What is Smudging?

What is Smudging for beginners?

The word “smudging” is an English term derived from the word smudge. It refers to the act of burning sage, which is an ancient spiritual ritual widely used by the Indigenous peoples, in which sacred herbs and medicines are burned as part of a ritual or for cleansing or healing purposes.

To smudge

Smudging is the practice of burning dried sage bundles of leaves bound together; the smoke is then wafted to remove negative energy (cleansing and purifying the space or person).

The herbs used for smudging produce smoke, which is deeply symbolic; the smoke is said to attach itself to the negative energy being banished as it ascends to heaven as if bringing any prayers and intentions up to the gods.


Smudging is an age-old tradition; when you perform a smudging ritual, you are plugging into an ancient, powerful line of spiritual practice.

Initially, herbs and resins were placed in a special bowl and burned or burned over the fire’s smoldering coals.  Smudge sticks have evolved from this practice and allow for a much easier and more portable way of cleansing that is just as effective.

Smudge sticks

Smudge sticks are dried sage bundles tied together with colored thread. The most common herbs used for smudging are sage and sweetgrass.

Sage expels negative energy, and sweetgrass then attracts positive energy that will replace the negative energy.

Smudging for beginners!

The practice of burning sage or smudging is relatively easy!

You will need:

  • A sage smudge stick – (dried sage bundles)
  • A seashell or ceramic bowl, fireproof bowl, clay, or glass to catch the a
  • Matches over a lighter
  • Optional feather or fan for fanning smoke

Before you light your smudge stick, you need to set your intention, the reason why you are smudging; this needs to be precise. Invoke the help of any deity you believe in at this stage.

Remove animals from the room and open a door or window; this is very important because the smoke needs to escape and carry the negative energy with it.

How to Smudge

Instructions on smudging for beginners:

  1. Light the end of a sage bundle with a match, let it burn for approximately 20 seconds, then blow it out.
  2. The tip of the sage smudge stick should smolder slowly, releasing thick smoke. Waft this smoke around your body and the space you are smudging. This can be done with your other hand (not the one you are holding the smudge stick in) or with a feather.
  3. Allow the smoke to linger on the areas of your body or surroundings you’d like to focus on. Using a fan or feather can also help direct the smoke.
  4. Allow the ash to collect in a ceramic bowl or shell.
  5. When you have finished smudging, put the smudge stick out by pressing it into a bowl of sand, then give thanks to the deities you have invoked to help you smudge.
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