BENEFITS OF SMUDGING
Smudging is the name given to the ceremonial act of cleansing and purification which uses a selection of herbs, often sage, which are bundled together with string to form a smudge stick before being ignited. Benefits include:
- Increasing your sense of well-being and improving mental focus. Smudging removes the debilitating effects of excess positive ions in the air in a way that’s been described as a natural antidepressant.
- Clearing negative energy. The smoke helps to change the molecular structure of both the air and energy, which produces a cleansing effect. As the sense of smell is strongly linked to memory and instinct, smudging is very effective for combating feels of anger, fear, anxiety, grief, and depression.
- Clearing the air. In addition to bacteria, smudging can help clear the air of pollen, pet dander, dust, mold spores, and other potential allergens to improve allergy symptoms.
- Cleansing objects. Not only can smudging cleanse a room, but it can cleanse objects. Whenever you bring a new object into your home, especially something like an antique that’s likely to have been exposed to negative energy over the years, you can use a smudge stick, allowing the smoke to pass over the time to help clear it so that it doesn’t affect you or your environment.
- Relaxing effects. Smudging can offer calming, relaxing effects that are known to help lower blood pressure, relieve stress and tension and normalize breathing rates, as the negative ions produced are absorbed directly into your bloodstream – they may even help to fight off damaging free radicals that can lead to premature aging and disease.
Increased energy. Studies have found that the negative ions produced also help to normalize serotonin (the feel-good hormone), in the brain, which can help boost one’s mood, improve focus and create a more positive outlook.
- Improved sleep. An Italian study showed that negative ions can help improve sleep patterns, also have positive effects on regulating serotonin production.
- Cleansing after moving into a new home or an argument. If you’ve moved to a new place, or have had a recent argument inside your home, you may want to take it a step further by preparing the rooms first for additional cleansing.
HOW TO SMUDGE
It’s best to do smudging with full awareness, in a slow, mindful manner, so you may even want to practice meditation for a few minutes before proceeding. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Loose dried white sage, or a white ceremonial sage bundle, sometimes referred to as a wand and bound together by a thin string. If you have a sage plant, you can make your own. All you have to do is bundle it together with a string, tie it and hang it upside down in a cool, dark space until it has completely dried out.
- A fire, heat-proof burning surface.
- Matches or a lighter.
Just before you begin, open up a window for ventilation and then place the herb bundle onto your fire-proof surface. Light it with matches and gently blow out the flame, allowing the material to smolder. Focus your energy on the smoke. If a true flame appears, shake the bundle slightly, or blow on it until it turns to embers and smoke. You may need to re-light the bundle a few times during the smudging process.
Once you have a good amount of smoke going, use your hand or a feather to direct it over your body, moving from your feet all the way up to your head and back again, staying connected to your breathing throughout the session. You may also want to visualize the smoke removing negative energy from your life and home. Now you’re ready to smudge your home:
- Move clockwise around your house, starting at your front door. Gently wave the smoke into your air, focusing especially on the corners of each room, as they’re said to accumulate the most stagnant energy.
- Don’t forget about closed spaces, like closets and cabinets – open their doors and carefully smudge the inside too. When you reach each doorway, ask that the room is sealed and protected from this point on while you smudge the outline of the doorway, passing through it to keep any more energy from passing while you conduct the clearing.
- Move directly into the next room following either the floor layout along the walls. Remember to pass the wand over the edges of each window and door as you continue through each room of the house or workspace. The idea is to walk to each entrance, clearing every room so that you’re pushing all the negative energy out toward the front entrance. Since you want all of the negative energy to leave your home, think of it as trying to direct a fly outside your door.
- Once you’ve smudged your whole house, allow the herb bundle to burn out. You may want to bury the remaining smudge in your garden, as a sign of completing the ritual.