Common throughout Native American and Neo-Pagan traditions, "smudging" is the ceremonial burning of various herbs to bless, clear, or charge a space or object. Herbs are bundled together with hemp cord or string to form easy-to-burn "smudge sticks." As the smudge stick smolders and smokes, symbolically, all negative energy that surrounds its smoke will attach to and dissolve with it. Some common herbs used in smudge sticks are sage – particularly white sage – lavender, sweet grass, Palo Santo and cedar.
Great times to smudge include after an illness, following a move, after a break up, to bless a room that may be "haunted," to create a protective shield between your home and a dangerous or unpleasant outside neighborhood, after purchasing antique furniture or secondhand clothing, or to just generally feel more connected to the Great Spirit.
For increased or balanced energy or for lifting your mood, follow this procedure:
Stand tall with your legs wide and your arms out to your sides. Have a friend light and blow out your smudge stick until it's smoldering like charcoal. Using a large feather or several feathers held together to form a fan, waft the smoke from the smudge stick in circles around your body. Don't forget to circle your head and your feet with the smoke. Symbolically "wash" your hands in it. Either start from the head and work your way down to the ground, "stomping" out the energy with your feet, or start from the feet and work up, letting the smoke dissolve into the air above you. Say:
"Goddess, cleanse my aura of all negative energy. Let my actions and even my thoughts be for the benefit of all beings."
Purify a room.
Shift stagnant energy and "clear the air" after an argument by using this ritual:
Starting with the Northern corner of the room, allow the smoke from your smudge stick to billow in it. Say:
"North, I cleanse you. East, I cleanse you. South, I cleanse you. West, I cleanse you. I now purify these four walls so that only peace, light, and goodness here resides. This room is now cleansed."
Purify an object.
Cleanse negative energy or to restore your spiritual connection to a certain magical tool, deck of oracle or tarot cards, or piece of clothing or jewelry. Start here:
Hold the object over your smoldering smudge stick. Move the object slowly back and forth in the smoke trail, letting it hit the object, split into two trails, and then dissipate.
Say: "Goddess, I ask that you purify this object, cleansing it of all residual negativity. Let this tool become a conduit, allowing Spirit to flow through it efficiently and abundantly, giving me clear and relevant insight into my questions and pursuits."
Smudging can add new depths to meditation, yoga, and creating sacred space. Mindfully incorporate it into your spiritual practice and daily life to feel more connected to Source.