Sage & Smudge Sticks: For Cleansing, Clearing, and Ceremony
Many religious and spiritual traditions practice the burning of herbs for emotional, psychic, and spiritual purification. Using a smudge stick is part of many American Indian traditions. Smudging is a ritual way to cleanse a person, place or an object of negative energies, spirits or influences. You might want to smudge when:
- You’ve been feeling depressed, angry, resentful.
- You’ve had an argument with someone.
- You’re going to have a special ritual or ceremony.
- As part of a general spiritual housecleaning.
- To clear your crystals of any negative energy.
In Native societies the herbs used for smudging are considered sacred. Treat your smudge stick with respect, and be respectful about the act of smudging. I find that it is particularly centering to have an intention in mind. For example,
- If you are feeling depressed visualize the smoke carrying away all your feelings of depression. If there was an argument imagine yourself and the person with whom you argued being at peace with each other.
- If you are clearing your crystals prior to programming them thank both them and the smudge stick for helping you to realize your goals.
- In smudging your room/house you may want to affirm that your dwelling place is a temple for body/spirit.
Smudge sticks are most easily lit from a candle flame. (Matches generally go out before the stick is lit). Once there’s a flame blow it out so that the smudge stick is smoldering, not burning. The idea is to get curls of smoke, not to set the smudge stick afire. (Special note: Don’t smudge while infants, pregnant women, or people with respiratory diseases are in the room.) Some ways to smudge are:
- If you’re smudging objects, such as crystals, you can hold them in the smoke. If you’re smudging a group of crystals you can fan the smoke over them.
- In smudging a room walk about the perimeter, giving special attention to the corners and the places behind doors. I like to wave the smudge stick in a slow circle. You can also fan the smoke throughout the room with a large feather.
- If you’re smudging yourself fan the smoke so that it touches all parts of you. You may want to especially focus on areas where you feel there are blockages or where there has been or is physical, emotional, or psychic pain.
- If you’re smudging someone else (a client for whom you’re doing healing work, for example) do the same.
Have a fireproof receptacle to put the smudge in when you’ve finished, such as a shell or glass or ceramic dish. It’s ideal to put the stick out in sand, if available; otherwise, press it against the bottom of the receptacle. You can also use a SMALL amount of water.
Always make sure that a smudge stick is out before leaving the room where you keep it.