Smudging is the practice of burning an herb or combination of herbs with the intent of banishing negative energies from oneself and one’s space. Many indigenous cultures ritually burn herbs or incense as a means of cleansing and protecting the physical and spiritual bodies. A smudge mixture is created with herbs that have specific desirable qualities. The herbs are lit and the flame is blown out, so that the herbs can slowly smolder. The resulting smoke is directed as needed to cleanse the body, the space, healing tools and/or ceremonial objects.
Smudging is often used at the beginning and end of ceremony, as a part of “spiritual hygiene.” It is a simple and profound practice that brings physical, spiritual and emotional balance. Smudge can be used as a ritual when returning home to cleanse yourself from the busy-ness of the day and the stress of traffic. Smudging can to keep your home (or any other place) a sacred space free from unwanted energies.
Smudge is created in many forms. Different herbs are used for different purposes, depending upon the tradition. Herbs are sometimes gathered in bundles and dried to make ‘smudge sticks’. Some herbs, like sweetgrass are dried in braids. The smoke from smudge sticks and braids is directed by waving the braid or stick as the herbs continue to smolder. Some herbs and resins (copal, dragon’s blood) are sprinkled on a hot coal burning in a heatproof vessel. Charcoal disks can be used for this purpose.
Sweet Medicine Shoppe makes its own proprietary blend of smudge, from White Sage, Cedar and Lavender. The Sage banishes negative energies, the Cedar balances and the Lavender brings beauty. We make our smudge in a loose blend of herbs that are placed in a vessel (abalone shell or ceramic bowl) for burning. The smoke is directed by wafting the smoke around you with your hand, a feather or fan. We also offer several smudge kits, which include beautiful items required for smudging.
Some safety tips
Be sure to use a bowl/vessel that can withstand heat so it will not crack.
After you light the smudge, you can blow the flame out. The herbs should smolder for a few minutes. The idea behind burning herbs is to release their energy and fragrance, not to fill the room or your lungs with smoke.
Avoid fire hazards: Never leave your smudge sticks, candles or charcoal unattended. To put out your smudge:
tamp the braid or stick as you would a cigarette
remove the charcoal from the herbs, tamp it with a spoon to extinguish
use a stick or spoon to extinguish smoldering herbs.
Note: Children, folks with respiratory ailments, and some pregnant women may be sensitive to smudging. Be especially careful with infants. Support their developing lungs by smudging lightly or not at all. For these situations, as well as when you can't burn, we have a smokeless smudge mist available.