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Smudging: What It Is and How to Do It

Smudging: What It Is and How to Do It

Smudging is used and recommended by indigenous peoples, feng shui practitioners, healers, and more, for “space clearing” and purification.

A Native American healer I respect smudges his computer every night. I myself use it frequently when I feel “stuck” emotionally. What is smudging? Why do it? Why learn about it?

Here is what I think smudging is, and why it is often a very useful tool to use in the home.

Healers often recommend smudging to change the “energy” of a place after an event has happened, such a death, or even an argument. Smudging a computer would be done to remove the electromagnetic field energy; smudging one’s desk at the end of the day could be to remove the “work” mentality from the air; smudging after an argument would be done to clear the air, quite literally.

I think that smudging works to change the energetic of a space because of the science of entrainment. Our senses respond to vibrations, and there is a law of physics that makes vibrations want to start being harmonious, to be in synchrony. Entrainment is a word often used with music. In sound healing, the dissonant chord is gradually influenced by the harmonious cord and the disharmony changes to harmony over time.

Even air has a vibration, held I believe in the humidity. The water of the humidity would absorb the negative “vibe” of an argument, for example, and hold it. If you burn a healing plant, such as sage, in such an atmosphere, the humidity would then hold the energetic of the healing plant, and bit by bit the discordant energetic of the argument would be influenced by the harmonious vibration of the plant smoke.

The herbs burned are usually sage (white in particular), sweetgrass, or cedar, although any dried herb is fine, even lavender. If the herb has too woody a stem, the leaf part will burn very fast and die out.

White sage is a good choice because the leaf clusters are very long, and the leaves will smolder for quite a long time, emitting smoke into the air. Sage is also known as a purifying herb. Sweetgrass burns very quickly, and is a great choice for emanating sweet smell into the air (and healers believe sweet grass brings a high level of spirituality and burns away negativity). Cedar is very strong, and is considered powerful for removing negativity.

Buy your smudge sticks from those who honor the plants and bundle the herbs with sacred ceremony of appreciation. If you grow your own herbs, research making smudge sticks and honoring the plants.

To burn herbs, and create smoke, you have to be very careful not to start a fire. I use a big ashtray, with steep sides. Some light whole bundles of herbs, but I don’t because there is no need, usually, for that much smoke. Instead, I untie a smudge bundle and pull out just a few leaves, and light them. Once there is a flame, you blow out the flame (making sure you catch any sparks in the ashtray). The herbs will smolder, and the smoke will waft into the home. Walk around with the ashtray (smoking herbs included), and make sure the smoke reaches into all the areas of a room you want.

When you are done, let the herbs extinguish on their own (if they are safely in the ashtray and away from wind), or extinguish them fully with water.

As I think about smudging, sitting here on the cusp of spring and winter, I can see how smudging out the winter mood’s to let in the renewal of spring is a great use of smudging.

Read more: Spirit, Household Hints, Self-Help

By Annie B. Bond

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on anniebbond.com, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

32 comments

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8:54PM PDT on Jul 9, 2013

Hi, I'm so grateful I came across your site. Today for the very 1st time ever I "smudged" my house because I moved in here a few months ago and unfortunately my Therapy Dog & Cat (I'm disabled) both died mysteriously. So after my 1st smudging this morning my new dog had a convulsion and or seizure this evening. As you can imagine I'm so heart broken, freaked out, terrified and desperate for help. I would greatly appreciate any advice. Thank you so very much, Dulce.

11:40PM PDT on Mar 10, 2013

Interesting, thank you.

11:39PM PDT on Mar 10, 2013

Interesting, thank you.

11:38PM PDT on Mar 10, 2013

Interesting, thank you.

11:37PM PDT on Mar 10, 2013

Interesting, thank you.

9:18PM PDT on Oct 30, 2011

~Great ideas~Never heard the term smudging before~I would like to check out the lavender as that should smell pretty good!~

1:19AM PDT on Oct 22, 2011

Thanks for the article.

9:35AM PDT on Aug 28, 2011

Thank you

10:11AM PDT on Jun 12, 2011

good to know:)

1:33AM PDT on May 8, 2011

I do not smudge very often, I try to save energy (or someone might say I'm a little lazy, different perspective). I only do it when I need to. I smudge with frankincense. This incense is used in every catholic church around the world and at The Vatican every Sunday the altar in the San Pedro Basilic is smudged with it before the Pope stands on it for his weekly Sunday mass. This ritual of protecting the Pope with frankincense smudging during masses has been done for centuries since the dark ages. The last time I smudged my place was because I had a ghost buging me around. It wasn't a regular ghost but a diabolic one because when it came around after dark, it smelled to pure disgusting feces. I know smudge only kicks out ghosts but no demons, I know this one got out but only temporary, I know he'll be back, but a medium friend of mine is out of town so hopefully the little incubus will stay away until she returns and we kick him out for good. In the meantime smudging with frankincense and lighting up white candles on every room (Read Well This: FIREPROOF, insdie huge big O aluminium pots) will do the trick. Before smudging I spray with a spray bottle the whole place with Florida Water, so the humidity will trap the properties of the smoke. I had another ghost that I kicked out with frankincense smoke but he was kinda good fellow, he smelled like tobacco and only came to sit on my toilette in my bathroom. No more tobbaco smell there. I hate ghosts but I'm used to by now.

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