Smudging, when done the right way, clears your mind and space of any negativity. It is a Native American tradition that has survived until now. Why? Because it is very effective. It is also a precursor to any ritual you want to perform.
To smudge is to be able to cross the barrier that separates us from the spiritual realm. It is also a means to communicate with the Divine. It opens up the blocked pathways to allow the Divine to work their magick through us.
As effective as it is, it is easy to get it wrong. Having the wrong mindset (like not believing in it working) or being in the wrong mood, to not knowing how to burn the smudge sticks can spell a disappointing smudging session where you feel like it did not work. One telltale sign of the smudging not being effective is your feeling of it doing nothing and producing no results.
Let this be your checklist before performing a smudging. Ask yourself these questions before you start
Do I Have All the Ingredients Needed To Smudge?
Smudging requires simple ingredients like matches, smudging herbs, and a smudging bowl.
Do I Have The Right Herbs?
Sage is always a popular choice when it comes to smudging. Even the Native Americans used it. Cedar is also another and is a powerful cleansing herb. Sage and Cedar are burned for cleansing. Afterwards, burn sweetgrass to please the spirits.
If you cannot harvest the herbs in your garden for smudging, don’t worry. You don’t need to make them yourself. There are many pre-packed or pre-bundled smudge sticks you can buy.
Are The Herbs In Perfect Condition?
Make sure the herbs you use are dry. This is very important since damp herbs or those with moisture will not produce the right kind of smoke that’s needed in a smudging.
Do I Have The Right Kind Of Smudging Bowl?
The smudging bowl plays a very important role in smudging. Just like the herbs. It is what’s going to catch hot the cinders from the burning herbs, it is where you will place your burning herb to rest, and where you will put out the fire of your smudge stick.
The important thing to consider is the type of material your smudging bowl is made out of. The best and safest one to use is a soapstone smudging bowl. It does not easily break and is heat resistant, making less room for accidents.
When Should I Smudge?
There are many reasons to smudge, like when you move into a new house, start a new marriage or when you welcome a new baby into your house. You can also smudge after hearing bad news or having a bad experience or a long illness.
Am I Ready To Smudge?
Physically, before beginning smudging, make sure to remove all metal objects on your body that do not have a spiritual significance like your belts and watches. You can wear your Wiccan necklaces, that’s totally fine.
Mentally, you should be in a present and peaceful state of mind before smudging. This is not the time to be thinking about chores or bills. This is not the time to think about what to do tomorrow.
Lastly, having faith in the cleansing power of smudging. Do not go into it with a heavy heart full of doubt. You might as well stop what you’re doing since it will not work. Your belief is a greater part of making smudging work.
What Should I Do First?
Once you have everything above covered, the first thing to do is to pray and give thanks to your god or goddess. Ask for their help too in your cleansing ritual. The smoke from the smudge stick is nothing without the blessing of the Divine. Reach out to them and talk to them and let them know your intentions.
How Do I Do It?
- Start by taking a match and striking it against the box to create a fire.
- Holding the smudge stick in your free hand, let the fire catch hold for about 30 seconds.
- Dispose of the match stick.
- The herbs should start producing smoke now.
- With your other hand, hold the smudging bowl and purify yourself by fanning the smoke all over your body.
- Then, walk around the room you want to cleanse. Go from corner to corner and let the smoke fill the room.
- Do not for once drop your intention for smudging. Do not be distracted!
- Every time cinder forms, allow it to drop in the smudging bowl.
- Once you feel like you’ve sufficiently cleansed yourself and the place, extinguish fire of the smudge stick by stubbing it against the bottom of the bowl (although it is best to finish the whole stick.)
- Let the ashes cool and then put them back to the Earth. Give thanks to the Earth for the plants that you used.
Smudging the right way is to cross the barrier that separates us from the spiritual realm and successfully communicate with the Divine to let them work their magick through us.