it! that’s the energy that is lingering and speaking to us on a vibrational level.
So lets make your space a happy one to live in and fill it with good vibes!
Smudge sticks are available from our shop in Radlett, Hertfordshire, or from our online shop www.destinyrisingshop.com or you may have a local new age shop that stocks them or a favourite online supplier of esoteric products. Wherever they are from… Get Smudging!
love and blessings