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How to Smudge to Clear the Air

Submitted by on Thursday, 4 November 2010One Comment

shamanic_smudging1The ritual of smudging to clear out old energy and cleanse and purify your space is one that has been used by indigenous peoples for millennia.

The herbs used to make smudge sticks are usually white sage, sweetgrass, or cedar, although any dried herb is fine, even lavender. White sage, or sage, are the most common. Choose an herb that doesn’t have a woody stem, or if there is such a stem, make the bundle of leaves that you pull off.

A reason to choose white sage is because the leaf clusters are very long, and the leaves will smolder for quite a long time. Sweetgrass has a lovely, light sweet odor, but it burns very quickly. Many spiritual healers believe that sweet grass brings a high level of spirituality and burns away negativity. Cedar is very strong, and is considered powerful for removing negativity, but you need to remove the woody stems as much as possible.

If you make your own smudge sticks, honor the tradition of honoring the plants with your appreciation for using their leaves. Smudge “sticks” are available in New Age stores and some health food stores; look for sticks that indicate that the herbs have been gathered with principle.

Many people burn smudge in a big shell, using it as an ashtray. An ashtray will also work. You want to burn the smudge in a container that will contain the flames, so that you don’t start a fire. I open the smudge bundle and pull out leaves and light them, as opposed to lighting the whole smudge stick on fire.

Light the dried leaves, and once there is a good flame, blow it out so that the leaves smoke. The burning leaves will smolder, and the smoke will waft into the home. Walk around with the ashtray (smoking herbs included), and make sure the smoke reaches into all the areas of a room you want.

When to smudge, and why?
Smudging is great to use to clear out unwanted energy no matter what that energy is. I think that this is because the sage permeates the air, shifting and changing it. Smudge after a fight, when you’ve cleaned out a closet, after working all day, if someone has been sick, or any other thing that you sense has been stressful in some way and you would benefit if it were removed.

By Annie B. Bond, the best-selling and award-winning author of five healthy/green living books, including Better Basics for the Home (Three Rivers Press, 1999), Home Enlightenment, Clean & Green (1990), and most recently True Food (National Geographic, 2010 and winner of Gourmand Awards Best Health and Nutrition Cookbook in the World). She has authored literally thousands of articles and was named “the foremost expert on green living” by Body & Soul magazine (2009).

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