Smudging My Life Away, part III

Some final (?) thoughts on bringing a smudging practice into your daily routine and life events. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little mini series! I certainly enjoyed sharing some of my practices with you. 

Control Allergens

In our current world, with Covid-19 running rampant through all corners of our existence, the use of sage to purify your surroundings can add some calm to your home and heart. Though don’t stop the practice when someday Covid-19 is no longer a top subject of the day. We smudge ourselves and all purchases when we come home from any outing. But there are a few other benefits to smudging to manage allergens as well.

Do you suffer from allergies? My husband has horrific spring allergies. He has to ‘gear up’ his body about a month before allergy season, and it’s always a guess on the timing. He starts taking allergy medication as soon as the ground defrosts (we live somewhere with all four seasons), but the smudging daily adds a huge level of protection as well. This is because burning sage can help release negative ions and neutralize positive ions. 

Positive ions are allergens like pet dander, pollution, dust, and mold. Burning sage can help control the levels of these allergens around you and in turn help manage your allergic reactions to them. The spring months are when we go through the most sage in our house, for sure. 

While the fact that smudging can help rid our environment of allergens should be enough to bring the practice into all of our homes, there is so much more that it can do for you!

Deeper Meditations

Even the most peaceful of us can find negative energy in our home and heart at times. Sometimes it comes from conflicts we carry or energy a visitor left behind. Some negative energy is difficult to discover and some is easily recognizable. But the simple practice of smudging can help us release it and find focus to move intentionally through the negative energy and discover it’s lesson. 

Whatever the level of negative energy you are wanting to dispel, smudging with sage can provide the energy shift you are seeking. Doing a deep smudging experience prior to an intentional meditation practice to clear your mind of excessive chatter, can help you find calm quicker. The act of performing a smudging ritual, as well as sages’ aromatic changes to your space, can calm and quiet our spirits when our minds are loud. 

Secondhand Success

I love to buy second-hand; antique shops, estate sales, garage sales, facebook marketplace. I love finding that piece of furniture or lamp that has exactly the right character I can’t find at the cookie cutter stores. I also love hand-me-down clothing from my sister and stylish friends. But buyer beware! Second-hand items come with second-hand energy. Smudging can clear out the old and bring in the new. 

Note: your biggest and most second-hand energy heavy item is likely your home – even if you built new (no matter where you are ‘building new’, someone or some animal, at some time, lived on that piece of earth). Smudging your home and property can open the windows for old energies to leave and open the doors for new energies to arrive. Especially if you are renting, this is an important step to complete prior to move in. 

You can use the smoke from sage to clean impurities off items and prepare that item to redirect it’s energetic connection to you, it’s new caretaker.

  • Grab a bundle and light one end
  • As the smoke emerges, wave the bundle around the item you’re clearing 
    • Smudging that secondhand chair or dresser is pretty easy and straightforward
    • Smudging your new home is a many layered complex task (do not attempt alone, bring in professional guidance)
  • As the sage smoke engulfs the item you are smudging, chant a prayer to release the old energies it knows (“I release the past from you”)
  • Work your way around the entire item with the smoke from the sage 
    • You can use a hand fan to help move the smoke where you need it 
  • Once the smoke from the sage clears, light one end of a braid of sweetgrass
  • Follow the same steps to work the sweetgrass smoke around the item, this time chant a prayer to welcome in new energy (“I welcome the future”) *note: Sweetgrass burns out quickly, keep your lighter at the ready to relight as needed. 

Keeping Bugs at Bay

Burning sage when entertaining on the back deck or while out in the wilderness camping is a must for me. The scent of sage helps keeps flies and mosquitoes away, which makes the entire outdoor experience that much nicer in my view, and no pesticides are needed! 

For keeping the bugs away from you and your friends you will want a continual, or close to continual burn while you are outside. This is particularly well suited to bundled sage. Light one end of a bundle to where it’s going good and strong, then lay it in the abalone shell to burn as you socialize. If your bundle is still burning at the end of the night, you can use it to smudge yourself and your space before tapping it out.

