With today's chaotic modern world, the idea of cleansing our spaces and ourselves of negative energy sounds very appealing. Bring on the smoke-cleaning ritual!
Most people have heard of the practice of smudging. Smudging is a Native American ritual that links smoke with spirituality in remarkable ways.
This is a common ceremonial ritual among indigenous people, held closely within these cultures to purify, spiritually cleanse, rid physical spaces of negative energy, and bless.
That doesn't mean that if you're a non-Native person who is interesting in tapping into sage's healing powers that the idea has completely gone up in smoke. It just means that you shouldn't go striking up a match just yet.
Listen & learn from the Indigenous people and what this ceremony means to them is the first step in using sage for all people.
As I do not below to an Indigenous group, I prefer to use the term 'smoke cleansing' as not to insinuate that I do the same practice and it is a simply a cleansing practice.
I also choose to create and use my bundles using Mugwort (or black sage) instead of the traditional white sage. Mugwort is grown in more European areas and as this is my lineage, I want to use as it feels good to me.
There are many ways to cleanse, and you can check out my blog about how to cleanse your crystals here – but today, we are going to focus on cleansing with smoke.
To get started, you will need:
- Sage (or you can even do any of the below instructions with Palo Santo)
- A source of fire (match or candle – we like to keep away from lighters due to the chemical form, let stick to all natural)
- Optional: A fanning tool (not necessary but could be helpful if you need to cover a large area such as a home or office)
How to Smoke Cleanse
- Before we get started
Before I get started, I like to gather all my items. For instance, get all the items listed above together, place all my crystals in one area, tarot cards or specific items that I want to cleanse. Then I will go around my home and turn off as much electronics as I can, TV’s, lights, consoles & even the internet! As I walk around my home, I open up as many doors and windows as possible and even turn on fans on the lowest setting (this will help the smoke circulate around the room to cleanse and also help with the smoke to leave the room).
Some also suggest covering mirrors, as it is believed this is how spirits travel, so you may feel compelled to do that.
- Mediate & centre
I like to do a quick mediation before I start, just simply taking 5-10 deep, long breaths, centre my energy and bring into focus my intention for the cleansing ritual.
- Light it up!
Once you're ready, hold the sage at a 45-degree angle, light it using your match or candle, and let it burn for about 20 seconds. After that, gently blow out the flame so you see orange embers on one end. The smoke should now billow up.
- Start with yourself
Start by waving the wand around your mind, picturing all negative energy leaving your body, focusing on each chakra level being cleansed.
- Slowly walk around your space.
Slowly walk around your space and allow the smoke to waft around. Guide the smoke—and the negative energy—toward the open windows or a door, so it can escape.
As you smoke the area, keep in mind positive thoughts, picture a white light as you move around the room with your cleansing wand, and even feel free to say a mantra out loud.
Moving anything clockwise brings energy IN, so as we cleanse, we move counter clockwise to move unwanted energy OUT. Moreover, we pay special attention to corners, basements and closets because heavy energy often gets really stuck in these kinds of spaces- so waft a little extra if you can.
- Be safe!
Be sure to stay present! If you see little embers fall on the ground, tap them out immediately. Never let the burning sage stay unattended for any reason. Also, take care not to inhale too much of the smoke.
- Extinguish your sage.
Once you're ready to extinguish a sage smudge stick, press the burning tip firmly into your fireproof vessel, dirt, or sand until the smoke no longer rises. Do not use water, this will damage your sage/palo santo.
How often should you smoke cleanse?
When it comes to how often you should cleanse yourself or your space, there are no hard and fast rules. When it comes to detecting negative energy, we are our own best guides—so listen to your intuition. If you're feeling weighed down by stress or worry, it's usually a sign that you need to cleanse.