Smudging 101



Hello, welcome back. I am happy you are here!! ❤

I was consulting with a client recently, during our discussion I told him that it would do him good to smudge his home and himself to help get rid of some negative energy that he had been dealing with. He had never heard of smudging, and asked what I was talking about. I told him what Smudging was, why it would be a good idea and thought that this would be a good blog idea 🙂 so here goes!

Smudging is a powerful ancient practice of burning fragrant herbs to clear negative energy from people, places and things. For most, when the topic is discussed your thought goes first to the Native American cultures, but there are other cultures that also burn herbs and spices. For the sake of this post I will use the Native American Culture. My Father’s Maternal family is Native American so this is the culture closest to my heart.

I will explain the process of smudging in a bit but first I want you to understand that this is a ritual and like all ritual must be done correctly and reverently. Each article used for smudging is sacred and represents one of the four elements. Used together they represent the fifth element of spirit, life energy.

  • The sage or other herb represent Fire
  • The shell or clay bowl represent Water
  • The rising smoke represents Air
  • The ash represents Mother Earth

Together these are the elements that represent spirit/life.

Smudging can be used to clear negative energy from anything and can be done as often as needed. I try to always smudge myself before doing readings and rituals. If you’ve had a horrible day, smudge yourself and you will feel better! Even better keep a container outside your home to hold supplies so that you can smudge before going in, this way you aren’t taking negative energy inside the sacred space of your home!

There are a few things you might want to keep in mind prior to beginning. It’s a real good idea to have a door or window open while smudging. The negative energy has to have someplace to go! If there isn’t a door or window open the negativity isn’t going to leave. It will find some nice cozy spot to hide and come back later. Another good reason to have ventilation is to keep anyone in the home or group with breathing issues safe. Yes sage and other herbs are medicinal but in concentrated form during a lengthy ritual might be too much for some people.

Also keep in mind that the shell or clay bowl that holds the smudge stick in is going to get hot so it’s a good idea to put sand or nice dirt in the container as an insulator. And, if you set it down make sure that you put something under it to protect your furniture! Remember also that the cord the bundle is tied with will eventually burn and causing bundle to come apart so don’t leave it burning and leave the room, we don’t want any accidental fires.

The last thing you might want to keep in mind before starting is to try to clear any clutter from the area being smudged. This will open the area and not give negativity a place to hide.

OK. Onward!

Now getting down to the basic process of the ritual. This is a general how to. If you have never smudged before you will, in time work this process into a ritual that you are comfortable with and that works best for you. Remember this is a ritual and must be done reverently with intent!

Lighting the smudge stick can be a bit difficult sometimes. So it’s a good idea to use a candle flame instead of a lighter that will get pretty hot. Once lit, fan out the flame and allow the smoke to rise. Don’t blow on the smudge stick. I know that this will be your first impulse but by blowing on it you may inadvertently blow negative energy into the very object that you want to use to rid negative energy!! Use your hand or a ceremonial feather for this purpose.

Once the smoke is rising nicely it is a good idea to offer smoke to the cardinal directions and invite them to your ritual.  East, South, West, North, Up, Down and Center. Not everyone does this, it is up to you to decide if this is something you want to include. This is a ritual in itself. So there is a right and wrong way to do this. [maybe this is another blog post ;)]

If you are smudging a group of people do yourself first then the others. Pass the smoke over your whole body head to toe, front and back. You can use your hands or feather to direct the smoke. When I smudge myself I start by directing smoke to my eyes to clear my vision, my mouth to ensure I speak only kind words and to my heart to open my ability to love unconditionally. Then I pass the smoke over my body both front and back. If I have a physical issue or feel negativity in my chakras or aura I pay special attention to these areas. As you pass the smoke speak, either silently or out loud, something like “As I pass this sacred smoke over my/your body all negativity is released. Allowing peace, love and light to take it’s place”. After doing yourself do any others in your group following the same process. Always keep the intent of clearing negativity in your mind. When you clear negativity you want to always fill that empty space with good. This is why I always fill with peace, love and light.

If you are going to do your whole home and you have more than one floor start from the lowest floor and work your way up. Have a window or door open so the negativity has a place to exit. Work your way around each room and floor from the left to right. Go around the edges of each room paying attention to corners, closets, behind doors, and around windows. When you have worked your way around a room you can direct smoke to the center of the space. Again use your hand or feather to direct the smoke and speak something like “With this sacred smoke all negativity is released from this space. Only peace, love and light are allowed to remain” When you have covered all the space you wanted to clear finish the process by directing the smoke out the open window or door. When you feel that all negativity has gone shut the door or window.

If possible finish by smudging around the exterior of the home. This is a good idea because it creates a ring of clear space around your home that will not allow negativity to settle in once it’s driven out. Sometimes this isn’t possible of course, especially if you live in an apartment building. But in this case you can do around your front door and patio area if you have one and also the windows.

To clear the energy from an object like a crystal for example. Hold it in or pass the crystal back and forth through the smoke and say something like ” As I pass this crystal through the sacred smoke I clear it’s energy making it strong. May only good strong and positive energy remain for my highest good”.

No matter what I am clearing I always end with “So Mote it Be” you can choose any closing you like that fits with your belief system. When you are done and want to put the stick out, don’t do the first thing that comes to your mind and run it under water. This isn’t good for the stick for two reasons. First if you want to use it the next day, it’s going to be wet! Also for health reasons you want to avoid the possibility of mold growing inside the stick.

Tamp the stick out in a shell or clay bowl that has sand or dirt in it until it is extinguished. When it is no longer smoldering take the ash outside and give it back to the earth. As you do this thank the spirit of the herb and the smoke for assisting you.

