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How to Perform a Smudging Ceremony

Smudging Herbs for Sale 

Other Smudging Supplies for Sale

Information about how to smudge included with purchase of any of our smudging products.

How to Perform a Smudge Ceremony – The Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing

As with any action, when done with intention and belief, smudging can become a powerful and uplifting cleansing ritual so consider your intention before you smudge and hold it clearly in your mind. You may even wish to invite the spirit of the herbs you are using to join you and assist you with your intention.

In Native American societies, the herbs used for smudging are considered sacred. Treat your smudge herbs with respect, as well as being respectful about the act of smudging itself.  It is particularly centering to have an intention in mind.  For example, if you are feeling depressed, visualize the smoke carrying away all your feelings of depression.  If there was an argument, imagine yourself and the person with whom you argued being at peace with each other.

Materials Needed to Smudge

An assortment of herbs can be used for smudging - Cedar, Sage or Sweetgrass are the most common ones & they can be used loose or in bundles.  Smudge sticks & herbs are most easily lit from a candle, match or lighter flame. Long wooden matches are the best because a candle can add dripping wax to the process & a lighter, is well, kind of out of character.

If you are going to select from an assortment of "loose" herbs, you will need several additional “tools” in order to create aromatic sacred smoke.  One traditional method is to use a half shell such as Abalone or a Bear Paw Clam shell as the vessel to hold the herbs you have selected to burn. 

Traditionally, the abalone shell shouldn’t be used for burning since the holy men have said the shell represents Grandmother Ocean and they should be used in ceremonies for water, not burning.  However, there are no “right” or “wrong” tools to use.  While some of the American Indian Shamans prefer not to use a shell and choose other man-made, fire-resistant vessels to use in their ceremonies, those who do prefer the shell believe that using it brings in a balance of the elements - Earth, Air, Fire and Water - to a ritual.

You may, instead of a half shell, choose to use a fireproof bowl, plate, ceramic pot, small baking dish, censer, brazier, or other vessel in which to burn your loose or crushed herbs, and you can, of course, place the dried herbs on burning logs in your fireplace.  If you would like to try that, place the loose herbs on a piece of wood that is glowing (not flaming).  The scent of the burning herbs will enhance the aroma of the smoke from the fire, and create a healing energy in the room.

A Smudging Prayer

May your hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.

May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where you most need to be;

May your heart be cleansed, that you might hear its messages clearly;

May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed;

May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of the world;

May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants,

And may that same smoke carry our prayers, spiraling, to the heavens.

How to Smudge

A smudge ceremony can be as simple or as involved as you want it to be. Sometimes, all that is required is a quick waft of the smudging wand to clear the energy.  Other times require more time and attention. It is up to you to decide how much to devote to your ceremony.

Any action, undertaken with intention and belief can become a potent ritual so consider your intention before you smudge and hold it clearly in your mind. You may wish to invite the spirit of the herbs to join you and guide and assist with your intention.

Before you begin, be sure the area you are planning to smudge is well ventilated because the smoke, carrying the negative energy, must have an escape route.  Take normal precautions to prevent an unwanted fire, such as placing your smudge pot or shell on a non-combustible surface.

Gather your smudging materials and a means to light the herbs. 

Remove all jewelry and glasses.

Light the bundle or loose herbs and, when a flame appears, blow it out so it will smoulder and smoke, not burn.  The idea is to get curls of smoke, not to set the smudge herbs afire.  Smudge sticks are sometimes hard to keep smouldering so, when you first light it, blow out the flame after it gets going and then blow into the smouldering embers to really let take hold or else it might burn out.  If it does burn out, just re-light it again and keep going.  (Special note: Don’t smudge while infants, pregnant women, or people with respiratory diseases are in the room.)

Once the herbs are smouldering, the first step is to smudge yourself.

You may want to especially focus on areas where you feel there are blockages or where there has been or is physical, emotional, or psychic pain.  Imagine the smoke lifting away all the negative thoughts, emotions and energies that have attached themselves to you as you smudge yourself.  If you are feeling depressed for instance you could visualize the smoke carrying away all your feelings of depression.

Wash your hands with the smoke.  Bring the smoke over your head, to your heart, eyes, ears, mouth, shoulders, down your arms, around your torso to your back and legs, and last of all your feet to ensure you walk the right path.

Next, offer smoke to the four directions starting with the East.  Then, turning clockwise, offer to the South, again turning, to the West and then again to the North  Also offer the smoke downwards to Mother Earth, upwards to Father Sky and, most importantly, to the Creator or Great Spirit.  You may also offer the smoke to the moon, sun, waters, winds and the Universe.  Do whatever feels right to you and whatever your intuition tells you to.

Read more information About smudging yourself

Smudging someone else

Before you smudge another person, an object or a place, you should make sure you smudge yourself first. 

It is often appropriate to smudge guests as they enter the space at a ritual, ceremony or special event.

Smudge as if you were smudging yourself, fanning the smoke all over their body. You may want to speak an intention or a suggestion for the smudging as you do it.  For example "Allow the sacred smoke to cleanse your body and spirit and bring you present and available into this moment" or “Allow the sacred smoke to cleanse your body and spirit, ridding you of all negativity and filling your heart with love & joy”.

Smudging a room or space

After smudging yourself, walk about the perimeter or the room or space, giving special attention to the corners and the places behind and around doors and windows. If you’re using tools, smudge them as well.  Wave the smudge stick in slow circles or use your hands or a feather to fan the smoke throughout the room.

Read about When to Smudge your House

Before Healing Work

Before healing work, the smoke may be fanned over the person either with your hand or with a feather.  This clears out unhealthy energies and brings in the special attributes of the herbs.  You may also direct smudge to each of the person's chakras and as you do so visualize each chakra coming into balance as it is purified by the smudge.

Cleansing Crystals or other Objects

Hold the objects to be purified in the smoke or fan the smoke over them.  If you are clearing your crystals prior to programming them, thank both them and the smudge stick for helping you to realize your goals.

After smudging, it is very important to open your doors and windows for 10-15 minutes to allow the smoke and the negative energy to escape outside.

Extinguishing the smudge stick

Always have a shell, a glass, stone or ceramic dish on hand to put the smudge stick in when you’ve finished. Ideally, the stick should be pressed out in sand or earth, or just press it against the bottom of the receptacle. Always make sure that a smudge stick is completely out before leaving the room.  I prefer to put the smudge stick in a mason jar, cover it with foil and allow the smudge stick to extinguish itself but be sure it is before leaving it unattended!  When you are finished smudging sweetgrass, extinguish the braid by damping it against the shell

Smudging Herbs for Sale – flyer with information about how to smudge included with purchase.

Other Smudging Supplies for Sale

Read more Information about Smudging