Sage smudging is a way to energetically cleanse and purify a space. As the smoke fills the area, the negative ions attach to the smoke and as the smoke leaves the room it takes the negativity away with it. When smudging you think warm positive thoughts and these thoughts are also lifted to the universe as wishes and intentions.
There is varying beliefs of who actually was the first culture to use smudging, as it was used in Traditional Chinese Medicine through throwing herbs onto a fire to remove illness from the space, it was used by Buddhist Monks in meditation and prayer rituals for connecting with the universal energies. Native American Indians also used it for rituals and in smoke ceremonies to contact the ancestors.
It is believed that many negative spirits like to stay in corners where they can attach themselves to two or more points, whereas on a middle of a wall, it is easier to get rid of them, so they tend to stay away from there. Doorways are especially significant as it is not only representing a doorway between realms, but it is also a safety boundary as most people believe that the doorways are the safest parts to a house.
How to get ready to smudge?
Mentally and emotionally, make sure that you are in a good frame of mind, any kind of negative thoughts or feelings will encourage the negativity to stay. Take a couple of minutes to centre and ground yourself, meditate for 5 minutes if needed.
Walk through each room slowly and feel for energies, taking particular note of the corners of the rooms. Negative energies love corners, either the actual corner of the room or the top and bottom cornices where the wall meets the roof or floor. This allows you to see what rooms you need to take particular interest in.
Intentions and wishes are what makes this so powerful. Make sure that you think positive thoughts and even make a chant if you feel so inclined. “Smudge away the negative, bring in the positive” or something like that. Have the thought in your head that you want a happy, healthy and prosperous house/space.
Make sure that any pets are outside, and if there are people home, make sure that they are not asthmatic or have a respiratory problem. It does have a very woody smell and the smoke can feel like it choking to some that have negative feelings or emotions. Just ask them to sit outside while you are doing this.
What do I need to smudge?
Smudge stick, candle, matches/lighter, bowl of sand, and optional abalone shell and feather/s. As you are smouldering the sage, it may go out while smudging. This is what the matches/lighter and candle are for. Using the matches/lighter to light the candle, you will have the candle nearby to relight the smudge stick if its required. The bowl of sand is to either use to hold the smudge stick while you are smudging, or to put out the smudge stick once you have finished. Leave it sitting in the bowl of sand until cold to touch, as to not start a fire anywhere.
Some people use smudge bowls or abalone shells to hold the smudge stick or to hold under the stick to catch the embers as they float down. This is entirely what makes you comfortable. You can wave your hand holding the smudge stick and the bowl underneath it, or you can rest the smudge stick in the bowl and wave the smoke into corners (this is where you can use the feather instead of your hand). There is no right or wrong way in how you hold the smudge stick, just what feels good for you.
How Do I Smudge?
Take the matches/lighter and light the candle. Hold the smudge stick to the candle to light the stick. It will only smoulder with red embers, just light starting an outdoor fire, you may need to blow on it to get it going. As you blow on it, think of good intentions for the smudge.
Once it is lit, you will need to cleanse yourself before you can do the space you are wanting to smudge. Starting at your feet, move the smudge stick around yourself, slowing working up towards your head. Once you get to the top of your head, continue to smudge for half a minute above your head to make sure that all the negativity that you may hold is being release to the universe. This will stop you from bringing any negativity into the space to be smudged.
Once you have smudged yourself, it’s now time for the room/house. Go to the front door and stand on the outside. Starting at the bottom left side smudge the doorway from the floor, up the side, across the top of the doorway, back down the right side to the bottom and then across the floor to the starting point. As you are smudging, think of the positive thoughts and emotions you would like reflected in your space.
Starting from the doorway, turn to the very left wall beside the door and follow the same pattern as you did for the doorway. Starting at the very left bottom corner, move the smudge stick up the left corner, across the top cornice, back down the right corner and along the floor back to the starting point. If you have wardrobes, cupboards, desks or drawers in the room, open them a bit so that the smoke can get into these areas. You can then wave the smudge stick along the middle of the wall.
You then move to the next wall to the left and repeat this and then again on the fourth wall until you get back to the doorway. Do the doorway a second time as you are leaving the room. Now move onto the room to the left of the one you have just done and continue the above again. Repeat this until to have done all the room on the left and have returned to the front door that you started at. If there are rooms in the middle of the house that have not been done, then do these rooms in order of going left to right.
If you have a two-story house, do the bottom storey first, then the middle and top floors. If you have an under-house garage that is often used for entertainment or storage, make sure that you do this room as well. This can also be used for the Man/Woman Cave or even kids cubby houses if you notice any weird behaviour from the children after playing in it.
If you have a second person with you, have them now go into the room and light an incense, put on an essential oil burner or diffuser, or light a aromatherapy candle. As you have removed all the negativity out of the room you now need to fill it with positivity. Think of it as a box, you have taken out all the bad and now its empty. If you don’t fill it with the good, it leaves room for the bad to come back. If you are on your own, do this once you have smudged the whole space/house.
Once you have finished put out the smudge stick in the sand bowl and wait until its cold to touch to store for the next time you need to smudge. Any fallen embers can be put in the garden to help the plants. If you only have a small amount of smudge stick left, it can be undone and stored as loose-leaf sage and can be used on a charcoal block instead as a stick.
Loose sage on a charcoal block, even sage incense sticks do the same thing as a sage smudge stick, just with the incense sticks you will need to use 3-4 sticks at the same time to get the same kind of effect as the smudge stick.