Smudging 101

Cleansing your space & yourself for the New Year

Note that this is a smoke ritual, one of smudging. Smudging can be problematic and as an environmentalist I know that there are very common smudging’s which are endangered from over harvesting such as White Sage and Palo Santo as a biproduct of the wellness movement becoming so popular over the last few years. Please be mindful of both environmental issues and cultural issues when going about your smudging. Some alternatives to white sage and palo santo are cedar, black sage (Mugwort), floral smudges, sweetgrass, and even mists. If you are going to use white sage, please consider growing it and drying it on your own.

Smudging is the act of burning and using the smoke to dispel negative energies that has been used cross culturally for 2000 plus years. It has been used in medicine, ritual and religion and is something that has experienced a resurgence over the past few decades in the main stream. This of course has a nice oder but its so much more then that. Smoke has been considered a vessel for medicine for millennia and if you are skeptical, just think about how you feel when you have Vics vapor rub! It is believed on a spiritual level to help talk to the ancestors and is used in rituals from Indigenous American’s, the druids of Europe all the way down to Africa. Frankincense and Myrrh is talked about even in the bible and as a raise Catholic, it is nothing new to me to be cleansed in smoke at Christmas’s midnight mass. Any negativity and stress is though to be absorbed by the smoke and to disappear into thin air.

There is now reason to believe though studies that herbal smoke can boost mood by shifting the ions in the air. It is no shock considering we know that different scents also effect the brain too. Smudging is really one of the perfect rituals, bringing together all of the elements a witch needs. The flame represents fire, the shell or bowl water, your breath to bowl it out air and the herbs themselves represent earth.

What you Need:

  • Dried herbs
  • Alter dish or large shell
  • A vision of energy you want to welcome into your life this year

To Do:

Open all of your doors and windows (Or as many as you can if its cold) to get the stagnent air moving. Light then end of your bundle and let it burn for a few moments before blowing it out and letting it smoke. Set it down in your shell or alter bowl letting the smoke fade softly into the air. Wave the smokey stick around you, above your head and then moving it down your body, taking your time. As you bathe in the smoke, feel it absorbing any negativity you have internalized over the past year (In 2020 it might take a little bit longer!) leaving behind only light. Wave your smudge in an infinity sign (Figure eight) to lock this energy out. This symbol is deeply healing.

Once you have cleansed yourself , tackle the rest of your space and your alter. Walk around your room starting at the ceiling and moving down to the floor in the space. Walk from room to room like this, getting into the tight corners, where you feel most stressed out, in places that could use some positivity. Make this a moving meditation with positive mantras.

Bring the ritual to a close by rubbing the smudge into your shell or bowl. Sprinkle the remaining ashes outside to return them to the earth. You can repeat this ritual any time you want or your home feels stale or uninspired.

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