When you are out camping, of course, be mindful of the local burn laws and regulations. If permitted to have a fire, you can use loose leaf sage and occasionally toss a small handful onto the campfire throughout the evening. As the night wraps up, you can toss on a final handful while cleaning up, then fan some of the final campfire smoke around yourself before sleep.

I use sage daily for cleansing and purifying. Some days it’s only to clear my mind of the story I watch on whatever movie or tv show we are watching these days. Other days I need to calm my anxieties as a friend or loved one has moved on. Every time, for every reason, smudging has never failed me.

I hope you find it to be your go-to energy changer as well! 


Smudging My Life Away, part II

I’ve heard from a few folks about what might be reasons for smudging their living spaces, as well as wanting some detailed instructions to do so. So here are the biggest inquiries I had and how to use smudging for a deeper change to the energy in which you are living.

When a child grows from toddler to teen, their room needs to be reinvented with them as they develop into this new stage of themselves. And again from teen to young adult. Heck, do this again if an adult child finds their way back home for a while also. Or if you happen to take on caring for a parent or other loved one and they move in with you. Even if you are just taking on a new roommate, this is a great process to welcome their energy to grow and expand while in your home. (this is the most impactful when performed in an emptied room)

  • Open every window in the room.
  • At the door (with door closed), standing outside and facing in, light a bundle of sage.
  • With the door remaining closed, work your sage smoke from the lower right corner of the door, up the right side, across the top to the left and down the left side. Moving in a counterclockwise direction unwinds things, in this case removes the old energies from this doorway.
  • Open the door and waft in some smoke before you enter. Then intentionally step into the room taking in a deep breath and accepting the power to bring change to this space. 
  • Work your way through the room in a counterclockwise direction. Hitting all the corners of the room, at the floor and the ceiling. 
  • Allow the smoke from the bundle to bellow out against each wall, out through every window, into the closet spaces, and across the ceiling.
  • All the while chant some intentions for these actions. 
    • suggestion for child’s room: Goodbye to the child you have been, we close this chapter, we clear for the new.
    • suggestion for most other new occupants: Thank this room for what you have provided to our home, we are preparing for a new use to your space. 
  • As you complete the counterclockwise walk, smudge the door frame from the inside, moving from the lower left corner as you did upon entering, then exit the room.
  • Close the door after exiting.
  • Allow the room to clear of smoke completely, however long that takes. You can peek in the room every 30mins to see if the room is clear.
  • Then perform all the steps again, though in a clockwise direction now. Moving in a clockwise direction is moving energy forward, it’s stirring things up to get them creating something new. 
  • With the door closed start bellowing out your sage at the lower left corner of the door, working your way up the left side and across the top to the right, then down the right side.
  • Open the door and waft in some smoke before your enter. Now intentionally enter the room, taking in a deep breath and once again accepting the power to bring change to this space.
  • Work your way through the room, now in a clockwise direction. Hitting all the corners of the room, at the floor and the ceiling. 
  • You again will allow the smoke to bellow against each wall, out through the windows, into the closet spaces, and across the ceiling.
  • Chant again for these actions you are taking and why.
    • Suggestion for a child’s room: Chant about your hopes for this young person. You will now be inviting in the future of this young soul, the discovery of who they will be, and the wonders they shall discover in this space. 
    • Suggestion for a new occupant of almost any other kind: Chant about this new occupant finding peace and prosperity while sharing this home with you. Invite the energy to help the occupant heal from old wounds and brave forward to a new path. Whatever is suitable for the situation, each one is so uniquely personal. 
  • As you complete the clockwise walk, smudge the doorframe from the lower left corner to the lower right corner and exit the room.
    • Leave the door open! When you are wanting to invite in new energy, leave the door open for it! 
  • Let the room clear of smoke again and then proceed to move in and redecorate as desired. Absolutely allow the occupant of the room to voice opinions and participate in the move in process. 

Before or after any social event! Dinner party, game night, birthday parties, holiday parties, etc….they all bring friends and loved ones through your home, who all carry in their own energy, good or challenging as it may be. Here is what I like to do before and after those gatherings. 

