The Art of Smudging

You may have heard it before “smudge your home to raise your vibration” but what on earth does that even mean? Scientists are continuing to find that our emotions carry energy. Dr. Masaru Emoto discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward them. He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns. Our bodies are made up of mostly water so you can see the connection between our thoughts and perceptions of our bodies and minds can be influenced by the energies around us. “High vibrational energy is energy that is good and strong,” says Marlene Vargas, co-founder of metaphysical shop House of Intuition. “This energy is pure, and it can come from whatever you want to call it—source energy, universe energy, God energy.” On the flip side, a low vibration energy is dark and dense and feels heavy, Vargas says. It’s often associated with negative emotions such as suffering, fear, and anger.

Based on this intel, then, the term “raise your vibration,” reflects that you have a self-awareness of your thoughts and emotions, says Tracee Dunblazier, spiritual empath, and shaman. Many things can be done to help to raise your vibration such as meditation, the use of singing bowls and smudging. Burning sage — also known as smudging — is an ancient spiritual ritual that has become more commonplace. On a physical level the most-used types of sage have antimicrobial properties. This means they keep infectious bacteria, viruses, and fungi at bay. It turns out that sage may help clear the air of lots more than bugs and bacteria. burning sage is thought to release negative ions. This is said to help neutralize positive ions. Common positive ions are allergens like pet dander, pollution, dust and mold. If this is the case, burning sage may be a blessing for those with asthma, allergies, bronchitis, and other respiratory conditions.

The smoke created by burning sacred herbs is thought to purify the body and soul, and bring clarity to the mind. In this way, smudging is also used to cleanse places said to hold negative energy. Smudging has also long been used to connect to the spiritual realm or enhance intuition establishing a positive environment for meditation or another ritual.

What you need

The practice of burning sage or smudging is fairly simple, with few necessary tools.

Basic tools include:

  • a sage bundle (or smudge stick)

  • some recommend a seashell or bowl of ceramic, clay, or glass to hold burning sage or capture ash

  • some recommend matches over a manufactured lighter

  • optional feather or fan for fanning smoke

There are many types of sage usable for smudging. Traditional examples include:

  • white sage (Salvia apiana)

  • other Salvia species

  • white prairie sage or estafiate (Artemisia ludoviciana)

  • other Artemisia species

1. Light the end of a sage bundle with a match. Blow out quickly if it catches on fire.

2. The tips of the leaves should smolder slowly, releasing thick smoke. Direct this smoke around your body and space with one hand while holding the bundle in the other.

3. Allow the incense to linger on the areas of your body or surroundings you’d like to focus on. Using a fan or feather can also help direct the smoke, though this is optional.

4. Allow the ash to collect in a ceramic bowl or shell.

Smudge your home or living space

In this instance, direct sage smoke over all surfaces and spaces in your home or living area. Be thorough.

Some recommend working in a clockwise direction around your home, ending back where you started, especially for spiritual purposes. Others recommend counterclockwise.

Do what feels best for your situation and follow your intuition.


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