Smudging — what is it and where did it come from?
The practice of smudging, related to the burning of fragrant herbs and plants, has been known for centuries – smudging burners have been found dating back to the 5th Egyptian Dynasty, i.e. around 4,500 years ago. Native Americans were the first to use sage in ceremonies and rituals – they have smoked it for centuries as part of a spiritual ritual to cleanse a person or space, and to stimulate healing and wisdom. For many of these cultures, white sage was called “Sacred Sage” because it was used to shed any undesirable, lingering energies, to ask spirits for blessing, prosperity, and protection. In addition, it has been used since ancient times to treat digestive problems, memory problems and sore throats.
It should be remembered that in many native cultures, plants are more than just living organisms and are considered to have a soul. Thus, burning the sage was a way to connect with the spiritual realm and establish contact with the spirit of nature, which is then asked to lend its protective energy in accordance with the intention of the practitioner.
Smudging — what is it for?
Smudging is a mindfulness practice which increases awareness and spirituality. It enhances concentration, harmony and balances the energy that surrounds us. The cleansing ritual can also be performed when we want to free ourselves from unfavorable situations or emotions that currently accompany us. Carrying out such a ritual can become a sign for us that a given stage (for example, worrying, uncertainty) is behind us and it is time to move on. Smudging with dried plants affects not only the incensed space, but also directly on us, cleansing our aura.
When to smudge?
The most general answer to this question is: when we believe it to be right and feel the need to do so. We can practice smudging space at any time of the day, regardless of our daily schedule. We can perform this ritual when we feel that the current energy is not suitable for us and there need not be any specific reason behind it.
However, there are several situations in which cleaning and smudging of spaces can have a particularly positive effect. It is, for example, a difficult event in our life, after which the prevailing atmosphere is hard and difficult to work through. Then the ritual will allow you to regulate the energy in the apartment, clean it and return to balance.
Another event that we can distinguish is moving to a new home. Here, cleansing with sage, which we describe below, will be especially useful. If we want to create our new place on earth, we want it to be ours and serve us in the best possible way, so that our energies work in harmony. We do not need the energy left behind by the previous tenants and their possible problems, therefore a cleansing and incensing ritual is recommended in accordance with our intention. Thanks to this, our desires will not encounter a barrier in the form of other people’s vibrations.
Smudging can also be used during mindfulness practices such as meditation or yoga. It strengthens the rituals we create, allows us to calm down better and stay in the current moment. Clearing yourself or the space of energy can help you focus on a given activity and become a signal to take a break from the busy duties in your head. It should also be remembered that each incense has its own individual properties that we can use to manifest our intention, e.g. protection, balance or creativity.
How to smudge?
If at home we feel tired, overwhelmed with tasks and we simply do not feel well, or feel like something is off, it is worth performing a space cleansing ritual using white sage.
The practice of smudging should always start with a general cleanup, because a messy, unorganized space introduces additional energetic chaos and our ritual may not bring the expected results. To start clearing the space, stand with the sage (or any other herb) at the front door and then set fire to the incense holding it over the flame at a 45-degree angle. We wait for it to light up and then blow it away, letting it burn. This is the moment when we can think about our intention – what kind of energy we want to surround ourselves with, what is important to us, and what desires our incensed space should foster. However, intention is not a necessary part of this practice, so if we don’t feel the need to do so, we don’t need to worry about it.
We start smudging with ourselves – from the feet towards the head, not forgetting the sides and back. Then we slowly move around the house with the burning sage, walking into all rooms. We move around clockwise and pay attention to all nooks – this is where negative energy most often accumulates. If in the meantime the incense goes out completely and stops smoking – go ahead and set it on fire again. If, after the end of cleaning, it still burns – we can extinguish it ourselves or leave it to extinguish spontaneously in a suitable dish, preferably in the central part of the apartment. The next step is to open windows and doors so that the energy can evaporate with the smoke.
It should be remembered that cleansing sage of negative energy will leave a space that is energetically empty. Therefore, it is good to recharge our room, using incense in accordance with our intention. In traditional practices, Sweetgrass was often used after cleaning – a plant considered sacred grass that attracts positive energy. But Sweetgrass isn’t the only option there is. If the intention that accompanies us is specific and important, the place of Sweetgrass can also replace other incense that will better fit in with our aspirations. Only which?
Which herb should I smudge with?
Various properties of natural plant incense give us a whole range of possibilities and intentions with which incense incense will be compatible. It may be an intention to protect, balance and harmony, stimulate action, ignite creativity or calm down – there is certainly an incense that meets our emotions and desires. Their full list of incense sticks we offer, along with the properties of each of them, can be found in this post – Incense 101. Each of the plants and herbs has its own individual characteristics and energies that can support your current condition. Also, do not be afraid to choose your incense intuitively – there is more than one right way of creating your individual rituals.