A Guide to Smudging with White Sage
Smudging is an ancient practice that has been used by Native Americans for thousands of years. The sacred smoke from smouldering white sage can be used to clear the home from negative energy and purify the air. Studies have shown that burning smudge sticks can disinfect the air and rid the home of up to 94% of aerial bacteria.
Personally, I have been smudging my home since Branko and I started Storytellers Workshop. When you collect second-hand pieces for a living, you are bringing in hundreds of items from many, many foreign places. Their history and stories are vast and most of the time you do not know the backstory behind each piece. Energy can cling to an object and when I do not have complete knowledge of its origin, white sage is a way to protect my home from any unknown and unwanted energy that may have attached itself to my newest treasure.
Some situations in which smudging your home would be a good idea include: moving into a new home, after renovating, after rearranging furniture, when you bring home second-hand furniture or decor, during a difficult or stressful period in your life, after illness. You can smudge any time you feel it is necessary, there are no limitations!
1. What you need:
- White sage smudge stick (can be purchased here)
- A heat-proof bowl to catch any embers or ash - traditionally an abalone shell is used
- A lighter
Tip: Set aside an hour or so for this full procedure as it is best to take time and care and to not feel any rush or urgency. I prefer to smudge when I am home alone to prevent any distractions. It also important to begin with a peaceful mindset.
Before you begin smudging, it is best to do a thorough clean your home. Dust and wipe down surfaces, vacuum the floors, mop if necessary, empty your bins into the outside bin. A tidy and clean home sets the foundation for the ritual.
Tip: Avoid any chemical cleaning products and if possible use a homemade vinegar cleaning spray infused with essential oils such as peppermint and lemon.
3. Open windows and doors
Energy is a force that can not be seen and it will need somewhere to escape. Open at least one window in every room. If I am doing a thorough cleansing I like to open every window, I feel as though the more air flow and freshness the better.
Go around your home and also open every cupboard, pantry and cabinet door.
Tip: Choose to smudge on a pleasant day so opening windows and doors will not make you freeze your toosh off!
4. Set your intentions
First and foremost, think about your intentions and say a home protection prayer (if you feel comfortable) - I love this space, I love this home, unwanted energy be gone! or Into this smoke, I release energies that no longer serve me, all negativity that surrounds me and all fears that limit me. You can say this out loud and repeat as you smudge, or you can revise it in your mind. If you do not wish to say a prayer, you can think about your intentions for your home, for example : I want to fill my home with love and peace or I want my home be a safe and restful place. And continue to feel this as you cleanse your sacred space.
5. Time to smudge
Take your bowl for catching the ash, your smudge stick and lighter to the front door of your house. Ignite your smudge stick in a way that is similar to burning incense, once it is lit with fire, blow out the flames so it is smouldering with a decent amount of smoke. Beginning at the bottom left side of the door, move your bowl in one hand and smudge stick in the other in an upwards motion to the corner of the ceiling and continue around the door in a clockwise motion. Now cleanse each room in a clockwise direction, being mindful that your bowl is always beneath the smudge stick to catch any embers or ash. Make sure the smoke touches all corners and dark places. Cleanse all pieces of furniture and decor items and inside all cupboards and cabinets. As you go along, your sage stick will most likely need re-lighting multiple times to maintain an even amount of smoke. Smudge your home so that when you have completed the practice you end up at the front door where you first started.
Tip: Always be respectful and use safety precautions when working with fire.
Now that your space is cleared you can extinguish your sage by rubbing it firmly in your ceramic bowl or use some sand. You can also rest the stick in the bowl and let it diminish naturally (just make sure you will be in the room and to not leave it unattended).
7. Fill your space with good vibes
It is now time to fill your newly cleansed home with good vibes and love. This can be achieved by smudging with a sweetgrass braid after white sage, burning incense as part of your daily routine, infusing essential oils such as lavender, peppermint and lemon, growing indoor plants, always opening curtains to let sunlight in etc.