Smudging for Beginners

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Smudging for Beginners

Recently, the ancient ritual of smudging has caught the attention of audiences around the world. Thanks to its well-known benefits for health and wellness, more and more people are wanting to experience this sacred practice for themselves. While smudging has been practiced since ancient times, it continues to provide modern society with its undeniable benefits that always seem to feel soothing and peaceful. 

What is Smudging?

Smudging is a ritual traditionally used to expel negativity and invite in positive energy and has always been an integral part of Native American culture and ceremonies. Wafting its smoke throughout a space is known to cleanse and spread healing energy. It is also believed to purify your body, mind, and soul.

If you’ve ever felt stuckness in your environment, burdened by unfavorable situations, or simply felt the presence of negative energy, in or around you, smudging your area is an incredibly effective way to dispel negative energy and replace it with uplifting energy.

Modern day life is oftentimes filled with tedious challenges, negative experiences, or adverse circumstances which can lead to a build up of negative energy that results in stress, fatigue, demotivation, and apathy. Breathing in the healing and calming properties during a smudging session, using healing and sacred herbs, can reverse the impacts of stagnant energy and negativity.

Different Smudging Varieties

Smudging begins by selecting the herbs to use in your practice.  Smudge sticks can be composed of many different sacred herbs, roots, bark, and powder that each produce a unique scent, smoke, and healing properties.  Smudging is popularly known as burning sage, but smudging is not limited only to sage, many other plants, types of wood, and herbs give similar benefits but offer a variety of different uses and purposes.

Before delving into the practice of smudging, learn what herbs to use and tailor them to your own needs.

  • White Sage

White Sage is the most popular and well-known plant used for smudging. However, there are many different varieties of sage that all revolve around healing and cleansing. White sage, Lakota sage, Grey sage, and Dakota sage can often be mistaken for each other and each is harvested in a different country or geographic region. 

  • Lavender

Lavender, particularly when used in conjunction with White Sage, creates a heavenly scent known for its antimicrobial properties which keep bacteria away. It is a far more sustainable option than the more rare herbs and is often considered a healthy alternative. 

  • Mugwort

Mugwort is well known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is also believed to enhance protection and visions for divination purposes and is used as an incense to open a connection to other realms.

  • Cedar

Cedar, like other herbs, expels negative energy by inviting spiritual protection, healing, and purification. Lighting cedar heightens positivity, uplifts the mood, and helps to manifest positive energy. Settling in a new home or office calls for cedar smudging.

Starting your Smudging Journey

The process of smudging is not complicated to learn. The following are steps to have a successful smudging experience:

  • Set Your Intentions

The key to successful smudging is setting your intentions. Select a special prayer, declaration or intention for the ceremony.  These can be personal or selected from many prayer books available online. Knowing what you desire from the ritual strengthens the energy you invite to come in, and supports the purpose of smudging.

How do you say your intentions? You can first think of what you desire in a concise and straightforward sentence. Repeat the words in your head like a mantra. Saying it aloud can be helpful, too. You can say, “I ask for this ritual to cleanse my spirit, purify my home and attract positive energy.” The intention can be verbalized out loud or simply held in your thoughts. 

Take some time to meditate on your intentions, or find one that resonates with you before starting. Once you are ready, preparing your home or space is the next step.

  • Preparing Your Space

Start off by opening a door or windows to balance the flow of energy within your house. It is a common thought that open doors and windows allow negative energy to exit and leave the space making room to invite in good energy. Typically, the smoke from smudge dissipates well with better airflow.

  • Light Up Your Smudge Bundle

Light a candle and hold one end of the smudge stick in the open flame.

Helpful Tip: Spreading the stems and leaves in the bundle before lighting the smudge stick creates good airflow, a consistent burn, and prevents the smudge stick from going out.

Use an Abalone shell or fireproof container to hold the burning herbs. Once the smudge stick is lit, you can blow gently to extinguish the flame, then blow on the embers until the fragrant white smoke comes out of the stick.

  • Spread the Sacred Smoke

Begin to walk through the various areas of your space, spreading the smoke to maximize the healing and cleansing properties of the smudge. You can fan the smoke with your hand or a feather to waft the smoke evenly through your space. Take your time in doing this and make sure you state your intentions as you walk around the house. Manifest the energy you want to attract into the space.

  • Extinguish the Smudge Stick

After you feel satisfied and complete with your smudging, put out any embers in the sand in a fireproof container and make sure that everything is properly extinguished.

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