Smudging has been a traditional ceremony within Indigenous American families for many hundreds of years. The Western World has more recently tuned in to the power of smudging.
The traditional smudging method uses Californian White Sage, known for it’s antibacterial qualities. You can grow your own sage and dry it out, or purchase a ready made kit. Think of smudging like a Spring clean cross with moving an ex out of your home. You are purifying whilst also returning the positive energy balance.
The benefits to your wellbeing and mental health are immeasurable, so let’s share some tips.
How Do You Make Sage Smudge Sticks
You don’t just need smudge sticks you will also need a heat-proof and flame proof dish to rest your smudge stick on. The traditional method is to use an abalone shell, the mother of pearl is naturally heat proof.
- We grow our own sage, but you can purchase sage from supermarkets as well, buy living plants or cut leaves.
- To air dry sage you will need to ensure it is clean. Rinse under the tap and remove any pests or dirt.
- Using an elastic band hold the leaves together loosely. The elastic band is better than twine or string as you will still get air circulating around the leaves where they are tied.
- Hang in a place that is not damp, but has free flow of air. Good air circulation is key to avoid mold forming. There will need to be no direct sunlight either. We hang in our woodshed.
- To dry the sage this way takes around 2-3 weeks depending on the time of day you have harvested the sage. As we will be burning the sage for smudging it will need to be completely dry.
- Consistent results can be seen from using a dehydrator to dry out your sage. A single layer of sage leaves, not overlapping will take between 1-4 hours to dry out. Set the timer to each hour and check back on them. For a full guide on drying herbs have a look here.
- Take the dried sage leaves and lay them across one another so as to make it easier to roll. Each leaf should lay between two others. Your smudging stick should be about 4 inches long but you start it off with just the leaves you have.
- You then tie some cotton twine (natural twine with no plastics added) at the base and this should be tight. Once you have this base you can build your sage leaves out and your smudging stick will grow. There is no need to have these leaves tight as it will make burning harder and the smoke produced will be too thick.
- Wind the twine to the top of your smudge stick and then back to the base. You will avoid it opening up when it is smoking this way.
- You can store your white sage smudge sticks for a suitable occasion. It is worth making 4 or 5 at a time and storing in an airtight container away from direct sunlight. You will find that they store in this manner for at least a year.
TOP TIP – We also love to include lavender and rosemary to the mix in our smudge sticks. If you do want dried lavender or dried rosemary in your smudging they will share a lot of those beneficial properties of sage. Here is the sneaky bit, they will also make it so much easier to wrap your dried sage leaves around. The stems can still stick out of the smudging stick that you burn and form a handle to hold as well.
Do not worry as this may all sound like a huge process for many of you. So there are some wonderful companies who make kits up ready for you to use, Raw Earth do a great beginners kit you can buy here.
How Do You Cleanse Your Home With Smudging
Before starting to use the burning smudge sticks, if you have poor lung health do consult your GP. An article on WebMD points towards the overall benefits of sage smudging, with this one caveat for those with existing health conditions. With any herbal remedies there are always side effects to consider.
- Close all of the doors and windows to ensure no drafts. Your smudging sticks will need to move around your home to cleanse it but will not over fill your home with smoke.
- Make sure you have a heatproof and flame proof dish ready. You will need this to catch the debris as the smudge stick is moved around cleansing your space.
- Have a blessing ready before you start. It should be appropriate to the space and the reason behind the cleanse. Smudging can mark the end of something negative as well as the start of something positive, so make sure your blessing reflects this.
- If you have family and friends helping with your smudging process, just check they are supportive. I have heard of ceremonies being spoiled by the presence of a family member who doesn’t appreciate the significance.
- Light the end of the smudging stick. Hold it over the flame proof dish or shell as you do this. Leave it lit for several seconds and then gently blow the flame away. The smoke will follow.
- Walk around the home or space you wish to cleanse. Move your smudging stick while saying your blessing. Repeat the blessing and take it in.