  • About an hour before your guests arrive, smudge your home. Your house can be set up and ready, but you want to do this before the first guest arrives. 
    • Grab your abalone shell, lighter and sage bundle.
    • Start outside your home with the front door open, holding your supplies. 
    • Light your sage and smudge the exterior of your doorway in a clockwise direction. Waft in some smoke as if you were ushering in a welcome guest.
    • Step through the door into the home and walk in a clockwise direction through every room where you expect guests will be (don’t forget the bathrooms!).
    • Repeat words of joy and togetherness, a wish for the event, or something along those lines as you work through the house.
    • Make a full rotation through the house so you end back at the front door.
    • Say a final prayer for the gathering and find an intentional spot near the front door for the abalone shell and sage to rest, preferably outside, until the end of the event.
  • After the last guest leaves, no matter how late it is or tired you are, take the time to smudge and clear the house again. You can do this before you cleanup from the event, but if you do, I suggest doing it again after you’ve cleaned everything up and reset your house back to itself. If it’s late and you decide to clean up the next day, at least do a quick smudge through the house before you go to bed, then smudge again after you have cleaned up and reset your home the next day.
    • Pick up the abalone shell from where you left it before the party began, standing inside the house, at the front door, light your sage and get the smoke bellowing. 
    • Smudge yourself, then begin walking in a counterclockwise direction through all areas of the house where guests have been (don’t forget the bathrooms!). 
    • Repeat some words to release the energies your guests brought, thank your guests for their visit, wish your guests light and love in whatever comes next for them.
    • Make a full rotation through the home so you once again end up back at the front door.
    • Open the door, say a final prayer of gratitude for all these beautiful friends you spent time with, and let the smoke bellow out the door taking those prayers to the heavens. 

Some other ideas for smudging as energy changes. 

  • When you buy or sell a home! Though both the buying or selling of a home is one clearing I strongly suggest you use a professional for, you can DIY. Of course, for a truly meaningful smudging, it’s a bit more involved than anything I’ve shared yet, so maybe this will be it’s own blog post!
  • To welcome a new family member! Whether you are birthing a child, adopting a child, adopting a pet, getting married, etc. when a new person or animal joins your life, you can welcome them with smudging and intentional words of prayer. 
  • It’s also very calming to use during end of life, helping a departing soul move gracefully to the next realm. While it’s always painful for those of us left behind, it can be scary and uncomfortable for those leaving as well. The scent of white sage alone calms the deepest parts of our ancestral soul. 
  • When you start a new job or start a new relationship. And of course, when you lose a job or end a relationship. 
  • When you sell a car or buy a new one (especially if it’s a second hand vehicle)!
  • When you remodel or redecorate a room. 
  • When you start your garden each year and when you close the garden for the season. Or before and after you do any landscaping work in your yard!
  • You can smudge your mail or gifts before you open them.
  • I smudge my cat after he has been in a fight! 

There is always a reason to clear the air and start anew. What will you smudge today?


Smudging My Life Away

I love to smudge. It is my go-to ritual when I’m feeling blessed or stressed. As I began to write this, I found that I had so much to say about smudging, that I had to make this a multi-part series! 

This will be a little mini-series on the joys of smudging, and I hope you enjoy it!

White sage is the most highly used spiritual medicine in our house. We smudge ourselves, our cats, and our home spaces on a daily basis. We use it so much we buy it loose in 5lbs bags! We have often been gifted it in bundles from friends (we have a sweat lodge in the backyard!), and as of this writing, there are three abalone shells with sage in them around the property. 

Smudging is a normal practice in our home and in our lives. 

Smudging (burning sage) is an ancient spiritual ritual established as a Native American cultural and tribal practice. Of course, many spiritual cultures around the world share similar rituals with the same or similar plants. Some call is cleansing, some call is clearing, some call it smudging. All would agree that the practice of purifying with plants like sage or sweetgrass can improve the energy within which we live as well as the energy which we carry. Smudging can clear out our spiritual impurities, pathogens, and even insects from our environment!

I smudge daily, at least once. When I meditate, before/after consultations, before/after difficult conversations, when I’m gaming so the dice roll well, before and after cleaning the house…you get the idea. I smudge all the time because I love how it purifies my focus to the task at hand, the scent soothes me and it clears my surroundings with ease! The fragrance calms me and the practice centers me. What more could I ask for?

