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Smudges and Incense
What Is Smudging?
Smudging a way to energetically cleanse a space to invite positive energy. When smudging a space, you burn plant material. The smoke fills and purifies the environment.
White sage is probably the most common and popular herb for smudging. It is associated with purity and has a strong and heavy presence. It's definitely useful for when you need a major space cleansing.
As the smoke ascends, our wishes and intentions rise and mingle into the universe, connecting heaven, earth, and humanity.
Smoke offerings are found in Buddhism, Indigenous practices in the U.S., and many other spiritual religions. The smoke ceremony creates transformation and blesses a space and the inhabitants.
Smudging is traditionally a ceremony for purifying or cleansing the soul of negative thoughts of a person or place. There are four elements involved in a smudge:
The container, traditionally a shell representing water, is the first element.
The four sacred plants (cedar, sage, sweetgrass, bay leaves, palo santo, etc.), gifts from mother earth, represent the second element.
The fire produced from lighting the sacred plants represents the third element.
The smoke produced from the fire represents air, the fourth element.
During a smudge plant leaves or stems are placed in the container and ignited (preferably with a wooden match). The flames are then gently blown out and the smoke, which heals the mind, heart and body, is wafted over the person, either by hand or with an feather. The person being smudged pulls the smoke to them and gently inhales the smoke. The ashes traditionally are returned to mother earth by disposing them outside on bare soil - it is believed that the negative thoughts and feelings have been absorbed by the ashes. A person can smudge themselves, or, someone can lead a smudge by holding the container and directing the smoke over others.
Smudging is also used to clear negative energy from rooms and homes: