What is Smudging?

“Smudging” is the common name given to a powerful cleansing technique from the Native American tradition. However, the burning of herbs, woods, resins, and incense for emotional, psychic, and spiritual purification, is a common practice among many religious, cultural, and spiritual traditions. It is a ceremonial way to cleanse a person, place, or an object of negative energies or influences. It is also an effective method for energizing or blessing a person, place, or object.
​ Smudging can be useful when you’re feeling depressed, angry, resentful, unwell, or after you have had an argument with someone. It is common to smudge yourself, the space, and all the guests and participants before a ritual, ceremony, or celebration. You can smudge your home (inside and outside) or work space as part of a general spiritual house cleansing. You can also cleanse crystals and other objects of any negative or lingering energy with a smudging ritual.

 An herb tied into a bundle and allowed to dry is called a “smudge stick.”  In traditional societies, the herbs used for smudging are considered sacred and the smudge stick is treated with great respect. Most herbs can be, and often are, mixed with each other during a ceremony. Some smudge bundles are made using multiple herbs. 

 In the past, Holy men and women, Shamans, Monks, Priests, and Priestesses had secret and specific rules for conducting their ceremonies. The common denominator in every ceremony, regardless of culture or religion, is their strong INTENTION for the purpose the ceremony. Today we know Intention is a powerful thought energy used for specific outcomes. We feel a person’s cleansing ceremony is, and should be a personal one with individual, positive intentions. (These ceremonies should not be used for negative outcomes.) If searched on the internet, you will find those sites that state you MUST follow specific rules and directions. Here at Smart Ash Holders we feel the individual must discern for themselves if those rules resonate with your intentions. If opening a window feels right to you, then do so. If not, then keep them closed. Go clockwise or counter clockwise as you feel. Go up and down and all around as you wish. With strong, positive intention we feel there is no “right” or “wrong” way of conducting your ceremony. Stay positive and enjoy the wonderful results of your own sacred ceremony! 

What herbs are used for smudging?

Sage is one of the most popular herbs for smudging. The botanical word for Sage, Salvia, comes from a Latin word “salvare” that means “to heal” or “to save.” Sage has been used not only for burning rituals, but also as a medicine for centuries. It has been used by many cultures from Ancient Babylonia, Greece, China, and more recently North and South Native Americans. Although there are many different varieties of Sage, California White Sage is the most widely used for cleansing burning rituals. The smell of burning White Sage is known to be pungent, earthy, herbaceous, and woodsy. Sage can be bought in smudging bundles or loose leaves. 
Sweetgrass is a cold, hardy plant that is native to North America and Eurasia. That plant is considered sacred and is used in prayer, smudging, and purifying ceremonies. It is usually braided, dried, and then burned. Just as the sweet scent is attractive and pleasing to people, it is also attractive to good spirits and energies. Sweetgrass holds an energy of blessing, rather than cleansing, and is often burned after cleansing with Sage to attract positive energies. 
Cedar trees are very old, wise, powerful spirits. Cedar is often used to cleanse a home or apartment when first moving in, inviting unwanted spirits to leave and protecting a person, place, or object from unwanted influences. The cleansing effect of cedar is not quite as intense as that of White Sage. But cedar smoke brings in a friendly, healing energy, and is a good alternative for those who have an aversion to
Lavender Flowers are used in purification and space clearing rituals. The flowers promote happiness and harmony in the home. They are also edible and are used in teas to relax and promote sleep. It has traditionally been used in herbal medicine for many infectious diseases and has a soothing effect on the nervous system. Magically, it is used for protection and also for love. Lavender brings a positive energy, opens the heart chakra, and calms the mind.
Palo Santo, also called “Holy Wood,”  grows naturally from Mexico to South America. The tree is in the same family as the tree from which Frankincense resin is obtained. Sacred to the Inca & Aztec people, it’s used for protection, and as a welcome to friendly spirits. The Palo Santo sticks are harvested from downed trees and broken branches to protect this sacred medicine. Palo Santo may be burned similar to incense as a whole stick, but keep in mind you will need to fan the stick to keep it burning. You can also trim shavings from the stick and put into a container, either by itself or with other herbs.
Yerba Santa is burned to release anxiety and fears, increasing courage in oneself. Traditionally used as a smudge for protection and setting boundaries, Yerba Santa has also been used for love, purification, growth, empowerment, and beauty, as well as the release of emotional pain stored in the heart chakra.
Other Herbs:  Please understand there are many more herbs that can be used for different purposes. The above list consists of herbs we have available for purchase.

How do you perform a smudging ceremony?

As we mentioned earlier, performing a smudging ceremony can be a very personal one. These are merely suggestions to get you started. Remember, action undertaken with strong clear intentions and belief can become potent. Before beginning, we recommend spending some time in prayer or mediation considering your intention and holding it clearly in your mind. Smudging should be done with care, reverence and with an attitude of love. You may ask for blessings, guidance and/or assistance from God, Angels, Spirit Guides, Ascended Masters, your Higher Self and even deceased love ones. 