Like any other ritual object you should store it in a place of honor. Don’t put it in a drawer and forget about it until you need it again. You can place the shell, stick and feather on your alter or any place that shows respect.

The herbs most often used for smudging are Sage, Sweetgrass and Cedar but there are others that can be used such as:

  • Sage: For healing, cleansing, driving out unwanted energies
  • Cedar: For purifying, drawing in wanted energies
  • Sweetgrass: For blessing
  • Sagebrush: For calling spirit
  • Lavender: For restoring peace and balance
  • Mugwort: For psychic work, this is also a real good cleanser

These herbs can be combined for smudging rituals. For example combining sweetgrass and sage allows for clearing and blessing at the same time. After a traumatic event sage and lavender will clear the energy of the trauma and invite peace and balance back into the home and you if you smudge yourself as well.

Smudging is a wonderful gift you can give yourself, your family and your home. I hope you give it a try.

Have a wonderful week everyone 🙂

Blessed Be! ❤ Sharon


30 thoughts on “Smudging 101

      1. To be honest I’ve never read where you can’t. Before I relight a sage bundle I trim some of the burned edges off into the shell. This can make reigniting the bundle a bit easier.


  1. Hi, I hope your journeys are peaceful?

    thank you for this information
    I’d like to ask, when I’ve used my sage, I’ve put it out, can I re use the same one?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, I have a question rather than a comment. My sage bundle has been used so many times that It’s a bundle of stems now. Will it still be effective?
    With appreciation,

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I plan to smudge the whole apartment. I should open the front door only? And leave all the window remain closed? How to direct the smoke from room leave wear the front door? Or I can open one window from each room after the ritual?


    1. Hello Karen,
      I generally open the front door only if I am clearing the main floor of my home. If doing all the floor then I open a window on the upper floor and work my way around then draw the negativity out the window. If you choose to open a woondow and a door in your apartment you can, but having only one exit for the negativity is a good choice. You don’t necesarily want it leaving from one point and coming back in from another. After the ritual is done, close the window or door. Blessed Be ❤ Sharon


  4. Thankyou for this article. I enjoyed learning more about smudging. Unfortunately I found it after I had performed the ritual today. I had all doors & windows open, all cupboards etc however I went from front of house to back. Also, I helped someone before doing a cleansing on myself. Could I have inadvertently transferred negative energy? And lastly, quite embarrassed to say, I blew out the flames instead of fanning them. Have I done it so wrong that it may not have worked? Thankyou for your time and reply. Happy New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kind words.I am glad you found the article helpful. I wouldn’t worry too much. Not everyone gets it right the first time and as you get used to smudging you will find it a more comfortable process. If the energy feels lighter and cleaner than it did, then you’re good. You can always go back and smudge again if feel like you need to. Blessed Be ❤ Sharon


  5. Hi!
    I plan to do my first smudging in the next couple of days after some more clutter clearing, as I can feel the immense amount of bad energy rifling through my house, which I believe it effecting my 6 year old dog, we’ve had some very bad luck in this house over the last few years, so this is very over due, pets dying of cancer or other horrible ways, my father has maimed himself for life and nearly died twice of blood clots in the last 5 years, and I suffer from some bad health myself, I do believe that this smudging will be effective, and will help us all greatly.
    Whilst I prep and recover my energy for it, I have been spraying some lavender essential oil mist around and burning white sage incense sticks to help me recover before the big event, but I can feel the negative energy trying to push it’s way back in.
    I have always been very sensitive to spirits and energy, and used to always attract bad spirits, which I no longer usually do, though at the moment there is something in my house, I had pushed him out but after the events of my father nearly dying again last week, he’s back and I’m too weak to push him out and keep him out currently, is there a way whilst smudging to help me push him out, or do you think the smudging itself will be ok? I usually have a spirit of a lady who stays with me who I haven’t seen in awhile, who I picked up at my time at university, I call her the lady in grey, her energy is purple, orange and green, she’s warded things off for me before, but I feel bad calling on her spirit constantly for help, and it has been awhile since I’ve called on her.
    Also there seems to be something that upsets my dog in the attic in the same corner that used to bother a couple of dogs that passed away, but I am unable to properly get into the attic, only to lift the hatch, what should I do?
    My friend who also posses some spiritual power is going to be joining me for support and energy, so I hope that her presence will also help the process.


    1. Hello Bea,
      It sounds like you could use a nice clearing. Do your best to get everywhere, even the attic as you move through your home. You’ll want to be careful how you word the ritual if you don’t want to lose your Lady in Grey during the smudging. Especially if she is a guide for you.
      Keep in mind that you must approach the ritual with confidence. Fear and doubt will not give you a full clearing. I am sure you will do great.
      After the clearing you can grid the house, that will help keep the bad stuff out.
      Blessed Be ❤ Shay


  6. I plan on smudging my house first time tomorrow. It’s a 2 story. So should I open upstairs window and start at front door? Or how do you suggest.


      1. I thought just one for exiting. I read some where with a 2 story house open window upstairs. Do first floor , and work way up. To room with window open. Or do I open a window in each room if possible
        Not all rooms have windows.


  7. The idea is to push the low vibrational energy to one area for release. If you have windows on every level of your home open, you could conceivably push something out one level and have it return in another.


  8. I’m not Native American but I would like to do this. I just don’t want to disrespect Native Americans and your culture. If you could please advise me on this, I would sincerely appreciate it.


    1. I would not be disrespectful as long as you recognise and respect the ceremony of it. Smudging is not entirely Native American. Many cultures use this process to clear energy in one form or another. Blessings on you and yours ❤


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