Smudging is the name given to the burning of sacred herbs for the purpose of cleansing, purifying and sending out prayers. This is an excellent practice for clearing negative energy from a space, person or object and can be used as a preparation before meditation, healing or spiritual practices. As well as its spiritual properties, white sage is known for anti-bacterial properties and it was once commonplace to burn herbs around the sick. It's an interesting fact that just off Venice there is a small island called Lazzaretto Vecchio and during plague times any visiting people had to go to this islands and stay for 40 (quaranta) days where sage and other antibacterial herbs were burned around them to stop any plague or disease from spreading. After this 40 day or quarantine period as it became known, anyone who was still alive was considered safe to be allowed into Venice.
You will ideally need around 30 minutes to smudge a 2-3 bedroom house, so make sure you will not be disturbed for this period of time. Smudging will move energy around and clear stagnant energy out, you want this energy to be able to leave so it can be re-absorbed into the universe and transformed into positive energy, so we suggest you open all your windows and doors, cupboards, wardrobes etc and create easy access from room to room. If possible, tidy away clutter, piles of papers, clothes etc and if some rooms or areas are dark then put the lights on. Be mindful of any smoke alarms which could go off if a lit smudge stick is held beneath them as there will be some smoke!
You will also need matches and may wish to have a ceramic or metal container should you need to put your lit smudge stick down at any point. Tea lights or candles can also be used in areas which feel they need more light or as a symbol of remembrance of a spirit which has passed. If you have a singing bowl, drum, shaker or even a metal tray this can also be used in areas which you feel have stubborn energy which needs extra resonance to shift it. If you have none of these items then clapping and singing works just as well!
Caution: A lit smudge stick should not be left burning while unattended, and care should be used when extinguishing smouldering sticks.
Begin by spending a few moments centering and grounding yourself and focusing on a clear intention of what you wish to achieve with your smudging ceremony. Think of a mantra that you will use during your ceremony, this could be ‘I wish to clear all energy which is no longer serving me from this space’ or ‘I respectfully ask all stagnant energy to leave and bless it on its way’, or any other words resonate with you. Light your smudge stick, you may need to blow on it a little and smudge yourself as best you can asking to be cleansed and protected, you may also waft some smoke in front of you and step through it.
Start in whichever room feels most appropriate. Walk around your room wafting your lit smudge stick, using your feather if you wish and repeating your mantra. Pay particular attention to corners, fireplaces, cupboards etc anywhere that energy can become stuck. Move around the room in an anticlockwise direction encouraging the energy to be blown out through the windows. When you feel the room feels lighter prepare to move to the next room. You can at this point light a candle if you wish, or allow the room to settle and come back later to check it. Make your way to the next room, smudging the hallways and doorways as you go and repeating your mantra.
Repeat this until you have smudged the whole house then put your smudge stick out. Go back to the first room and see how it feels, notice if it appears lighter or more inviting. If you feel there is still some stagnant energy to shift then make some noise and encourage any energy to be drawn out the window or main door. Move again from room to room reassessing the feeling of each. If any particular room still feels dark then you can use your drum, singing bowl, tin tray whatever you have to hand to make some noise...jump around, clap loudly, whistle, sing whatever feels right as this will shake up the energy and change its resonance.
Once you feel happy that the energy has changed and is lighter go to each room and close the windows, cupboards etc, extinguish any candles and before you leave the room say a little blessing or gratitude in the doorway, this can be as simple as ‘bless this space and thank you’ being grateful and respectful is very important when working with energy as we wish to maintain good karma. You may also leave crystals in any rooms you feel would benefit from their energy.
For a first time smudge twice round, once with sage and once without, but using noise if necessary should be enough to notice a difference. Leave around 2 weeks to allow the energy to settle before you smudge again, it may be longer than this before you feel it needs another all over cleanse. You can do spot smudging in areas whenever you wish, for example if you have had an unpleasant conversation, even if it’s on the phone, a visitor who may be unwell, something has upset you or brought up an old memory, or even a bad dream, just have a quick smudge of yourself and the space to clear the air asking for the negative energy to leave.