A Beginner’s Guide to Smudging

Herbs have been used since the dawn of time, and before modern medicine, they were prized and treasured. For example, the three wise men brought frankincense and myrrh to baby Jesus because it was one of the most valuable gifts they could give.

The practice of smudging herbs cleanses the energy in spaces and people. Dating back thousands of years, smudging is used in ancient spiritual rituals performed by the Incas, Buddhists, Native Americans, and by indigenous peoples around the world.

Today, the main use for smudging is to remove negative energy. This is true whether that negative energy is in the environment around you or within your body, mind, or spirit. You may have heard of someone smudging their new home, before moving in. Sage and Palo Santo are common herbs used in these practices, but have many healing applications.

For Your Space
Ever hear the idiom, you can cut the tension in here with a knife? When we are in a bad mood or are having a negative experience of any nature, it leaves an imprint of negativity in the space. We can literally feel negative energy in the air and it drains our energy, brings us down, and traps us in a cycle of negative manifestations.

For that reason, smudging is especially useful in spaces where there has been an argument or where a lot of people pass through. Smudging can clear the energy and bring it back into balance.

For Yourself
Smudging is also beneficial for clearing yourself of negative energy, creating emotional balance, and relieving stress. The ritual brings your energetic body back into balance, helping to improve your mental state with a fresh perspective and an uplifted feeling. You can smude yourself for the following reasons:

  • After you've been around negative people or someone who is going through a difficult time
  • To raise your vibration
  • When you want transformation in your life
  • After you’ve experienced a trauma
  • For a general sense of well-being

How to Smudge
Light your Palo Santo Smudging Stick with a lighter or candle at a 45-degree angle. Keep the flame on the stick for about 30 seconds or so and then wave it around gently to put out the flame. You will see a beautiful billow of white smoke. It’s totally normal for the smoke to be black while the flame is lit, and then it will change to white.

  • For home: Move around your space to smudge. Be as thorough as you can, letting the smoke linger and fill all the crevices, surfaces, or spaces. 
  • For You: Hold the smudge stick in front of your heart. Pay special attention to areas of the body that feel heavy or in pain, and move the stick in whatever way feels natural.

Many close their smudging ritual by showing gratitude to the herb for its ability to help you cleanse.