How To Smudge The Right Way

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Written By All Divinity

I’m Suzanne, the spirituality guru. With over a decade of experience studying and practicing all things spiritual, I am here to guide you on your spiritual journey.

Have you ever wanted to clear the energy in your home or within yourself? You may have heard of smudging before but don’t know what it is or how to do it properly.

Well – fear not because this guide is here to demystify the ancient art of smudging!

A smudging ritual is a traditional Native American practice that involves burning medicinal herbs to create a smoke cleanser which is then used to purify the area.

It is a surprisingly powerful ritual that can improve energy, deal with stress, and provide physical and emotional healing.

So if you’ve ever wanted to try a smudging ritual, but weren’t sure where to start, then you’re in the right place – because we’re about to show you how to do it the right way.

What is Smudging?

A Person Holding White and Gray Stones 1

So, what is smudging? Well, imagine sitting in your house with a bundle of fragrant herbs, chanting a few words as you slowly burn them. That’s what smudging is all about! It has been a meaningful ritual used to cleanse and purify physical and spiritual environments for centuries.

When it comes to smudging, there are certain sets of rituals that vary from culture to culture and from region to region. Some classic rituals include using smoke from sage, lavender, or other herbs to clear the energy in a space. To begin the ritual, you must light the herbs and let the smoke drift throughout the room.

In some cultures, you may also set an intention for the ritual to purify the space and set the mood for the occasion. As you go about your smudging rituals, there are several things to remember. Always open up the windows to ensure the smoke can circulate freely. When using sage, be sure not to touch the stick’s or bundle’s burning tip, as this can cause a fire hazard.

Smudging can be a powerful and transformative experience. As you participate in the ritual, your intention and the smell of the herb will fill the room and create a calming atmosphere. You can play soothing music, sing mantras, or sit silent and bask in the calming energy.

As you drift away into relaxation, you can positively transform the room’s mood. Regardless of your reasons or beliefs, smudging rituals make a powerful statement and can impact the overall atmosphere. Whether you’re looking to bring peace, love, and joy or to cleanse the air, one thing is for sure: smudging with intention will certainly do the trick!

Gathering your Materials for the Ritual

Crystals on Wooden Tray

Gathering your materials for the smudging ritual is the second step! You can’t perform the ritual without the appropriate items, so take the time to find the right components. Smudging typically uses some combination of sage and/or other herbs, a fan or feather, a heat-resistant bowl, and a lighting source.

Let’s start with the sage or herb. There are a variety of herbs that can be used for smudging. You can use loose sage, dried white sage, sweetgrass, desert sage, cedar, or a combo. Depending on where you live, you can find these herbs at some health-food stores, natural dry-goods stores, or online. Choose which type of herb works best for you and your ritual.

Next, find a fan or feather, which is used to help you direct the smoke from the burning herb. Again, this can be found online or at spiritual, natural, or metaphysical stores. This serves a dual purpose: directing the smoke and being a symbol for air, which is a strong element during smudging. Some opt for an eagle feather for a fan, as it is most symbolic.

You’ll need a bowl with a heat-resistant material that won’t crack when heated. This will act as a holder for the herb while it’s burning. The bowl can be ceramic, lake stone, clay, or shell and typically comes in various sizes.

Finally, you’ll need a heat source. A match, a lighter, an incense-charcoal disc, or a fire-stick is suitable. Again, these can be found at many of the same places your herbs are.

With these materials gathered, you’re now ready for the smudging ritual. Nothing too complicated, head out, search for the items, and return to begin. Have fun, and remember to stay mindful of your process and intentions.

Prepping the Space for Smudging

From above of sage candle in bowl placed on white marble shelf near plaster Buddha bust and creative shape vase for home decoration

So you’ve worked up the courage to try smudging in your home. Congratulations! But now what? Smudging is a powerful ritual that requires a safe and supportive space to achieve the desired outcomes. To prepare your space for the ritual, there are a few steps that you should take to get the most out of your smudging.

First, before you begin, block off the time and space to devote yourself and your attention to your smudging ritual. We know time can be hard to come by, but smudging is only as powerful as how focused and connected you are to the energy and intention behind it. So set aside fifteen minutes to an hour, depending on the depth and meaning of the ritual for you. Clear your schedule; if you have family or roommates, communicate to them that you need privacy.

The next step is to pick up some items you’ll need for the ritual. If you already received a starter smudging kit, grab that and get everything ready. These kits normally include a stick of white sage, a teaspoon of sea salt, a shell, a fireproof bowl, a feather, and matches. If you’re using your tools, all you need is a bundle of white sage and something smokable, unless it’s Palo Santo wood instead of white sage, in which case you won’t need anything extra.

