What is smudging and how do you do it?
Cleaning your home of spirits, either good or bad, can be an exhilarating and interesting experience, whether it is your first time or you have been doing it continually over a number of years.
There are many ways in which you can cleanse your house and the objects that may be of significant interest to the spirit, such as fuming with clouds of fragrant smoke, or, using water or oil to bless parts of the house, especially the locations where evil spirits reside. Clairvoyant readings have been a longstanding technique to introduce messages and spirits into our lives. However, there is one technique that holds significant value for many across the globe.
The spiritual art of ‘smudging’ is an ancient Native American technique that has been used for hundreds of years to purify rooms with the smoke of sacred herbs, and is said to clear negative energy from a space.
It has also been scientifically proven that the most commonly used ingredient, sage, will in fact cleanse the air of bacteria. So not only is this technique beneficial for the spiritual health of your mind and home, but your physical health too. If you are interested in getting to know a little more about this technique, how to do it and what you will need, then continue reading!
Speaking to Spirituality Health, Cat Criger, aboriginal elder-in-residence at the University of Toronto, says, “To practice smudging at home, it’s important to be respectful and learn how to handle the herbs according to traditional protocols.
“When done properly, smudging can be a way to connect with Native American culture.”
The smudging technique
Before starting the ritual, it’s important to be in a “positive and healthy state of mind”, says Exemplore. If you aren’t then you will be sending out the wrong messages and the whole ritual will be counterproductive to your intentions. As for this, if you find yourself in a low mood, remind yourself of the benefits of living in the moment and reaching out to your higher self to gain a different, better perspective on the present.
Continuing on from this, there are a few ingredients and pieces of equipment you will need to make the ritual safe and successful:
- Sage: As discussed above, sage is the most common ingredient to be used for smudging. There are two different types, which are used for the practice; white and desert sage. Whilst the white has a lighter scent and is easier to clean up after the ritual, the desert has a harsher scent and crumbles easily when lit due to its tree-like composition. Sage is used to cleanse, bless and heal the person or object that is being smudged.
- Cedar: Known as the ingredient of protection, cedar is primarily used to cleanse spaces within the home to ward off unwanted spirits and influences. The cedar tree is known for its wise and powerful spirits
- Lavender: Lavender is traditionally used for relaxation and soothing the body and mind. In terms of using the herb for smudging, it brings a positive energy into a closed space or to an individual and calms the mind. If you are interested in chakra meditation, lavender is beneficial when unblocking the heart chakra from any negativity.
Just like incense sticks and other forms of burning, it is important you take precautions when residue and ash fall from the burning of the herbs you chose to use in your smudging ritual.
In this instance you will need to place a pot filled with sand or soil close to where you are so you can immediately extinguish the smoke once you have finished. In any enclosed space you should make sure there is a window you can open for the smoke to escape.
Most importantly, you should never burn any material near infants or animals, as it can have a negative effect on their respiratory systems.
Preparing the herbs
Image Credit: Paloma Cervantes (Wikimedia Commons)
When preparing the herbs for your ritual, it is easiest if you gather a large bunch of the ingredient that can be easily held. For your health and safety, using a small bowl to hold underneath the burning herb will capture any ash that may harm you or cause damage to furniture.
Performing the ritual
When performing the smudging ritual, it should be done in a positive state of mind. If you are in a negative state of mind when beginning, it will be counterintuitive to the meaning of the ritual itself.
If you are performing smudging on another individual – both of you will need to be in a positive state of mind to receive the full benefits of the ritual.
Firstly, focus on what you want to get out of your smudging ritual. Focus on the energy that is being presented to you and use it to disperse the negative energy that may be lingering within you or parts of your home. Fan the smoke from your chosen smudging tool from head to toe, you can visualise the smoke relieving any stresses or blockages within one or multiple parts of your body.