Some caution: If you suffer from asthma or bronchitis, be careful to not inhale the sage smoke directly while smudging. The sage smoke can aggravate respiratory conditions. Be sure to fan the smoke away from you while you are smudging and to let the room clear of smoke before using it again. Remember to open all the windows before you start too!

Tools of the Practice

You will need three items to complete a simple smudge ceremony; sage to burn, a heat-safe container, and a lighter. Well, some good intentions also, so I guess you need four things.

Purchasing sage in bundles is often the easiest to work with for purifying and clearings (something like this). You can find many smudge bundles mixed with so many other plants, don’t be afraid to experiment! I love sage with lavender, and we use sage with cedar in bundles too. For me, white sage or sweetgrass are my choice of plants for smudging. 

White prairie sage (Artemisia ludoviciana) is a staple in this house and as an added bonus it’s antimicrobial and antibacterial. White sage (Salvia apian) has antimicrobial properties as well. Both of these sage types have also been shown to repel insects and are a great addition to have burning during any outdoor gathering (once we can gather again). We buy ours in loose leaf (something like this) as we are often burning either a very small or large amount or using it in the fire for a sweat lodge ceremony. 

You will want an abalone shell or other ash-safe container to use with your sage (something like this or this). And a fan or feather to help move the smoke about the space, but it isn’t vital (something like this or this). I often forego the fan and just use my hand, so you can skip that tool if desired. You can also use just a card stock piece of paper, though I would write some intentions on that if you go that route. There are also a plethora of choices for starter kits (something like this). If you have a Native American Trading post near you, they will likely have all the supplies you need. 

Then all you need is a quality lighter and some well-focused intentional thoughts! 

Now what to do with these new supplies…clean and clear the air of just about anything you find undesirable, create a welcoming and relaxing environment for yourself and guests, manage allergens and pesky insects, say hello or goodbye to those we love, celebrate any event or life experience…the list goes on and on. Here are some ideas to start with. 

Our number one use for smudging is clearing the air

Arguments happen. In our house, I’m grateful to say, not too often. But they do happen. When tensions start to rise, if one of you can remain aware and bring in the sage to help calm nerves, you may be surprised by it’s power. But often that isn’t the case, and the tensions lead to arguing and potentially someone is feeling hurt. 

If you can’t calm your energies before they erupt, do try to use some sage to clear the air of the space where the argument happened after the fact. Without a quality smudging out of the tense and angry energy you and your argument companion created, it will present itself again, and again. A clearing is essential to opening a pathway to peace; between you two and anyone else that might come through that space.

note: It’s also wonderful after a tough zoom meeting, phone call, or even a scary movie!

The scent of sage is calming and soothing for most people, in an unconscious ancestral way. If there has been tension in your day, coming home and smudging can help release the stressful energy from your soul and bring a calmer state to your mind. 

  • Grab a bundle of sage and light one end
  • As the smoke emerges, work the smoke around your entire body, starting with the bottoms of your feet
    • Imagine you are sweeping away the energy of the uncomfortable experience
    • Work the smoke from the sole of your feet, up each leg, around your torso, around each arm and finish around your head and up towards the sky as if you were pulling all the tension from you and sending it away
  • Speak out loud or speak silently to yourself, the important factor is finding words to describe what you want this sage smoke to accomplish (calm my nerves, bring me strength, ease my stress or pain, open my mind, etc)
  • You can use a hand fan or even a heavyweight piece of paper
    • If you use a piece of paper, I suggest writing some words of love and peace on it before using it in a smudging ceremony
  • Once finished, lay your smudge bundle in your heat-safe container until it dies out

You can follow a similar smudging process to lock in wonderful energies also! A smudge can bless any moment in life. It can burn slowly in the background of a backyard party. It can awaken and enliven the energy when a new baby or animal is brought to the home. It can be a part of your pre-party setup when friends and family are coming for dinner. The options are endless.

We will talk about all these wonderful uses and more in the next post of this smudging mini-series!