Finally, you want to create an atmosphere and feeling for yourself to get in the right mindset. Light a candle that reminds you of the intention you’re setting for the ritual, and center yourself by sitting or standing in a position that allows you to go within and protect your energy. Take a few deep breaths, remember why you’re here, and then focus on your breathing and intention while smudging.

Now you’re one step closer to beginning your smudging ritual. You have all your supplies ready, and your space prepped. You’re feeling connected and focused. From here, you’re ready to begin.

Lighting and Blowing out the Sage

Close Up Photo of Person Smudging

You may be ready to start smudging, but before you can get into the healing, purifying ritual flow, you’ve got to light and blow out the sage! You can use any flame, like a lighter, match, or candle. As soon as the Sage begins to smolder, gently blow on it and ensure the embers are engulfed in smoke.

Once the smoke starts to roll, do remember to keep the Sage away from flammable surfaces, so you don’t end up with a bonfire instead of a smudging ritual! Hold the Sage in your hands, open the windows, and move the smoking sage around the room clockwise. And don’t be afraid to be creative! You can use the smoke to anoint the doorframe, a statue of your patron god, your favorite tarot deck, or even your pet’s favorite snuggle spot.

At this point, you can also start chanting, singing, or praying, but don’t forget to pause now and then to keep blowing on the Sage if needed. When you feel that the room’s energy has shifted and you’ve finished your prayers, it’s time to let the smoke disperse and blow out the sage. To do this, you can use a feather or your hands. Ensure the Sage is completely extinguished, and then put it in a fire-proof bowl or container.

You can use different scented sages or herbs and process your thoughts and feelings in the most unique way you can imagine. Today, as you light and blow out the Sage, know that it’s an act of cleansing, purifying, and healing that requires no previous experience, only your intention and a bit of practice!

How to Properly Wave the Smoke

A Bundle of White Sage on Gray

Smudging is an ancient ritual practiced for centuries in many cultures worldwide for its cleansing and healing powers. To practice smudging, the key is to do it properly.

One of the critical components of a smudging ritual is waving the smoke throughout the space. Doing this properly is essential to activating the energy of the smoke and purifying your space. Here are five key steps to have in mind when waving the smoke:

  • Start at your heart center. Place the bundle of smudge between your hands and your heart in the center of your palms. Imagine the smoke rising and enveloping your heart center.
  • Move the smoke in circles around your body, starting from your head, making sure to get smoke in all the little crevices. Spread the smoke in a clockwise direction all over your body, from your feet to your head, letting the smoke clear your energy and remove any negativity.
  • Work your way from the center of your body outward. Start from the center of your heart and gradually work your way outwards – the feet, the legs, the arms, and the head.
  • Make sure the smoke enters every corner and crevice of your room. Once you’ve taken your smudge stick, move it around the room. Making sure to get the smoke into as many spaces as possible – even under furniture and behind curtains.
  • Finally, be sure to finish with a prayer or intention. After you’ve taken the smudge stick or bundle around the entire space and all the corners, finish with a prayer or spoken intention. This gives a clear message to the Universe of your intent and solidifies the energy you have sent out.

Remember, as with any ritual; it is best to take your time and be intentional when smudging. The ritual won’t be effective if you rush. Let the smoke clear the way for you!

Closing your Smudging Ritual

A Person Holding White and Gray Stones

Now that you’ve gone through the important steps of properly preparing for your smudging ritual, it’s time to bring it to a close. Closure is elemental in this spiritual practice; without it, the energies you’ve called upon and released can’t do their jobs fully. When you’ve finished the last of your traditional smudging practices, it’s time to return everything to balance.

To bring the ritual to a close, you’ll want to start by thanking any spirits that may have taken part in your practice. Whether you’re a believer in some higher power or simply a participant in a cultural event, expressing appreciation for the energies that joined you is important. Give thanks for their presence and the time spent together.

Once your gratitude has been given, extinguish the flames of any burning herbs that you may have employed in your ritual. Some people like to pour an herbal infusion over their smoldering sage or cedar bundle to minimize smoke, but any form of dousing with water is a popular method. Consider the element of water a source of purification for what you’ve done.

It’s now time to clear the energy of the area and release the spiritual energy you’ve called upon. Evenly disperse any remaining smoke or incense in the room, paying special attention to the corners, as this is where energy tends to become stuck. Blowing out the smoke can aid in this process, as well.

No smudging ritual is complete without a final blessing that sends the energies away or back to their natural state of balance. You can use any words that feel harmonious and in tune with your feelings – they don’t need to be fancy. Just a simple wish of peace and love.

And with that, your smudging ritual is complete. Light your room with comforting candlelight and celebrate the meaningful activity you’ve just been through. Enjoy the spiritual connection you’ve created with the world around you and reflect upon the experience.

