Hello dear friends!
It’s not just the native shamans that are smudging these days- this beautiful ritual has caught on in many different circles and walks of life. The sacred act of burning herbs, incense, and resins can be used for a variety of purposes, but no matter the reason, we can agree that it is a lovely and meaningful way to shift the energy of a space. Smudging has been used as a part of various ceremonies for centuries, from full moon rituals to medicine rituals, as well as house clearing, birth and death rituals, and even intention setting or manifestation exercises. There is something solemn and symbolic about setting something aflame, seeing the smoke rise, and smelling the scent of the herbs.
When you look at smudging from an elemental perspective, it is a holistic, or self-contained ritual, because it contains all five sacred elements. The herb itself represents the earth element, the flame clearly represents the fire element, the smoke itself represents the air element, and typically the smudge stick is held over a conch shell, which represents the water element. And of course, the fifth element is spirit, and is arguably the most important aspect of any ritual, because it is what gives meaning and purpose to our actions. Through the lens of nature-based and elementally-inspired spirituality, we can see why smudging is such an important and potent practice.
Smudging is thought to purify a space of negative vibrations, and invite light, love, and peace to reside there instead. The smoke travels through the air, neutralizing harmful energies, and inviting those unhelpful frequencies to leave the area. This is one of the reasons that opening a window or door is so important during a smudging ritual (not just for healthy ventilation)- this provides a path out of the space, so that these negative vibes can leave and the positive ones can take their place. Without some kind of open passageway, you’ll simply shift the energies around, but won’t be able to fully get rid of them.
Depending on the area of the world and the spiritual tradition, there are many different plants and substances that are used for this kind of clearing ritual. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Used to “wash off” negative vibes prior to entering sacred space, and connect to ancestral spirits. Originally used in Native American traditions.
- Invokes spirit of the cedar tree- wise, strong, and powerful. Used in rituals of protection.
Brings the blessings of our Earth Mother, and invites positive, feminine energy into the space. Also used to carry our prayers of thanks to the heavens.
- Burned to invite spirits of goodness, and to protect against evil. Used in many European religious ceremonies and belief traditions.
- Sacred sap or “blood” of this Mexican tree is burned to give thanks to the gods, especially for our natural resources.
- Used to protect and cleanse the soul, even in death. Used in nearly every major religion on Earth. Also thought to ease depression and promote clairvoyance.
- A sweet resin that is burned for happiness, love, and comfort in the home. Originally used in pagan rituals.
This tree resin is burned in an attempt to reach enlightenment, and it clears the debris from our energy field and opens our perception.
- Burned to increase spiritual awareness, give power to our magik/manifestations, and to aid in astral traveling. A sacred tree in the Buddhist tradition.
- A prized wood in India, rosewood is used to calm and soothe both the physical and emotional bodies. It holds powerful feminine energy, and heightens your intuition and compassion.
- Burning the wood of this mystical tree can help you stay grounded and clear, improve your creativity, and deepen your connection to Source. “Holy wood” of South America.
To invite the sacred masculine, boost vitality, and give courage, especially when doing magik/manifestation. Used often in pagan rituals.
Even though these are the most common materials used in smudging practices, there are ways to clear your space without using fire or creating smoke. This is helpful to know, especially for those with asthma, lung disease, or other environmental sensitivities. One of the easiest and safest ways to smudge without smoke is by using essential oil sprays. Many sacred plants can be found in essential oil form, and I have combined three of my favorite ones (sage, palo santo, and rosewood) in my handmade Reiki-charged smudging spray! Seen above.
If you want to make your own, look for oils of lavender, sandalwood, frankincense, myrrh, white sage, palo santo, cedar, rosewood, and others to make into your spray. You may also include crystals or other stones in your spray bottle for an extra boost (mine has genuine crystal quartz pieces)!
There are so many ways that you can incorporate the beautiful and sacred practice of smudging into your regular rituals. Find the herbs, resins, and spices that resonate with you, and start shifting your vibration!
So friends, how many of you use smudging to cleanse your space? Do you have a favorite plant or wood you like to work with?
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~