California Dried Sage (Loose/Smudge Bundles)
Smudging is an ancient art that is believed to have been practiced by Native Americans for centuries. It’s the name given to the ceremonial, daily act of cleansing and purification which uses a selection of herbs, often sage, which are bundled together with string to form a smudge stick before being ignited.
The smoke that’s emitted from the herb bundle is believed to cleanse negative energy and purify living spaces, as well as people and even objects like tools, furniture, and home decor. Similar to one washing their hands before a meal, it helps to cleanse a person in an energetic bath of aromatic smoke.
Smudging your home, office, or even your body is kind of like taking an energetic shower, or perhaps even spending a day in the mountains, spending time breathing in the fresh air and scent of pine, which offers a direct positive effect on reducing stress levels.
In addition to cleansing the air of unwanted bacteria, the benefits of smudging, including:
Increasing your sense of well-being and improving mental focus. Smudging removes the debilitating effects of excess positive ions in the air in a way that’s been described as a natural antidepressant
Clearing negative energy. The smoke helps to change the molecular structure of both the air and energy, which produces a cleansing effect. As the sense of smell is strongly linked to memory and instinct, smudging is very effective for combating feels of anger, fear, anxiety, grief, and depression.
Clearing the air. In addition to bacteria, smudging can help clear the air of pollen, pet dander, dust, mold spores, and other potential allergens to improve allergy symptoms.
Cleansing objects. Not only can smudging cleanse a room, but it can cleanse objects. Whenever you bring a new object into your home, especially something like an antique that’s likely to have been exposed to negative energy over the years, you can use a smudge stick, allowing the smoke to pass over the time to help clear it so that it doesn’t affect you or your environment.
Relaxing effects. Smudging can offer calming, relaxing effects that are known to help lower blood pressure, relieve stress and tension, and normalize breathing rates, as the negative ions produced are absorbed directly into your bloodstream – they may even help to fight off damaging free radicals that can lead to premature aging and disease.
Increased energy. Studies have found that the negative ions produced also help to normalize serotonin (that well-known feel-good hormone), in the brain, which can help boost one’s mood, improve focus and create a more positive outlook.
Improved sleep. An Italian study showed that negative ions can help improve sleep patterns, also have positive effects on regulating serotonin production.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Loose dried white sage, or a white ceremonial sage bundle, sometimes referred to as a wand and bound together by a thin string. You can usually find them at your local health store, herb shop, metaphysical store, or even online.
- A fire, heat-proof burning surfaces, like a clay bowl or abalone shell.
- Matches or a lighter.
Just before you begin, open up a window for ventilation and then place the herb bundle onto your heat-, fire-proof surface. Light it with the matches or a lighter, and then gently blow out the flame, allowing the material to smolder. Focus your energy on the smoke. If a true flame appears, shake the bundle slightly, or blow on it until it turns to embers and smoke. You may need to re-light the bundle a few times during the smudging process.
Once you have a good amount of smoke going, use your hand or a feather to direct it over your body, moving from your feet all the way up to your head and back again, staying connected to your breathing throughout the session. You may also want to visualize the smoke removing negative energy from your life and home. If you feel comfortable with it, you can also repeat the following incantation: “Air, fire, water, earth. Cleanse, dismiss, dispel.”
This is considered to be a sacred sage ceremony that allows you to shift energy at will.
Now you’re ready to smudge your home.
- Move clockwise around your house, starting at your front door. Gently wave the smoke into your air, focusing especially on the corners of each room, as they’re said to accumulate the most stagnant energy. The entire time, envision the smoke clearing negative energy, waving the smudge bundle up and down as the smoke fills the area.
- Don’t forget about closed spaces, like closets and cabinets – open their doors and carefully smudge the inside too. Be sure to smudge all rooms, including your basement, garage, laundry room, and the like. When you reach each doorway, ask that the room be sealed and protected from this point on while you smudge the outline of the doorway, passing through it to keep any more energy from passing while you conduct the clearing.
- Move directly into the next room following either the floor layout along the walls. Remember to pass the wand over the edges of each window and door as you continue through each room of the house or workspace. In order for the smudging ceremony to be most effective, the smoke needs to cover every room, closet, door, vent, and window. The idea is to walk to each entrance, clearing every room so that you’re pushing all the negative energy out toward the front entrance. Since you want all of the negative energy to leave your home, think of it as trying to direct a fly outside your door.
- Once you’ve smudged your whole house, allow the herb bundle to burn out. You may want to bury the remaining smudge in your garden, as a sign of completing the ritual.
Cleansing after moving into a new home or an argument
If you’ve moved to a new place, or have had a recent argument inside your home, you may want to take it a step further by preparing the rooms first for additional cleansing. To do so, close all windows, cover mirrors, open cabinets, and closet doors, and turn off all of your electronics. Follow the earlier steps by lighting the herb bundle, gently blowing out the flame, and then wafting the smoke through the room.
When to smudge
The smudging ceremony should be performed at least a few times each year, or as often as once a week for regular cleansing. You may also want to do it whenever you’re feeling gloomy or have been surrounded by negative energy that can follow after a group gathering when you’ve been affected by a negative person’s energy or have been involved in an argument. It’s also a good idea to do whenever you move into a new place.