 You will need some herbs, a container that will not melt or catch flame, and a long utility lighter. A lighter is recommended as it may take a little time to get the herbs burning.
A feather fan is optional and used to gently fan the embers to keep the herbs smoldering. When I started smudging, I didn’t have a feather fan. I had some heavy cardstock and made a small fan that I infused with Reiki. If you don’t have a fan, an occasional gentle wave of your hand will work. At this point decide if you would like to open any windows or not. Decide where you wish to start and end.

 If using a smudge stick, keep your intention in your mind, light the end and let a little section catch fire. Remember, a little bit of burning herbs goes a long way! Too much smoke will set off your fire alarms! (Been there, done that!) Once alight, gently blow it out so that the smudge stick is smoldering, not burning. Be careful not to blow ash and small embers everywhere. You also need to watch for falling embers when using a smudge stick. It is ideal to use a bowl below the stick to catch any falling ashes and embers in order to save your carpet or other textiles. As I slowly walk around the house spreading the smoke, I like to say out loud (but to yourself will work) my intention. Because many people have asked me what to say, I will add a section below with different phrases.  Remember, this is YOUR ceremony and it should come from the heart. It can be as elaborate or as simple as you like. Once you have smudged your area, you can let the smudge stick continue to smolder till it goes out. As long as it isn’t under a fan or in wind it should go out within a couple of minutes. You can also use your container to gently snuff out the stick. Be gentle as you do not want to loose much of the precious herbs by crushing them. Some use a little container of dry sand to snuff out a stick then tap out the sand when the stick is out. 

 When using a container to burn your herbs, the procedure is basically the same. Place your herbs in the container and light it. Your bowl will get hot so be careful how you handle it. And make sure your container will not melt or catch flame. Also, whatever kind of container you use, the bowl will be scorched and hot when you are done. Be careful where you set down your bowl as it could scorch your furniture. Our wooden Tri-pods are a great tool to prevent damaging your furniture. A smudging bowl can be made of clay, iron, or the very popular abalone shell. Due to overfishing and disease, many Abalone species are close to extinction. Here at Smart Ash Holders we have decided to begin using earthenware plates for smudging. We have experienced an increase in price per shell with a decrease in availability. Please consider the importance of all of mother earths life and begin using earthen clay for your ceremonies. Thank you!

Warning:  This is a Fire ceremony and the potential for fire damage and burns is real. Children should not perform this ceremony. The smoke from the herbs can set off your fire alarm system. 

when should i smudge?

You should smudge your house regularly to keep the energy positive and the vibration high. We recommend smudging your space whenever there has been an argument, or a release of negative energy (thoughts or words), or if you have been feeling depressed, sad, mad, or in a bad mood. Smudging is quite effective at removing negative thought forms. Always smudge after negative people have visited your space. If you had a spell of bad luck, if anybody in your house is sick or has been sick, use smudge to clear the energy. Smudging during a new moon is a great way to remove stale energies that have accumulated. You can Smudge at the beginning of any sacred ritual or group ceremony and the people that will attend. It will repel any negativity participants might have brought with them while clearing the mind and bringing a peaceful energy in preparation for spiritual activities or meditation. 


* Thank the herbs you are using for allowing them to be burned in order to have cleansing smoke. No guilt, just gratitude!
* Spend some quiet time connecting to your God, Higher Power, Spirit Guides, Angels and deceased loved ones in prayer or meditation. Thank them for their presence, protection and guidance while conducting your smudging. 
* You can make up your own sayings that resonate with you and comes from the Heart. Be sincere, be Loving, take your time.
​* Do your cleansing when you are relaxed and will be uninterrupted.  
* God, your Higher Power, Spirit Guides, Angels, and even deceased loved ones in the world unseen can and will understand your actions and intentions and will bless your efforts.
* Smoke from herbs can lead to allergic reactions, trigger asthma attacks or other forms of respiratory distress in sensitive persons. 
* Do not use near infants or very young children.
* Never leave burning smudge sticks unattended.
* The container holding smudging herbs or resins will become hot and could burn you or scorch the surface it is placed upon. 

Phrases you can say

  • God,  I thank you for this blessed smoke to cleanse and clear all negative energies from this (room, house, object, person).
  • Any energy not of Divine Light and Love will either be transformed or will leave.
  • With this smoke I cleanse this space of all negative beings and energies, bringing in only Love and Light.
  • You can say the Lords Prayer
  • Thank you God (Angels, Spirit Guides, Beings of Light and Love, Divine Presence) for cleansing this space with this smoke. Thank you for bringing in Light, Love and Laughter.
  • I invoke the Light of the God within Me. May the Light, be my guide as I cleanse this space.
  • Only Love and Light comes into this house.
  • This is a house filled with Love and Light, all negative energy is not welcome here.
  •  I cleanse this house in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
  •  Thank you Beings of Light and Love for your Divine guidance as I clear this space.