Updated: Apr 25, 2019
For thousands of years, cultures around the world have believed that a person’s energy is like perfume—once you come in contact with someone else’s vibes, good or bad, they tend to linger for a while.
And just like a date’s overpowering cologne might require a hot shower to remove, the best way to rid your space of any negativity you’ve inadvertently tracked home is through a cleansing ritual called smudging.
Where did the practice originate?
Burning sage — also known as smudging — is an ancient spiritual ritual.
Smudging has been well established as a Native American cultural or tribal practice, although it isn’t practiced by all groups. We have the traditions of many Native American peoples to thank for its use. This includes the Lakota, Chumash, Cahuilla, among others. Many other cultures around the world share similar rituals.
Smudging your sacred space, your home or office, or even your body with sage is like taking an energetic shower, or doing a deep metaphysical cleansing. The smoke from dried sage actually changes the ionic composition of the air, and can have a direct effect on reducing our stress response.
Some ideal (or necessary) times to sage smudge your aura and/or space would be:
When you move into a new living space
When you begin a new job or start your own business
Before and after a guest enters your home
Before and after a yoga or healing session
After an argument or any illness
Upon returning home from crowded situations
How burning sage works
Research has proven that burning sage removes a whopping 94% of bacteria in the air. When the researchers tested the air a day later, it was still clean. The smoke “smudges” the air in the room and the properties in the smoke kill most of the existing bacteria in the air. Unlike chemical air “purifiers” that only mask the smells in the air, sage is 100% natural and will not cause allergic reactions for people with scent sensitivities. It also smells great!
The importance of clean air
There are many reasons why people are concerned about the air quality in their homes. The primary reason is health related. Poor air quality can cause:
Don’t panic just yet! The chronic health issues mentioned happen as a result of long term exposure to polluted air. But, some of the health issues could be a result of the poor air quality in your home. Burning sage is a cost effective and natural way to clean the air and put your worries to rest.
3 steps to smudge your home
1. Stock up on sticks or loose leaves of dried ceremonial white sage. (Palo santo, a sacred Peruvian wood, and copal resin incense also do the trick.)
2. Starting on the lowest level of your space, move room to room and use your hand or a feather to waft the smoke into all four corners, where the ceiling and walls meet. Then, direct the smoke out through windows and doorways.
Once you’ve finished smudging, extinguish your sage by rubbing it in dirt or sand, on concrete, or stamping it out in a ceramic bowl. (Whatever you do, just don’t put sticks out in water—you won’t be able to use them again.)
3. Once you cleanse a space, the energy often neutralizes. At this moment, it’s important to fill the space with the energy of love. It's recommended bring in some fresh rose petals or spraying rose water.