Smudging is a tradition that dates back 1000’s of years. Originally herbs and resins were placed in sacred bowls and burnt over smoldering coals. By calling upon the spirits of the sacred plants this was believed to drive away negative energy and to restore balance.
Smudge sticks can be used for cleansing of the aura, for example before meditation or prayer, or they are quite often used by body workers and therapists before treatments. Smudging has long been used to connect to the spiritual realm or enhance intuition.Burning sage or smudge can lift one’s mood it could also be a great ally against stress.
Who can Smudge
Not everyone experiences herbal smoke as a gentle, healing breeze. Some people collapse into coughing and watery eyes whenever the stuff is around.
Individuals with allergy concerns should not smudge. Fortunately, there are alternatives. Sage, Sweetgrass, and Palo Santo are widely available as scented candles, oils and sprays, for those times when smoke is not practical or welcome.
How to Smudge
An abalone shell is the accustomed Native American vessel to use for holding the sage. However, any small, flat, heat-proof container will do. Place a layer of sand or salt in the container to catch any embers and help protect the natural iridescence.
A wooden stand may be used to hold the shell or smudge pot steady. Stands elevate the smudging vessel and prevent heat from transferring to your altar or tabletop surfaces.
Incense charcoal is used for burning loose or herbal incense. While not always necessary, it can be useful to have it on hand in case your smudging herbs don’t want to stay lit.
Leave the stick as is, tied with the string in the bundle. Light the stick and let it flame for a minute or so. Extinguish the flame so the sage is smoldering and smoking.
Take the stick container and using circular clockwise movements, encircle yourself with the smoke. The Native American custom is to use a very large feather from a poultry bird, such as a turkey. Using the feather, fan the smoke all around the room going around windows and doorways. Open all internal and external doors and windows. (For a more intensive cleanse, you may wish to open all cupboards and draws.)
Start at the most northerly room and working again, clockwise, through your home, let the smoke from the herb permeate throughout. Try and finish off the smudging process by ending up at an open door. You should have come full circle around your home.
A note of caution. Whenever you smudge you should set off any of your smoke alarms, during your smudging and be SURE to re-engage it upon completion of your smudging.
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. Place the smoldering end in the sand or salt in the shell. Wait until you are certain it has completely extinguished then bury the sand and ash returning them to earth. Wipe off your shell and store in a safe place for next time.
Pro tip: Don't get it wet! "Don't use water to extinguish the hot embers—it will ruin the tip of the stick and make it harder to light next time. When you are done using the smudge stick, you can keep it in a vessel until you are ready to use it again.
Always stay present! If you see little embers fall on the ground, tamp them out immediately. Never let the burning sage stay unattended for any reason. Also, take care not to inhale too much of the smoke.
Benefits of Smudging with herbs:
Removing bacteria from the air.
Smudging with herb like sage is a powerful ritual that Indigenous communities have been using to clear negative energy for thousands of years. If you're going to burn sage it in your own home, office, or apartment, be sure to do so safely and with respect for the origins of this sacred practice.
The Organic For You handpicks each smudge stick that enters our shop, with a very high standard for sustainability in mind. Much research has been done to find a family-owned company that goes above and beyond when it comes to sustainability in producing and sourcing Herbs and Palo Santo. We carry smudges sticks and loose herbal blend leaves. All of our Herbal Sticks, Smudges Accessories and Palo Santo are imported from the southwest of the United States and the northwest of Mexico, where it is sustainably and environmentally friendly harvested. Before packing, the sticks were dried before they got packed in kraft paper to keep it in good condition during their journey to the USA, so we can guarantee you our herbal smudges sticks are mold-free.