The Practice of Smudging and its Scientific Background: What Really Happens When We Burn Sage

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Since years I have been fascinated by the practice of smudging. In many cultures it’s an old tradition for purification and cleansing, banishing negative energies. After ‘having been smudged’ for a couple of times in various ceremonies, I started noticing the effect of feeling somehow lighter, as if a weight had fallen off my shoulders. So last week, I decided to smudge our apartment and it made a noticeable positive change in its energy. In this article I want to share my experience of how I did it, which herbs I used for it and which effect it had.

Cedar and White Sage for Smudging
The cedar and white sage bundles I used for smudging

Here’s my personal smudging ceremony, step by step:

  • First, I cleaned the entire apartment in the ‘traditional way’, you know: dusting and vacuum cleaning everything. I opened the windows and doors in each room, to give bad energies a way out.
  • Then, starting on the ground floor and then moving my way upstairs, I put in every room a small bowl of himalayan salt in one corner and another bowl of mineral water in the diagonally opposite corner. I was told that the water helps guide the energy, while the salt absorbs it and to only use bowls of natural materials, not plastic.
  • Next, I lit a white candle in the middle of each room, to burn possible negative energies and clean our apartment.
  • As I feel that smudging is a sacred ritual, I briefly meditated, and then centered and ground myself, before I set the intention to fill our home with love and positive energy and to banish all possibly negative energies.
  • Then, I set fire to a small bundle of cedar, as it is known to help against negative emotions.This herb is also used during meditations and for relaxation. I took a small natural container to hold underneath the bundle (it can get quite hot and lose bits of ash during the process, so be careful not to burn yourself). When you ignite a bundle of herbs, it will first start to burn, then the flame will go out and it will begin to smolder. The smoke will do the cleansing and purifying, not the flame. You will need to continue to fan the bundle to keep it smoking.
  • First, I smudged myself, moving the bundle around my body to cleanse my aura. Next, I offered the smoke to the spirits of the North, East, South and West, asking for their blessings and protection. Then I moved on to our apartment. With my hand (you can also use a large feather for this), I fanned the smoke into each and every corner and with clockwise, circular movements, I distributed it evenly through the rooms. Also, I let the smoke enter into the closets and drawers. While doing this, I kept repeating the intention I used in my meditation and asking the negative energies to be replaced with love and positive energies.
  • After the cedar, I lit a bundle of white sage (salvia apiana) and repeated the ceremony of waving . If you want, you can close the windows if you enter the room with the sage, as its scent is quite nice, but I felt I wanted to leave the windows open for a bit longer.
  • I did not use the entire bundle of cedar and sage, so I extinguished them by pressing the top of the bundle firmly in the container (similar to when you extinguish a cigarette I suppose – I am not a smoker 😉 ).
  • Once I finished with the sage, I closed all windows and thanked all positive energies for their blessings and for filling our home.
  • And the effect: the apartment felt much lighter and more balanced afterwards.

Do you want to know more about smudging? Besides spiritual cleansing, it also has a scientifically proven anti-bacterial effect on air-borne bacteria, as you may read in the article I included below.

The practice of smudging dates back to prehistoric times, and is still very much in use today worldwide for cleansing everything from dwellings to human spirits. However recent research has shed light on the popularity of this activity, revealing that burning certain plant matter actually clears harmful bacteria. All Western use of burning herbs and…

Source: The Science Behind Smudging: What Really Happens When We Burn Sage | Spirit Science

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