- Let the negative energy out and welcome the renewed positivity in. This process is applicable to smudging a person as well and can be very cathartic.
- Once you have completed your ceremony you can pop the remaining section of your smudging stick into water, or you can leave it to smoke securely on the heatproof dish.
- Do not leave a smudging stick unattended, it can burn to a high heat.
What Do You Say When Smudging
Intent is the key with your blessings. You are welcoming new energy and possibility into your home and living space. Make sure that this is heard. Keep the blessings shorter, but with clear purpose. Repetition helps to enforce these feelings from within.
- ‘I welcome new blessings and am open to the positive forces that surround me.’ You are telling the Universe that you are ready to accept the opportunities that are there. This in turn, will awaken you to the possibilities that are in your life. By the time your smudge stick has run down, I fully expect you to be shouting this with an open heart.
- ‘I give my gratitude to the ancestors of this home. I look to the past for guidance to my future’ this is a way of acknowledging that you are now here in this space. It is a great way to start a free flowing discussion with yourself. Make it more specific to your area, be it a new home or office space or even opportunity. This is how smudging should be, not confined by a strict set of guidelines.
- ‘All negative frequencies are now to leave this home. You are not welcome in this place.’ This is an ideal command of intent to be used during smudging. You need to know that this place will no longer tolerate the negativity of the past. Often this is a good one to follow up with a more positive welcome to the new higher vibrational energy.
- ‘This home is a place of safety and nurture. Sanctuary will be offered to all who come seeking.’ Especially powerful during the uncertainty of a World living through pandemic. The reassurance this offers will not be lost on anyone sharing the smudging ceremony with you.
- You can offer up individual blessing to family members or friends who may be in need. This can seem very natural during a smudging ceremony in ways that may otherwise be quite false.
The final thought on what blessings to say has to be around what feels right. You will surprise yourself with what you are able to release and absorb from this simple smudging ceremony.
When Would You Use Smudging
Smudging can be used to ward off any negativity and replace it with a renewed sense of purpose and positivity. It can also be used to welcome in new beginnings. Depending on which dried herbs you use, you can decide on the symbolism and meaning behind your smudging.
- When a period of physical sickness is over and the home is ready to return to a place of health and happiness. Using a smudging stick after physically cleaning the home can help to draw a line under the illness. It is over and new health is coming to fill that space.
- If you have a new office and want to ensure a positivity in that space. Even if it is a new home office, you can smudge the area whilst saying a blessing of positivity and abundance.
- When a relationship has ended smudging can seem a natural process. You may like to wait a while to ensure all of their possessions are returned and your home has returned to you. Then choose a blessing and any supportive guests to help aid you in cleansing your home. This can turn into a way to reconnect with friendships that may have been lost during this time.
- You may feel the benefits of smudging your home during the new and full moons. This will realign you to mother nature. New beginnings and new intentions from within.
- Smudging is ideal to mark new beginnings. A child leaving the family home for new adventures or a baby announcement. There are so many new beginnings and you will match your blessing to these situations.
- The death of a friend or family member. Often cleansing the home can come after a more traditional farewell and help aid the grieving process. There is no limit to the number of times you can perform this ritual. It is about your intention and this may change during the process. We would recommend using lavender in with your sage for these ceremonies.
- When you are in times of uncertainty. Smudging with intention can help you to ask the Universe questions that may have been lost to you previously. Opening up that sacred space will allow a freedom of thought and clarity of purpose.
- Living through a pandemic can be a time for meditation and reflection. If you are in a lockdown area your home can no longer feel like a place of refuge. Smudging with a suitable blessing can help to cleanse that space and reclaim it as your own. Add different dried herbs to the mix and allow this to become part of your lockdown survival kit.
Smudging is a form of mindfulness and should go hand in hand with other therapies such as guided meditation or gardening. We know all about both of these and using herbal remedies to enhance both your physical and mental health and wellbeing. You may also want to make a herbal wreath for your front door to welcome visitors and guests to a home which is now blessed.
Growing your own sage to use in these rituals is a an ideal way to bring it all together.