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We got a lot of questions about smudging, how we do it, and what’s the purpose of smudging? So, today we will answer all those questions and more.
What is smudging?
Since ancient times, our ancestors have burned sacred herbs and resins, believing the sacred smoke to raise vibrations, dispel of negativity, and assist with spiritual work.
Today, we know this process as smudging, and it remains a critical first step in any sacred ritual. Smudging daily can purify a sacred space before ritual, ceremony, or meditation. It’s an integral part of spiritual practice.
Why should you smudge?
Smudging is one of the ways to energetically cleanse a space to invite positive energy. When smudging a space, you burn plant material. The smoke fills and purifies the environment. As the smoke ascends, our wishes and intentions rise and mingle into the universe, connecting heaven, earth, and humanity.
When is it best to smudge?
It is best to smudge before/after healing practices like yoga, meditation, self-love rituals, after an argument, when you move to a new living or working space, before a special event, whenever you feel down or are surrounded by stagnant energies.
You can find our favorite loose white sage, HERE.
9 Reasons To Smudge
1. It may be purifying
The most-used types of sage have antimicrobial properties. This means they keep infectious bacteria, viruses, and fungi at bay.
White prairie sage (Artemisia ludoviciana) is both antimicrobial and antibacterial. White sage (Salvia apiana) is also antimicrobial. And both have been shown to repel insects.
Beliefs that burning sage clears out spiritual impurities, pathogens, and even insects have been fundamental to the practice of smudging.
2. It may help relieve the symptoms of some conditions
It turns out that sage may help clear the air of lots more than bugs and bacteria.
Though scientifically unproven, burning sage is thought to release negative ions. This is said to help neutralize positive ions.
Common positive ions are allergens like:
If this is the case, burning sage may be a blessing for those with asthma, allergies, bronchitis, and other respiratory conditions. But inhaling the smoke during the smudging can aggravate any respiratory condition. Wait until the smoke clears before going into the room.
3. It may help dispel negative energy
Smudging may also be used as a ritual tool to rid yourself — or your space — of negativity. This includes past traumas, bad experiences, or negative energies from others.
This may help you establish a positive environment for meditation or another ritual. Choosing to sit and let go of negative thoughts in a ritual like this sets your intention and dedication to self-improvement. Choosing to engage in ritual can be the beginning of your change in mindset.
4. It can cleanse or empower specific objects
Burning sage creates fragrant smoke central to smudging’s benefits. You can use this incense to smudge yourself or specific spaces. Or according to some sources, you can smudge specific objects.
This can be useful with new purchases, gifts, or secondhand items. However, any item can be smudged.
If you have any concern with negative history or energy attached to a new or unfamiliar object, smudging may help bring peace of mind and make the object more sacred to you.
5. It may help improve your mood
Tradition suggests that smudging can literally lift one’s spirits to banish negativity. Some research supports this.
A 2014 study documented white prairie sage (also known as estafiate) as an important traditional remedy for treating anxiety, depression, and mood disorders in certain cultures.
6. It may help soothe stress
If burning sage can lift one’s mood, it could also be a great ally against stress.
A 2016 research project for the University of Mississippi established that white sage (Salvia apiana) is rich in compounds that activate certain receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for elevating mood levels, reducing stress, and even alleviating pain.
7. It may improve the quality of your sleep
Smudging has been traditionally used to safeguard against negativity that could interfere with sleep.
Some research suggests that sage contains compounds that could help ease insomnia.
Classic garden sage (Salvia officinalis) is sometimes burned like white sage. It’s also been used to improve sleep and soothe anxiety.
8. It may help boost cognition
In addition to dissipating negative energy, improving mood, and strengthening intuition, smudging with sage might improve your memory and focus.
A 2016 review of studiesTrusted Source noted that evidence for Salvia’s cognitive-enhancing benefits are promising — perhaps to treat dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Still, more research is needed.
9. It may help boost your energy levels
Ridding the body, objects, and spaces of bad energy can help welcome in newer, fresher, and more positive energies. In a way, this could have an energizing effect and help with fatigue.
Some sagelike species closely related to white prairie sage are also used for smudging. Many have documented antifatigue uses.
What do you need to smudge?
The practice of burning sage or smudging is fairly simple, with few necessary tools.
Basic tools include:
white sage (or smudge stick)
a seashell or bowl of ceramic, clay, or glass to hold burning sage or capture ash
matches over a manufactured lighter
optional feather or fan for fanning smoke
How to safely smudge?
Start at the front door of the home and light your smudge stick. Then, begin to move around the home. Move mindfully and with care, walking clockwise around the entire perimeter of the home. Be sure to allow the smoke to drift into even the hidden spaces, like inside closets, basements and dark corners.
Ending the Smudging Ceremony
There are two ways to wrap up… just choose whichever one you feel most guided towards. You can always end it in different ways each time too!
Once you’ve finished walking around your home, you can allow it to work itself out naturally. (obviously, don’t leave it unattended) If I choose this option, I love to have the dish near me as I meditate or journal.
After you’ve finished smudging, you can also manually rub your sage out. Optional: After it’s put out, bury the sage or ashes to signify the finality of the negative energies that lived in your space.
Happy Smudging my Friends!