Smudging Ceremonies – Part 1

Throughout our blog, we will explain some of the tools we commonly use as we live in connection with “All Our Relations”, walking a Shamanic path.

One of the very common ceremonies we (and many others in the metaphysical practices) use is smudging.

Smudging is a simple ceremony used to cleanse a person, place or an object. The smudging ceremony involves the burning of sacred plants and herbal resins, then, either fanning the smoke around a person or place or passing an object through the smoke. The smoke from the sacred plants, then cleanses the person, place or object of unwanted energies, spirits or influences. Pretty simple, huh?

Smudging is like taking a shower for your energy system. Just like in the physical, we get dirty in our energy bodies too. Smudging cleans out all the junk we pick up as we move through our day. Just like the air, the energy in the world is polluted and simply collects on us and in our space. Not good or bad. It just IS. But, I shower routinely, on the physical and energetic levels!

We also use a smudging ceremony before we begin doing any sacred work, like a ritual bath. Also, before we start any classes or circle work, we smudge everyone just to be sure we are all in a good space to start our work. We also smudge the room before (and sometimes after) doing classes or healing ceremonies to remove any unwanted energies that are hanging around.

The easiest way to smudge is to use a smudge stick. These can be found in most metaphysical stores and in some health food stores. A smudge stick is a wand made of the leaves of a plant(s) tied together and dried. You simply light the end of the wand and extinguish the flame by waving it around once it has a smoldering end. It is best to have some kind of pottery bowl or an abalone shell under the smudge stick to keep from dropping ash. (It can leave ugly burns in the carpet, believe me!) Loose herbs can also be placed on self-igniting or incense charcoal or simply lit together in the bowl to produce smoke. Either way is effective. Find the one that works best for you.

So, what about when you can’t have smoke or if someone is sensitive to smoke? It works the same. You simply don’t light the smudge stick. You are working with the plant’s ENERGY. Wafting the energy around someone or an area will have the same effect. If you want something more physical though, check out my Sacred Sage Spray. It is an aromatherapy spray made of the sacred herbs of cedar, sage, and lavender with vibrational essences of several of the sacred herbs and gems.

If you are cleansing person have them stand facing you and pass the wand back and forth in their energy field starting at their feet and moving upwards. You can also use a feather to direct the smoke. They can also use their hands to move the smoke close to them and into their energy field. When you reach their head, have them turn, clockwise and pass the smudge down their back. Sometimes it’s a good idea to pay close attention to the heart area. Remember, when you smudge, you are asking the spirit of sacred plants for assistance and you must honor their healing power.

To cleanse a room or outside area, simply carry the smudge stick or bowl, sunwise (clockwise) around the area, making sure to smudge in the corners and behind doors.

When you have completed the smudging ceremony, thank the sacred herb spirits and simply leave your smudge stick or herbs in the bowl and let them go out naturally. These sacred plant spirits work as long as they need to clean the space. Allow them to work until the smudge goes out. Putting out the smudge is like interrupting someone’s conversation. It’s not an open flame so it won’t catch fire, but don’t leave it next to the newspaper or curtains, as there are ashes. If for some reason you must put out the smudge stick, thank the herbs and simply break it off just above the smoldering tip and allow the end to burn out or simply tamp it out.

Well, enough for today. Off to the store with you to pick up your smudge sticks. Next time we will discuss some of the sacred plants and their specific uses.

Mitakuye Oyasin (A Lakota prayer as a reminder that we are all related),


See Smudging Ceremonies – Part II