Are you familiar with the practice of smudging? It is a centuries old ritual that has been used in several cultures, particularly in Native American traditions. Fortunately, it is a practice anyone can learn to use, and it has many benefits to health and peace of mind.

Smudging is a ritual act of purification, designed to rid a person or space of negative energies. It can be used to release pent-up negative emotions like stress, anxiety, fear and anger. It can also be used to release negative spirits and other external energies and influences within an area.

Many people use this ritual to cleanse a new home or office space prior to moving in. It can also be used to help treat depression and anxiety. Smudging yourself or your space can help invigorate your energy by releasing pent up emotions and worries that may be bringing your energy levels down. It can help you release stress and gain more focus and clarity. It restores harmony to your surroundings and can be repeated as needed.

Sage is the most common herb used for this ritual, although cedar, tobacco and sweetgrass are also used. In Native American traditions these are considered the sacred herbs, representing the four directions.

A smudge stick contains dried herbs that are tightly bound with thread into a wand-like shape. It is lit on one end and the cleansing smoke is released. A small plate or bowl for catching the ashes is also necessary.  Some people use Abalone shells or sage pots specifically, but any heatproof container will do.  You don’t want to use tin or thin metals, because they get very hot and can burn the surfaces beneath them.

How to Use Your Smudge Stick

Place your smudge stick in your container, light it for several seconds and then carefully blow it out, keeping an eye out for any loose embers. The goal is to release low levels of smoke without a lot of fire.

Once the smoke is ready, carry your bowl and smudge stick and walk around the room, guiding the smoke into each corner and around the perimeter to cleanse the area. In Native American tradition, you start from the far west corner and work your way around.

You can do this alone, or use prayers or incantations to focus your energy and increase the effect. A simple invocation like “Bless this space and all who dwell and visit here” can be perfectly effective.  Use whatever positive reinforcement feels right for you.

When you are done, place the stick in the container and allow it to burn out naturally. Once you have used a smudge stick, the remnants should be discarded. Most traditions believe that a fresh smudge stick should be used for every ritual to ensure purity.

A smudging ritual is a safe and easy practice anyone can use to invite harmony into the home or any other space. It can even be used to purify objects as well. Smudging will instantly shift the energy and elevate the mood.