The Joyful Anthology

On Smudging


If you come to my home, you’re likely to experience the smells of sage and palo santo burning with a Fornasetti candle and something cooking in the oven.


While Smudging does not need to be done daily, I have become accustomed to the practice of clearing out, and I feel satiated by the smells of sage and palo santo. Candles of various spicy smells enhance the aroma depending on my moods. I was introduced to smudging years ago by a shamanic healer and was curious about what smudging was all about. As I embarked on meditation and breath work practices more recently, I got hooked on the practice of smudging to clear out energy and cleanse spaces.




Smudging is a critical first step in any sacred ritual, as well as an important way to complete and seal sacred work. Smudging is an ancient practice to clear low vibrations and stuck energies. Burning sacred herbs derived from Native American tradition is a method for energetically (and sometimes physically) cleansing a space. Going way back, our ancestors believed that sacred smoke raises vibrations and assists with magic. So when we smudge today, we also connect with our lineage in a powerful way.






How to Choose Your Smudge:

It is important to know that all plants are sacred, not just sage. Different plants carry varying properties and benefits, so if you hold a specific intention for your smudging ritual, you should select an herb that resonates with said intention. If you are drawn to a specific smudge, trust that intuitive calling. There is an underlying reason and purpose.


I created my own White Sage bundles with rose petals and other flowers. They make for beautiful gifts and also look beautiful when setting out on a coffee table.





Palo Santo is an ancient and powerful healing wood from Peru that has been used by shamans for centuries.

Sweet Grass purifies your space and energy, while invoking the Divine Feminine.

Black Sage  can be wrapped in red and black string and are a popular offering for those seeking protection.


How to Smudge:

I always crack my window first to allow the negative energy out.

Light one end of your smudge, allowing it to catch fire and burn for several seconds. Once the flame extinguishes gently blow on the lit end to fan the edges. The smudge will begin to glow and smoke.

As the smoke rises into the air, picture your intention, whatever it may be. If you are clearing negative energy, picture its density and see it lifting away. If you are seeking  healing, imagine the smoke cleansing any illness or injury. Envision it floating away on the smoke. You can say a mantra or prayer. Use your hands or a feather to waft the smoke and to guide the smoke over yourself and around your sacred space. In native culture, it is tradition is to begin facing east, then turn south, west, and north before finally turning east again. The beauty of smudging is that it can be done at any time, as often as you f need, no matter your background or culture.


Smudging Tips:


It’s important to smudge the corners of a room to remove stagnant or stuck energy.

I smudge myself from top to bottom after being in hectic environments or after a stressful day.

It’s also imperative to smudge after an argument or any negative emotional experience.

When I purchase something vintage or antique, I make sure to smudge them as soon as they are brought home.

When traveling, I always bring a smudge stick and smudge the space upon arriving. We never know who was there before and what energies might be stagnant in the space.


Sacred Herbs for Smudging:

Listed below are some basic properties for various herbs. These herbs have been used for centuries in the Far East, Middle East, Native North, and South American cultures:


Alfalfa – associated with psychic abilities, and attracting animal spirits.
Allspice – for uplifting and increasing energy, and determination.
Amaranth – for healing, protection, vulnerability, especially healing of broken hearts.
Aspen – for ascension, protection, and overcoming fears.
Basil – for attracting love, happiness, peace, and money; steadies the mind.
Bay Leaves – for psychic power, divination, success, and money; invoking wish magic.
Blue Spruce – the symbol of pure intentions, generosity, and giving.
Calendula – for love and constancy.
Catnip – attracts good spirits and great luck. For love, beauty, and happiness.
Cedar – banishes fear and enhances psychic powers.
Chamomile – for protection and purification.
Cinnamon – when burned raises high spiritual vibrations and aids healing.
Cloves – for protection and exorcism; attracting opposite sex.
Coastal Sage or Artemisia Californica – for clearing negative energies and healing holes or tears in the aura.
Dandelion – for divination, spirit calling, and wish magic.
Dill – for protection, luck, money, and lust.
Eucalyptus – for healing and protection.
Frankincense resin – reduces stress, eases tension, and connects you with Source energy.
Ginger – adds power to any magical activity, speeds things up; brings passion.
Lavender – brings peace, relaxation, and restful sleep; purity and love.
Lemongrass – for cleansing and purifying, removing obstacles, and opening doors.
Lilac – for protection and exorcism.
Mugwort or Artemisia Vulgaris – brings clarity and develops/deepens psychic abilities.
Myrrh resin – for physical healing and grounding.
Palo Santo – for deep healing to the physical body; can be used to clear a home of energies associated with illness.
Peppermint – for purity, protection, release, and renewal.
Pinon Pine resin – protective, healing, and nurturing.
Rosemary – for removing negative energies associated with sickness, and clearing.
Sage Flowers – for cleansing and releasing negative energies; brings wisdom and purity.
Thyme – excellent for releasing ceremonies; allows us to recall the past without pain.
White Sage or Salvia Apiana – used to clear negative energies from objects, space, or people.

Photos in this story by June Kim

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