By Debbie Gent
© All Rights Reserved
Smudging is a simple ceremony used to cleanse a person, place or an object. The smudging ceremony involves the burning of sacred plants and herbal resins, then, either fanning the smoke around a person or place or passing an object through the smoke. The smoke from the sacred plants, then cleanses the person, place or object of unwanted energies, spirits or influences.
Smudging is like taking a shower for your energy system. Just like in the physical, we get dirty in our energy bodies too. Smudging cleans out all the junk we pick up as we move through our day. Just like the air, the energy in the world is polluted and simply collects on us and in our space. Not good or bad. It just IS.
A smudging ceremony is used before any sacred work, just like taking a ritual bath. Also, at a gathering or before circle work, smudge everyone just to be sure everyone is in a good space to start their work. Also smudge the room before (and sometimes after) doing classes or healing ceremonies to remove any unwanted energies that are hanging around.
The easiest way to smudge is to use a smudge stick. These can be found in most metaphysical stores and in some health food stores. A smudge stick is a wand made of the leaves of a plant(s) tied together and dried. You simply light the end of the wand and extinguish the flame by waving it around once it has a smoldering end. It is best to have some kind of pottery bowl or an abalone shell under the smudge stick to keep from dropping ash. (It can leave ugly burns in the carpet, believe me!) Loose herbs can also be placed on self-igniting or incense charcoal or simply lit together in the bowl to produce smoke. Either way is effective. Find the one that works best for you.
So, what about when you can’t have smoke or if someone is sensitive to smoke? It works the same. You simply don’t light the smudge stick. You are working with the plant’s ENERGY. Wafting the energy around someone or an area will have the same effect. If you want something more physical there are smudging sprays available such as Sacred Space Spray. It is an aromatherapy spray made of the vibrational essences of several of the sacred smudging herbs and gems.
If you are cleansing person have them stand facing you and pass the wand back and forth in their energy field starting at their feet and moving upwards. You can also use a feather to direct the smoke. They can also use their hands to move the smoke close to them and into their energy field. When you reach their head, have them turn, clockwise and pass the smudge down their back. Sometimes it's a good idea to pay close attention to the heart area. Remember, when you smudge, you are asking the spirit of sacred plants for assistance and you must honor their healing power.
To cleanse a room or outside area, simply carry the smudge stick or bowl, sunwise (clockwise) around the area, making sure to smudge in the corners and behind doors.
When you have completed the smudging ceremony, thank the sacred herb spirits and simply leave your smudge stick or herbs in the bowl and let them go out naturally. These sacred plant spirits work as long as they need to clean the space. Allow them to work until the smudge goes out. Putting out the smudge is like interrupting someone’s conversation. It’s not an open flame so it won’t catch fire, but don’t leave it next to the newspaper or curtains, as there are ashes. If for some reason you must put out the smudge stick, thank the herbs and simply break it off just
Smudging is used by all indigenous cultures and in many metaphysical practices. Today, we have a wide variety of herbs readily available to us from around the world. But, before the time of mass transportation, each culture and locale used the sacred plants that were readily available to them. For information on the properties of individual herbs, see our Smduging Herb Quick Reference Guide availabe at Shaman's Marketplace.