The part of herbalism that brings me the most joy is sharing what I know and helping others find their personal practices. A number of the questions people ask me revolve around smudging, how to do it, and what to use.
Tools vary although the process is relatively similar, but the truth is, 90% of smudging is intention. You must be personally invested in the process, emotionally committed to the energetic shift, and have the time and space to devote to smudging.
When you first start smudging, like many of us, you might set out a dish of herbs to burn or crack open a bottle of a smokeless-smudge blend. This is a great way to get started! Obviously you’ve done a little research, maybe talked to someone about their experience, and invested in a smudging tool that most resonated with you. After your smudging ceremony, you’ll be able to feel a shift in the energy of your home (or space you’re smudging). If you’re feeling like you’ve done a thorough smudging but the energy still isn’t quite where you hoped it would be, here are a few things to consider:
- Were you ready? I don’t mean did you have sage and a lighter, I mean, were you emotionally and mentally ready? Release any self-doubts, take a deep breath, and allow your intuition to guide you. There is no wrong way to smudge as long as you hold your intention and focus on what you desire to manifest. Any fear, anxiety, or uncertain feelings are what you will carry through the process and thus be putting into your space. If you’re not ready to smudge, wait. It’s best to be in a healthy, happy, and productive head space than to set energy less than ideal.
- Did you rush? While speed is often ideal, smudging cannot and should not be rushed. If can be tempting to squeeze in a quick smudge after a rough day but know that what you put in is what you will get out. If you only have a few minutes before bed to smudge, still do it but know this is more of a ‘spot-cleaning’ than a ‘deep-clean’. This quick hit of energy can be just what you need but do be sure you are meeting your true needs and not just using a bandage on a larger wound. Develop a smudging mantra and just the pace of your words to set the pace of your actions. Sink into the meditative nature of smudging and enjoy the process.
- Was someone else with you? Sometimes, smudging is best as a solitary practice. Having another person with you can complicate the energy, especially if the other person is not on the same page with your smudging. Conversely, smudging with a partner can be even more powerful when the situation and energy call for it. The best way to figure out the most powerful dynamic is trial and error. For me, I like to smudge on Sunday afternoons for the week ahead when my husband is out doing the grocery shopping; however, we often smudge together for holidays and sabbats as we are focusing on our collective energy.
Being thorough in your smudging practice is something that takes time and attention but always is worth the full effort. You opened every cabinet, drawer, door, and got into every nook and cranny but again, if you’re feeling like there is some yucky energy still lingering, consider some spots you might have missed:
- The front door – Don’t forget to open your doors while you smudge. Not only will this allow negativity a path to leave, it also shows us an important spot we often miss; in-between the screen and storm doors. If you’re home has this double set of doors, don’t forget the space between them.
- The living room – Our living rooms often have the most furniture and thus the most about of space taken up by ‘stuff’. This means this room will often take the most time to smudge and require us to put down our tools and move things around. Spend the extra time in this space! Get behind the curtains, under the couch, behind the TV, in-between the houseplants, into the bookshelf, and around all the lighting fixtures and lamp shades.
- The bedroom – One spot that is difficult to get to but holds so much energy is the space under our beds. The common acceptance of monsters under the bed isn’t so far fetched when we think of our energetic monsters. Whether you sleep solo or share your slumber space, our beds are where we process the days emotions and events as we drift into dreaming. Whether it be anger or ecstasy, anxiety or excitement, all our emotions gather with the dust bunnies and need to be swept out. If you can’t effectively get under or move you bed, try the assistance of a small fan to blow smudge smoke or spray to the areas you cannot reach. This extra effect always makes a huge difference and you might find it a bit easier to fall asleep in the nights following this deep energetic cleaning.
- The kitchen – Our kitchens are where we keep the food that we ingest to nourish us. You may have opened up the cabinets but don’t forget your fridge and freezer. When we think of all the hands our food has passed through before it gets to us, chances are it’s picked up a spectrum of energy along the journey. Give your food as much effort as your living space and imbue the intention that it nourish you physically, mentally, emotionally, and spirituality. This is always a great opportunity to thank the Earth for it’s yummy gifts and express gratitude for the abundance in your cabinets.
- The bathroom – Pull back the shower curtain! Yes, energy can try to avoid and hide from us and there’s no better place than behind the shower curtain. If you we’re like me as a kid, the mystery of what could be lurking in the shower always warranted hitting the curtain to make sure no one was hiding. I’m not implying that there is anything nefarious hiding in your tub, only that it is an overlooked space where energy can collect. For many of us we do a lot of emotional processing and preparing while we bathe so having an energetic clear space is essential.
- Utility closet – No matter if they’re in your bathroom, kitchen, basement, or a utility closet, your washer and dryer play a huge role in physical cleaning. Those jeans your wore when you had a bad day have been washed of their dirt and grime but the energy of that day could still be spinning in the rinse cycle. Open up your washer and dryer to get into the spaces inside and leave the doors open a bit as to not hold in the energy you uncover.
- The basement – If you’re like me, the basement is your least favorite part of your home (I’m pretty sure I’m still carrying some past-life basement baggage but that’s a topic for another day). Basements are where movies and TV tell us that spooky things live and crimes happen. While I’m sure you’re home is free of both because we do not spend significant time in our basements (typically), they tend to be places lacking in energy as compared to the rest of our homes (perhaps that’s where the spookiness comes from). Brave the hum of your furnace, electrical box, and hot water heater and show the utility center of your home some love. Use your intention to set the vibrations of your machinery to radiate love and happiness throughout your home. When you think of this space as the heart of your home pumping heat, water, and electricity through your home’s veins, this space will take on a whole new sacred meaning.
- The attic – Typically used for storage, energy can be stored just as much as our stuff and things. Whether it’s joy with the holiday decorations or grief with the possessions of a passed loved one, this is truly the space where energy collects with very little movement. Release the emotional heaviness in your attic and you might find the rest of your home feels a bit lighter. Focus on the positive memories and activity you associate with your items and visualize this space as a energetic helmet protecting the entire contents of your home.
- Throughout the house – Once you’ve done a complete once-over, flip on your ceiling fans, open the windows, and swing the doors wide. You might have stirred up more energetic dust than you realize and it’s time to give it all a place to go; out and away. An energetic deep-clean smudging is ideal for any new home, before and after a major life shift, or when the seasons change. When you utilize these opportunities to smudge thoroughly, you’ll be able to maintain the energy with smudging touch-ups on a regular basis.
Looking for some tools to get started with smudging? Check out all our Nor’Eastern Herb smudging tools: Smudging Tools