Smudging is the moving of smoke from various sacred herbs through a space, your personal
energy field (or that of another being) or around objects such as crystals, stones or sacred
tools. It comes to us from Native American traditions, but many peoples and many cultures have
echoed the principle.
Smudging clears negative energy and purifies the physical and finer environments. Everything
and everyone has an energetic (auric) field around it/them. These fields can become
contaminated with negative vibrations and thoughtforms. These negative energies, if not
removed, can cause disharmony, imbalance, depression and illness. Sometimes these negative
energies are left in our environment from contact with others who are creating or harboring
them. Sometimes they form tenacious connecting cords draining energy and vitality. Smudging
can eliminate these imbalances and restore harmony.
- Sacred herbs chosen for their inherent qualities or vibrations - see possible choices we have
- Shell or receptacle you can use to burn the herbs. A shell is the Native American traditional
choice. A fire resistant open dish-like container is necessary as it prevents stray smoldering
embers from burning furniture, carpeting or clothing.
- A feather is used to sweep the smoke generated by the smoldering herbs through the space
- Matches or lighter to light the herbs. With a smudge stick or bundle, however, the easiest
way is to light a candle and light the bundle from that steady flame.
How to Smudge
- Gather needed items.
- Light smudge until the end glows red and then fan it to put out the flame. We are working
with the smoke from the smoldering herbs; the flame needs to be extinguished. Do not blow
out the flame, this puts your vital breath at cross-purposes with your intent.
- After lighting the smudge offer it to the four cardinal directions: East, South, West and
North or hold it for a moment near your heart.
- Hold the shell or bowl with the smoking smudge in one hand and fan it through space to be
- When finished give thanks.
- Tamp out any herbs still burning. For small embers use a spoon or stick to tamp it out if
Smuding a person
Begin by smudging the auric space - about 2 to 3 feet out from the body. Work from above the
head to the feet. Move around the person in a clockwise manner. When you get to the feet, have
the person lift up their feet, one at a time, as you sweep the smoke under each one. Go back above
the head and go down the front, back and each side of the body, cleaning the energies that lie
close to their form. Then hold the smudge in front of them so they can offer smoke to Father
Sky, to Mother Earth and to take some to their heart. End by bowing to the other person as
they return the bow to you.
Note: Because of the smoke emitted, avoid burning smudge in confined areas or around infants,
anyone who is pregnant or suffering from asthma or respiratory conditions.
Smudging your home or surroundings
Prepare the smudge for use as described above. In an enclosed space, open a door or window to
provide a route for negative energies to leave as they move to get away from the smudge. Begin
in the room that is the most distant from the open door or window. Start at the center of
that room. Move through the room in ever widening clockwise circles. Fan the smoke from the
smudge over, under and around objects. If any area feels sticky continue smudging until it
feels clean to you. Use your finer intuitive senses as you work. Tell everything that you do not
want in your space to Leave now and go to the Light. Move to the next room and the next,
repeating this procedure, moving any negativity ahead of you towards the opening. If you have
left a door open for negativity to exit, smudge the doorway, step through and smudge the
immediate area outside so hitchhiking lower thoughtforms don't ride back inside. Many people
hang sweetgrass braids over doorways to allow only good energy to enter their space.
Outdoors, begin smudging in the center of your sacred space. Move clockwise in ever increasing
spirals until you reach the perimeter. Smudge each individual as described above as they enter
the sacred space.
Smudging your ritual tools and other items
For small items, such as tumbled stones or jewelry - put them in an open weave basket, sieve or
strainer. Hold the container above the smudge and allow the smoke to rise and enter the
container, bathing the small items in smoke.
For larger objects: Move around the object in a clockwise direction. Begin at the top and sweep
smudge through the close energetic field and off towards the Earth.
Smudging clear quartz crystals: Remember that crystals store and amplify energy. Much like a
computer they do not discriminate as to the type of energy put into them. When cleansing your
space be sure to give them attention as well.
Note: If setting your smudge shell or bowl down to clean objects be sure that it is on a stable
Herbs used for Smudging and their qualities
- California White Sage Clears negative and foreign energies and entities out of our
environment, our personal space and our belongings
- Desert Sage Purifies, dispels unwanted energies and entities
- Sweetgrass Brings sweetness, grace, blessings; grounding protecting and
sanctifying; brings help from spirit
- Cedar Calls in spirit, helps to connect with guides and spirit
- Lavender Brings protection, peacefulness and rest
- Yerba Santa Nurtures and protects that which is ancient and sacred
within us, give us courage and encouragement
- Juniper Breaks up negative thoughtforms sent from others
- Copal Clearing, sanctifying, empowering, ATTRACTS BENELOVENT
- Pine Needles Purifies, calms, renews and cleanses
- Mint Cleanses, uplifts and protects
- Tobacco Connects us with sacred teaching and sacred beings
- Uva Ursi Very calming and grounding
Smoke from herbs can lead to allergic reactions or trigger asthma or other forms of
respiratory distress. Do not begin using smudge if you are pregnant. The information on this
flyer is offered for its cultural and historical value. Mona Magick does not assume any
responsibility for the way individuals burn or respond to the smoke from any herbs. If you
choose to burn herbs, do so only in a well-ventilated area, use common sense and moderation.
Discontinue use and contact your health professional if any irritation develops.
Note: To avoid fire hazards, do not use smudge around flammable surfaces. Never leave burning smudge, candles or fire unattended.Last updated: December 31, 1969
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