Smudging is a North American Native tradition, which can be used to cleanse away negative influences from you, another person, or an object or area. Smudging is a sacred ceremony dating back hundreds of years and was often used in preparation for vision quests, sweat lodge rituals, other rituals and ceremonies.
Smudging can be used to shield you as well as providing a grounding influence. Its prime purpose though is to clear away negativity and to protect.
It is possible to buy ready made smudging bundles of herbs and these are great to use and are very traditional in their approach. White sage is very traditional but other herbs more suitable to your purpose can be used if necessary. But if you burn the herbs in a shell you can actually draw on all the elements in your quest.
The shell represents the element of water. You should line the shell with sand, which represents the element of earth. The burning of the herbs obviously represents fire, and the smoke that arises represents the element of air.
Combining all the four physical elements invokes the fifth element of spirit.
Once you have everything ready and have lit the herbs you are ready to begin. The smoke needs to be wafted over you (if smudging yourself), the person being smudges (if smudging another), or over the object or around the room (whichever is applicable). Traditionally the smoke should be fanned with a feather. If you do not have a feather then use a hand. Don’t use your breath to blow the smoke as this can impart negativity.
As you waft the smoke around think positive thoughts of love and peace, whilst concentrating on your intention. If you are smudging inside then you should have a window partly open so that any negativity present will depart.
One of the most common spiritual practices is smudging or the making of ritualized smoke. Smudging is a part of almost all traditional Northern Plains Indian Spiritual activities. The smoke of sage, tobacco, sweet-grass, and other plants is often used for purification. In some instances, the smoke from the burning plants, or mixture of plants, is pulled across the body in a cleansing action. The smoke is a purifying agent, a means of dispelling the everyday energy fields and substituting a pleasant odor for the spirits to work through.
Smudging makes it possible to see and communicate directly with the Spirits/Angels. Smudging opens up the energetic portal which allows humans to penetrate the barrier that separates us from the Spiritual realm. Thus, smudging is frequently the first ritual in a ceremony. Smudging may also be repeated during times of hardship or a need to contact your Guides
It is not just people who are smudged. Houses, cars, guns, Crystals, computers, and other items often smudged to bring them into harmony. This is because it is believed that every object-even those sometimes considered inanimate-have a spirit by the Indians.
Even though there are many ways and techniques that people use to smudge a room or person, these are the ways I use to properly clear a home/office. (I prefer to use White sage/Desert sage for this since it has a milder or sweet smell, but you can use other types sage if you don’t have this one)
Place the tip of the wand with the end pointing up from the ground or floor and light the open end with a lighter, or candle (don’t use a match since the smoke will interfere with the smudge). Gently fan the tip of the sage with your free hand until it begins to smoke (blowing is discouraged since it can contaminate the smoke and is sometimes thought of as being disrespectful).
Continue this process until the wand smokes rather vigorously, but don’t let a flame stay longer that enough time to allow the sage to smolder. Wave the smudge to put out any flames since you just want the smoke to work with. Play some nice peaceful music in the background if you have access to something musical that’s soothing until you complete the smudge process. (You may need to re-light the smudge if it goes out so carry a lighter with you)
Use a plate or large ashtray during the ceremony to catch any hot cinders and to avoid damaging the carpets, furniture and floors. A small bowl or plate serves this purpose and can then be used as a storage place for any half used sage wand. (Some people use a large shell to hold the sage in but it can be considered symbolically as a neutralizer since shells come from water and fire doesn’t mix well with water. It’s all up to you but I wouldn’t use one because everything we’re doing here is symbolic).
First, you need to clear yourself by waving/fanning the sage smudge over your body from the floor to over your head, front to back, and all around you in a complete circle going clockwise in one complete rotation, then another circle counter-clockwise from the floor to over you head like a corkscrew. Ask that you be cleansed and cleared of any attachments or energetic thought forms while you undertake the smudging process. (You can also do this from time-to-time just to clear your own energy fields)
Start at the farthest room of the house (or basement) and pass the smoking wand over the shape of the entry doorway, going to the farthest corner of the room say a prayer for the room to be cleansed. “The Lord’s Prayer” or any prayer where you ask that the house and rooms be cleansed of all negative energies, thought forms, ideas, or attachments, and never to return can be used. Walking to each corner of the room, wave the smudge wand up and down until the smoke fills the area. Also over and around each window, closets, or opening in the room like vents to Spiritually seal them. I would say the prayer in each room just to bless it with your energy, you can’t ask for help or blessings enough in this situation. (The reason to start from the farthest room is to ward off any energy going to another part of the house around you)
When you reach the doorway ask that the room be sealed and protected from this point on while you smudge the outline of the doorway as you pass through it to keep anymore energy from passing by while you conduct the clearing. Then start to move directly into the next room following either the floor layout long the walls. Remember to pass the wand over the edges of each window and door as you continue through each room of the house or work space.
In order for the ceremony to be most effective, the Sage Wand should cover every room, closet, door, vent, and window. The house will become a bit smoky and it is acceptable to open the doors and windows to let the smoke out. If you have a basement you can start there and work toward the steps that lead up to the main level first.
The idea is to walk from the farthest room to the entrance clearing each room so that you’re pushing all the negative energy out toward the front entrance. Since you want all of the negative energy to leave your home look at it like it was a bug or fly that you’re trying to head out the front door.
Once you’ve sealed each room and headed to the front door. Say another prayer asking that the entrance of your home be safeguarded and sealed from this moment on sending any negative energy, or thought-forms back to its source and never to return.
This ceremony should be performed whenever you feel down, or you are surrounded by negative or stagnant energy that sometimes follows after group gatherings or events. These negative energy fields may manifest as scattered emotional patterns, projects or goals which become delayed; Spiritual Influences, continued restless sleep behaviors, arguments or disagreements, illnesses, headaches, or visits from undesired guests, after going to clubs and while drinking, or doing drugs. Most of the time these energies are minor but we can absorb them without knowing it and become agitated or uneasy without knowing why. Crying for no apparent reason is a good example!
You should allow the smoke to clear out naturally so don’t be tempted to force it out. During a correct smudging, you will notice a calming effect throughout the area being cleansed within 30 minutes. In addition, if you are having disturbing dreams, it is recommended that you smudge frequently in the room where the dreams occur, especially under the bed, hampers, and closets.
Repeat this process at a daily, monthly, or semi-annual intervals for best results especially when we enter a new Solstice, or change of seasons.