Posted by Tracy Kosolofski on


Smudging is purification through smoke for the purpose of purifying and cleansing.

One of the most common ways in which the ritual of smudging is performed is with the use of dried herbs.  As these dried herbs are set to fire and their properties change, smoke is released. This smudging smoke is believed to dissipate, release and move negatively charged energies out of or away from a person, object or space.  In essence, the spirit and sacred intention of these dried plants are called upon for purification, cleansing, harmonizing, balancing and bringing good back in!

Most common plants used in smudging are likely sage, cedar and sweetgrass. Traditionally, it was locally grown plants that would be used due to not having access to other plant varieties.  However, we now have many varieties of plants and mixes from all over the World available to us through retailers such as The Whispering Tree!


Some useful Supplies you may choose to use:

~Bowl, plate, cup or shell (this object must be heat and fire resistant)
~Matches or lighter
~Smudge stick (dried herbs made into a baton or stick) or loose herbs
~Feather (if available)
~Charcoal discs (if desired)

If you are using a Smudge Stick it is recommended to have a bowl, plate, cup or shell underneath it to catch the escaped burning embers.  If you are using loose herbs, you may choose to place a small charcoal disc at the bottom of your bowl, plate, cup or shell to aid the loose herbs in burning in a more consistent manner.

To begin your Smudging Ceremony light your smudge with a lighter or matches and allow it to flame for a few moments so it can create some embers within itself.  After just a few moments, gently blow out the flames and immediately your smudge stick will begin to smoke and smolder. Don’t feel bad if your herbs stop releasing smoke and you have to light them again.  Just keep your matches or lighter close.  Also feel free to be creative with your source of fire, feel free to use candles or bonfires.  Allow this process to be your own individual expression.

After your smudge is sufficiently releasing smoke, offer your appreciation to the elementals (elves, fairies, gnomes, etc), ancestors, plant spirits and any guides and guardians you usually work with.  Now greet each direction with a gift of the sacred herbs you’re using (tobacco or cornmeal may be substituted if you like) by sprinkling a bit in each direction.  Some start in the north, moving clockwise to east, then south, then west, then back to north.  Others start in the east and clockwise through the 4 directions.  Again, the invitation here is to follow your own intuition by starting in the direction you feel you should start. Once you have greeted each direction ask the Spirit of All (God, Universe, Creator, or whatever name you use to connect to your divinity) to join you in your smudging ceremony. Now use your feather or your hand to direct the smoke where you want (this motion also aids the burning embers of the herbs to keep smoldering). 

If I am clearing a space I usually start in the lowest level of the space and move my way up through the space by smudging each room needed or requested in a clockwise direction.  When I get to the top most level and am in the final room of the space I am clearing I open a window slightly and allow myself to end at that window.  I hold the intention that all the non-serving energies of the space I have just smudged are released into the air and that from here The Spirit of All takes these negative non-serving energies and transmutes them into the healthy loving air within our atmosphere.

The act of smudging is a physical and tangible representation of the intention you hold within your mind and heart.  Be mindful of what you are intending or desiring before you begin your smudging ceremony.  You may even choose to write a poem or prayer before beginning so you can read and re-read it during your ritual, thus keeping yourself focused.  

Here is a prayer I often use . . .

With clear and loving intentions        
I clear this space of that which needs no mention

I am grateful each day for strength and peace and love
May the act of clearing this space be blessed from above.

                             ~ so mote it be

Below is a list of plants which can be used as smudge along with a brief description of their association.  This list is simply giving reference to some of the more commonly used and known smudging herbs.  Do not feel you must use only or any of the herbs listed below.  For those of you who fell adventurous, we invite you to explore the plants growing local to you and create a personal, unique smudge for yourself!

[some varieties include . . .White Sage, Dessert Sage & the Sage we cook with (Salvia officinalis)]
~cleanses, purifies, rids of negativity, calms & is emotionally, mentally and spiritually healing

~invites in positive energy, aids in deciphering messages from dreams & enhances psychic abilities

~cleanses & purifies, balances emotions, offers psychic protection & is said to keep away bad dreams

~purifies, cleanses, offers protection for healing & aids in exorcism,

~purifies, enhances and protects during psychic and prophetic channeling, cleanses & aids in emotional, mental and spiritual healing

[usually used as a loose smudge as it is not usually made into a stick]
~purifies, aids in consecration and exorcism & brings in love 

[usually used as a loose smudge as it is not usually made into a stick]
~protects, purifies & aids in consecration, exorcism, and spiritual healing

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