The Sacred Art of Smudging

The Sacred Art of Smudging

  • By - Corina Javier
  • 01 November, 2017

The Sacred Art of Smudging

         Smudging ritual is an act of purification through the use of sacred smoke of chosen herbs, allowing it to disperse all throughout the space to clear negative energies. Smudging also helps rejuvenating the spirit, open the heart and mind, helping one feel lighter, stronger and aligned on the spiritual realm.

     Shamanic smudging originated from North and South America, European peasants and Siberian shamans. It involves ritualistic burning of herbs and incense that produce smoke and aroma which release a high vibrational energy that provides access to the soul and power of plant for ceremonial, spiritual and magical use. The smoke is also used as an offering to create harmony and peace; purification and healing protection of physical and spiritual bodies.

Sacred Herbs used in Smudging

     The most conventional herbs used for purification are sage, sweetgrass, cedar and tobacco. Not surprisingly, these are also four of the most sacred plants in the world.

      Smudging is used as spiritual cleansing and purification, calling for balance and harmony, invocation of spirits, acquiring healing powers and conveying prayers.

Traditional smudge stick often comes in a bundle and rather small amount for easier handling. Smudge sticks are used for offerings, ceremonial purposes or simply for producing ancient aromas. Some other herbs come in a loose or braided form such as the sweet grass. Since the smoke is inhaled, it is important that the bundles are from fine finest-quality; sacred herbs should be organically grown and is pesticide free.

Sage is one of the most popular since ancient times. From its word origin, Latin word “salvare”, it means “to heal”. Its element is air. And studies have shown that the smoke of burning sage literally changes the ionization polarity of the air. 


Desert Sage is great for purification of mind, body and spirit even other sacred items such as magical tools, pipes, tarot decks and eagle feathers. It is also great for house, area and aura cleansing. The scent of it is somewhat light, sharp and refreshing.

White Broadleaf Sage is perfect for meditation, cleansing, purification and divination. It is considered as the “King of all sages” and highly prized among other sages for its strong aromatic properties.

Sweetgrass is traditionally used and great for cleansing sacred space that helps us to reconnect to our core being and believed to invite good spirits. It is rare and can be only be found growing wild in a very few places. Its fragrance doesn’t last long but has a sweet and light scent.

Cedar is offered to the fire to smudge the lodge and people thus the smoke is wafted to ward away sickness.

Tobacco represents the Eastern Direction and the mind. It is used to connect the worlds since the plant’s roots go deep into the earth, and its smoke rises high into the sky. It highly respected and honoured because Ancient People believe that it opens the door to the creator, and the bond made between earthly and spiritual realms is not to be broken.

Sage can also be mixed with dried flowers, other herbs and barks and can be personalized accordingly.

Cedar & Sage is a combination that sustains perfect balance for cleansing and rejuvenating atmosphere.

Rose is used for contacting powers and beings in other dimension thru meditation.  It is traditionally associated with attracting love, stimulating sexual appetites, conferring peace and enhancing beauty. Its element is primarily water. Its fragrance last long time after burning; the scent is aromatic with a hint of sharpness, heavy and warm.

Lavender is used for attracting happiness, peace and restful sleep. It helps diminish depression, grief and sorrow and aids in meditation and traditionally associated with fairies and elves. The element is primarily air. The fragrance is light aromatic and refreshing.


Rosemary is used in divination and psychic communication. These are excellent for rejuvenating the senses and reviving life force.



Lemongrass is used for meditation and divination. It is believe to enhance psychic abilities, magical protection, healing and spiritual strength.


Juniper is used since ancient time for temple cleansing and purification. It is also believe to enhance clairvoyance and stimulate contact with other worlds. It is good and effective in reviving a tired body, mind or spirit. Its element is primarily fire.  Its scent which is sharp and piney can last a long time.

Myrrh Resin is used since ancient Egyptians times for rituals of healing and passing. Egyptians are also known for embalming practices and it is one of the ingredients they used. The resin is gathered from the Commiphora Molmol, the almost leafless Middle Eastern shrub. It is used for meditation, spirituality, confidence, happiness, release, strength, stability and transformation. Its element is primarily earth, however like the Juniper it can also be used for four-element general purposes. It produces a lot of smoke when burned and its scent is piney and very earthly.

Pinon Resin is used for its spiritual and healing properties that help in cleansing, warming and strengthening. It is used to refresh senses and revive tired soul. Primarily, its element is fire but can also be used for four-element general purposes. When burned it produces a thick stream of smoke yet the scent is pleasant and meditative.

Copal Gold Resin is also known as “holy incense”. It is common to the people of Mesoamerica and traditionally used in divinatory and cleansing ceremonies. Apparently, it is volatile and flammable because it contains “terpenes”, an aromatic chemical. Its primary elements are water and fire. The scent is slightly woody, resinous, mildly earthly and spicy, yet sweet when burned.

Frankincense Resin is used pervasively in healing and meditation and commonly used in numerous religious traditions such as the Catholic Church. Its element is primarily fire. It comes from the resin of an African tree and produces a rich, dense smoke when burned and the scent is believed to confer divine blessing.

Ideal time for smudging

        It has been a common belief since ancient times that smudging can purify a space and chase out negative energy therefore performing it daily is ideal. Early morning is the best time to perform smudging. It helps to quiet the mind too, so best done before meditation. Other times could be when you move into a new house, new office location, before and after yoga practice or healing session, after an argument or any illness, before and after a crowd of guests enter your home and in any other time that requires to rejuvenate your mind and body.




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