Click the photos below for more info on Sage vs. Palo Santo
PURPOSE OF SMUDGING
- Cleansing / Purification
- Clearing / Freeing / Releasing
- Personal Objects/Crystals
- Home /Office/Healing Space
- When your spirits are low
- After being around someone who is sick or depressed
- Before Meditation
- After you've been around large groups/Been Sick
- To clear stagnant energy in your home
- Sage or other sacred plants. Sage (or another plant, herb, or wood) represents the earth element and when burned, the smoke from it represents the air.
- 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 also represents the air element. (OPTIONAL: YOU CAN USE YOUR HAND)
- Drum(s) or sacred drumming music, which represent the beat of the heart. (OPTIONAL: FEEL FREE TO RECITE YOUR OWN MANTRA)
What is Smudging?
Smudging is the word used for the custom of burning herbs as a spiritual practice. Just as we use water to cleanse our physical bodies, the smoke from burning herbs (such as sage, sweetgrass, mugwort, and juniper) is a way to cleanse our energetic bodies. For centuries many cultures have used smudging to create a cleansing smoke bath that is used to purify the body, aura, energy, ceremonial/ritual space or any other space and personal articles. Smudging is performed to remove negative energy as well as for centering and healing. Our bodies and environments are not only physical but vibrate with invisible, silent energy.
The idea of cleansing through smoke is certainly not a tradition only for Native North Americans. Most rituals have some element of cleansing, and incense or herbal smoke mixtures that are burned. Around the world – from China, India, and Southeast Asia, to Europe, South America and the Western world- many countries have used some form of smoke or smudging for ritual and clearing.
How to Smudge
When many people think of smudging, it is commonly the Native American tradition that comes to mind. The ritual can be as simple or complicated as possible, but the basics are as follows:
- An abalone shell is the traditional Native American vessel to use for holding the sage. However, any small, flat, heat-proof container will do (add a small amount of water to the container).
- Leave the sage as is, tied with the string in the bundle. Light the sage and let it flame for a few seconds. Extinguish the flame so the sage is smoldering and smoking.
- Take the smudge container and using circular clockwise movements, encircle yourself with the smoke. The Native American custom is to use a very large feather from a poultry bird, such as a turkey. Using the feather, fan the smoke all around the room going around windows and doorways.
- Make sure to have windows and doors open, and circulate the smoke towards to openings--pushing it out of the space.
- I like to recite a prayer, mantra, or phrase as I'm smudging--some examples are shown below.
- Do this for the whole room, or even the whole house. Start at a doorway in the most northerly room and working again, clockwise, through your home, let the smoke from the sage permeate. Finish the smudging process by ending up at the same open door. You should have come full circle around your home.
- You can smudge a room, or your whole house, but the same practice can also be done on the physical body--just be sure to start at the top of the head and work down, and always provide an exit for the energy you are clearing (window, doorway, etc).
Mantras, Prayers, and Phrases
Here are some sample mantras to use when smudging, but I also like to make sure I have a clear intention prior to smudging. Then when I smudge I recite one of the following:
- Speaking of Om: the word Om, appears in one of my favorite mantras: Om Mani Padme Hum.
- “I fill this home with light, love and positive energy, only that which has this vibration is welcome in this space”.
- "May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants. And may that same smoke carry our prayers, spiraling, to the heavens."
- ANY PRAYER, SAYING, OR INTENTION THAT IS IMPORTANT TO YOU!!