How To: Ceremonial Smudging

Smudging ceremony is the easiest ceremony to participate within. For me this easy and accessible ceremonial practice allows us to connect with every single element in one process. My mother loves smudging with me and is often asking me to dust off her energy with the sacred smoke and she really feels the benefit.

Smudging means lighting a sacred plant and using the smoke to clear a person’s energy or the energy of a space. With the smoke we are able to have a physical expression of what we are intending to change and create.

I feel using White Sage or Palo Santo works best for smudging. The herb you use represents the element of Earth, the lighter or match represents fire, the smoke it creates represents Air and the dish you use to catch any ash and extinguish the herb represents Water.

As ceremony is all about intention it’s important to know the source of your smudging herb. There’s no point using White Sage or Palo Santo you got somewhere if it’s not been fair trade – it just becomes a contraindication of your intentions. With the power of the internet we have the capacity to search for fair trade stock so that we can really have our intentions aligned.

White Sage – A plant that is native to high desert ecosystems that grows strongly in California. For hunderds of years it has been widely accepted that White sage is a powerful purifier of lower and negative energy. Medicine that has been shared by the Native Americans for us to work with.

Palo Santo – this magical and mystical tree grows in South America. It has been respectively used by Shamans and Wisdom keepers to bring about cleansing and healing energy for those that use and those that are surrounded in its smoke. It’s my favourite and less messy/smoky than sage.

Safety first: It’s important to have sort of fire proof dish to catch any stray ashes or when it comes to extinguish the flame. At home I use a large abalone shell and in my office I have a small brass cauldron. It’s also important to make sure there are no smoke alarms or sprinkler systems where you intend to ‘smudge’ because you don’t want to try and explain to a fire marshal or neighbours of your block you were “clearing the space” (quite literally if there is an alarm set off!

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How to smudge:

Smudging is easy, simple and approachable ceremony that you can build your confidence with. My Reiki master taught me back when I was a teenager and it’s something that’s remained within my practice since. For best results you should use a feather to help direct the smoke, but you can also use your hand or a pocket fan if you don’t have that resource. I recommend investing in a smudging fan if you feel you want to continue this practice and you’ll be able to find a sustainably created one online (try Etsy) or if you know any local shamans ask them.

You can smudge a person, an object or even a whole entire home

Place whatever plant you are using into the dish that you will use to catch the ash.

Hold it with both hands.

Close your eyes and connect with your Ujjayi Warrior breath.
(remember to breathe throughout it’s easy to hold the breath in concentration)

Call on your Angels & Guides, internally thank them for guiding you in this experience.

Set the internal intention that you are creating an energy that will clear away any negative debris and facilitate healing.

Light the smudging plant and give it a moment to burn then blow it out.

Use your fan or hand to waft the smoke over the person or item your smudging.

As you smudge, visualise that you are energetically clearing away all that no longer needs to be there.

When the smudging is complete, thank your guides and thank nature for her medicine and extinguish the herb.

What's your favourite ceremonial practice?
Let me know in the comments below...