Smudging – Shamanic Spring Cleaning

Last week I had the opportunity to help a friend with her spring cleaning. No, not the dust rag and mop kind (and I DON’T do windows), but giving her house a good smudge after her roommates moved out.

Spring is a great time for smudging your home to remove any negative energy that has accumulated over the winter. It’s the time when the air is fresh from the spring rains and we can pop the windows open and feel the warmth of Father Sun flow in. Yes, I know, for some of us the spring cleaning has to wait another month or so. I understand. Spring cleaning here has to wait until we can remove the insulating film from the window (although I did move a few spiders that were sharing our space) .This gives you time to gather your supplies and be ready for your cleaning frenzie.

Negative energies get left over just like the germs from the “winter crud”. They’re like dust bunnies. Left to their own devices they attract each other and huddle together into one giant fuzz ball (or negative energy ball) and emerge from under the bed or behind the door when least expected. The air in the house feels thick with fuzz and it can sometimes even feel hard to breathe. With the “heavy” air comes headaches and a general feeling of crankiness that we often attribute to “cabin fever” from being inside all winter.  When we smudge and banish the bunnies,  the air is lighter and it almost feels like a weight has been lifted off your chest. You can breathe better and everyone just seems to feel happier!

Herbs in smudge bowlSo, after you’ve done all the decluttering and a good general house cleaning on the physical plane, gather up your favorite smudge stick or incense and smudge bowl and do your “shamanic spring cleaning”.

I think the easiest way to smudge is to use a smudge stick. They can be found in most metaphysical stores and in some health food stores and of course, a nice variety at Shaman’s Marketplace. 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. Even a tin pie pan can work. The ash 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.

For cleaning and purifying we like White Sage or Cedar best. But, each herb has a different smell and energy, so find the one that works best for you. Not sure which herbs to use? Check out of Smudging Herbs Quick Reference Guide at Shaman’s Marketplace.

Begin by opening up your windows and disconnecting your smoke alarms. Smudge yourself first with the smoke from your smudge stick. Ground and center yourself.  Now, starting at your front door light your smudge stick or incense and slowly work your way around your house counter clockwise wafting the smoke up and down the walls and in the corners. While doing this you may want to say something like “Let this space be cleared of any and all negative energies. Let only peace, love and prosperity reside within these walls.”

Make sure you do all levels of your house (including the basement and attached garage) moving in that counter clockwise motion. Get right into the corners and don’t forget to get inside the closets. Also, don’t forget  under the kitchen and bathroom sink and behind the toilets, as negative energy tends to collect around drains.

Once you have completed the process with the cleansing herbs such as sage or cedar, it’s time to attract positive energy.  Change to a different smudge stick, such as sweetgrass or lavender to draw in these energies.  Now, reverse directions with your smudging, moving clockwise. Envision sunshine, the smell of fresh spring air,  laughter,  relaxation and prosperity flowing into your space.

When you’ve completed smudging, 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, in my opinion, 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 you must, place it on the balcony or on the patio until it’s out.  If for some reason you must put out the smudge stick, thank the herbs and simply break it off just the ash or tamp it on the earth to put out the smoldering.

Now you’re good to go and the your house or office are Spring Clean.

Happy Cleaning!

Until next time.

Mitakuye Oyasin (A Lakota prayer reminding us we are all related),


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