Smudging is a Native North American practice of cleansing the environment through an ancient smoke ritual. Smudging involves burning small bundles of herbs to physically and spiritually cleanse homes and people in an effort to clear negative energy and replace it with positive. Smudging can also be used to purify the mind, body and spirit before prayer, meditation, ritual, or ceremonies. Here are a few different types of sage for burning and their purposes.
White Sage is the most commonly used sage. Excellent for meditation, divination, smudging, cleansing and purification.
Sweetgrass is a rare grass which is found growing wild in very few places. Traditionally, sweetgrass is believed to invite in good spirits. Particularly useful in sacred spaces.
Palo Santo is related to Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal. It is also known as the Holy wood. When burned, the smoke is believed to have both medicinal and therapeutic healing powers.
Yerba Santa said to be ruled by the moon. Traditionally used for enhancing psychic abilities, magical protection, healing and spiritual strength. Excellent for meditation and divination.
Juniper Aids to stimulate and revive when tired in body, mind or spirit. Smoke believed to aid clairvoyance. Also useful for purification and to stimulate contact with other worlds. Burned during the Plague to resist disease.
Lavender Useful for attracting peace, happiness and restful sleep. Also reduces depression, grief and sorrow.
When smudging your space, it is important to be very deliberate and methodical. A great best practice is to start at the front entrance of a space and work clockwise entering each room with a burning smudge stick. Some people find that a smudge stick is difficult to light- in this case, you may consider cutting open the bundle and burning it inside an abalone shell. As you smudge each room be sure to start in the corner and work through the entire space- including closets, cabinets and drawers to expel stashed-away negative energy. Finish each room until you are back at the front door again.
Another common practice is to move the smudge stick in the pattern of a cross while reciting a prayer. Some people also like to use an eagle feather to help move the smoke as part of this practice. It is important to set the intention that the smoke is releasing negativity from the space. In attempting to release the energy, you can also open doors, windows and turn on ceilings fans to aid in the process.
Finally, it is key that you pay attention to the smoke itself. If the smoke is dark, spend extra time in that area until the smoke clears as an indicator something negative has been released. If you are wanting to ensure a greater impact, smudging on a full moon can be very powerful when clearing a space. It is always a good time to smudge after an illness, argument, or moving into a new residence.