Doing a smudging ritual to clear the negative energy in your environment and invoke positive energies is a rewarding and meaningful experience. The whole thing comes full circle when you bring the ceremony to a close. With a few final steps and a blessing, your smudging framework is complete, sending away any lingering energy and ushering in a new state of balance.

Benefits of Smudging Rituals

A Person Holding White and Gray Stones 1

Although smudging is often represented in popular media, and even used as shorthand for mysticism and ceremony, many people don’t quite understand the benefits and purpose of smudging rituals. As we unfold the mystery of smudging, you’ll gain insight into why this ritual has been around for thousands of years!

When it comes to smudging rituals, there are countless benefits that you can enjoy. Here are just a few of the advantages of smudging:

  • Heightened Sense of Spiritual Awareness – Smudging rituals help awaken our spirituality. By burning sacred plants like sage, we invite their spirit and energy into our space, creating a powerful atmosphere of holiness and reverence.
  • Increased Mental Clarity – Allowing the purified smoke to surround us offers us a break from the everyday chaos, encouraging us to take a step back from our worries and focus on the present. This helps to clear away mental blocks, open our third eye, and increase our clarity.
  • Physical and Mental Healing – Beyond just mental clarity, the smoke from smudging sticks helps to remove physical and mental blocks, allowing us to heal from spiritual and physical imbalances.
  • Guardianship – Smudging rituals often call upon cleansing spirits, such as archangels, gods, and goddesses. Inviting these figures into our space helps to establish a powerful energy of protection and guardianship around us.
  • Purifying and Detoxifying – Did you know that smoke can trap and remove toxins, unwanted energy, and other harmful particles? The process of smudging helps to rid your environment of negativity, making you and your spaces feel clean and refreshed.
  • Connecting With Nature – When we burn sticks of sacred plants and herbs, we enjoy being surrounded by the smoke of nature. This transports us out of our busy lives and provides a comforting reminder of the power of nature.
  • Honoring Traditions – Participating in smudging rituals helps to honor the wisdom of our ancestors. By partaking in this practice, we pay tribute to our origins and maintain a strong connection to our cultural heritage.

Smudging rituals offer incredible spiritual, mental, and physical benefits- it’s hard to argue against giving this activity a try! Harness the energizing power of your spiritual heritage and embrace the art of smudging!

Troubleshooting Common Issues with Smudging

Photo Of Sage Beside Palo Santo

Are you an experienced smudger but feeling bothered by some recurring issues? Don’t give up just yet! Smudging can still be rewarding when done correctly. Here are a few tips for troubleshooting some common issues:

One problem that many smudge aficionados run into is low smoke output. This common issue can be caused by burning sage that is too moist or burning it too quickly. Adding a few drops of water to your sage bundle can help you get a good volume of smoke to work with. If that doesn’t do the trick, opt for other smudging supplies like cedar wood chips or juniper.

Another issue is narrow-mindedness. Don’t get caught up thinking that white sage is the only way to smudge! Use your imagination and start experimenting. Native Americans used several smudging herbs, such as lavender, mugwort, sweetgrass, and copal incense. Furthermore, see if using prayer beads or even carrying an object of personal significance provides an extra spark when smudging.

The third is the smell. Let’s face it- some herbs are not the most pleasant smelling, and if you’re smudging in a small space, this can be amplified. If this is the case for you, consider adding stronger herbs like basil or peppermint to your smudge bundle. Remember that the smell is part of the healing power of smudging rituals. Working with your nose and not against it can help bring powerful results.

Finally, be conscious of how and where you’re smudging. Some crystals or metals (like copper) may react with your herbs and produce toxic smoke. When in doubt, always use ceramic or clay dishes or shell holders.

With these tips and tricks in mind, you’re ready to resume smudging and enjoy the experience without any hitches. Have fun and happy smudging!


The art of smudging is an important ritual practiced by many cultures, and true enthusiasts take it very seriously.

As we’ve seen, there is a right and wrong way to go about it, and burning certain herbs and items will bring specific intentions. You can easily incorporate smudging into your spiritual rituals and practices with a bit of practice and dedication.

Who knows, maybe you’ll inhale the sweet smell of burning sage more often than you had originally anticipated. So, to sum it up – smudging is an ancient tradition and an effective tool for cleansing your home, thoughts, and soul. Light a smudging bundle with respect, and enjoy the sacred smoke for all its healing properties.

One final thing to note – please adhere to any fire safety precautions when handling flames or anything on fire. If you do not, you risk harming yourself or starting a fire!

Good luck.

References –
(1) “Smudging: A Blessing For Your Home & Life.” Accessed March 8, 2021.
(2) Greer, Lill. “Smudging Rituals: How To Do It The Right Way.” Accessed March 8, 2021.
(3) Walters, Liz. “Smudging: A Simple Ritual To Clear The Negative Energy.” Accessed March 8, 2021.

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