Smudging, one of the most common shamanic rituals, consists of burning a smudge stick made of dried herbs, smudged or an intertwining of leaves, used to drive away evil spirits from one’s home or soul.
1. The art of purification and smudge sticks
The American Indians used to burn the smudge stick for protection and purification during magical or religious celebrations and in shamanic rituals. Smudge sticks have properties and qualities that are released when burned. The beliefs of these peoples say that the smoke generated by the herbal sticks managed to free them from negativity. In fact, smoke was considered the communication channel that united the Earth and the sky. Shamans also used smoke to see if negativity actually existed and which ones.
2. Incense smudge stick
According to the ancient traditions of the Indians, each plant had the power to protect a sacred spirit, and it is thanks to this that they were able to find healing benefits on a physical, mental and spiritual level. Smudging means burning herbs and incense, the art of purification through the smoke generated by a stick of dried herbs that are sprinkled on people or in environments, moving the smoke with your hands from the bottom up or as tradition wants, with the help of a natural feather. Or it is simply placed on an earthenware bowl, on stones or on large shells.
3. What herbs to use
Depending on the use you want to do, you can choose to create a customized smudge! The most used plant is sage, especially white sage, but if you want to purify an environment, opt for cedar leaves, basil leaves, lemon balm, juniper, and stevia. Lavender, rose petals and artemisia are indicated if you want to remove negative energies or if you simply want to create a relaxing atmosphere. While stevia, mullein, and peppermint are ideal for a curative smudge and rosemary, on the other hand, is recommended for a protective effect.
4. How to prepare a smudge
The smudge is prepared only with natural herbs and flowers, they are not real incense because there are no natural resins used to create the classic incense that can be found on the market. Personally, I love medium-sized herbal sticks, they are more collected, more beautiful to look at and it is easier to find a concave object that can contain them. Maybe a shell as was done in the past. It is not complicated to make a smudge stick by hand, you just need a little practice.
If you want a medium smudge stick you will need 10 cm long branches, otherwise, you can leave them 20 cm long. Put the twigs one on the other, tie twine or a double cotton thread at the base and wrap the tight leaves from the bottom upwards creating a spiral. So go back to the base and tie tight. Hang the twigs in a dark, dry place and let them dry.
5. How to use a smudge stick
When it is dry, you should use it like this: light it with a candle, when the tips burn, turn off the heat gently and let it smoke. You must never turn off a smudge stick, let it turn itself off. Sprinkle the smoke with your hands or with the help of a feather, starting from the bottom upwards in a clockwise direction. In places you start from the left side starting from the door, don’t forget the corners and windows, finish with the front door. The ashes must be deposited outside the front door as if to return everything to Earth.
6. When it is recommended to use a smudge stick
When you feel stuck, negative, lazy and a little depressed for some circumstances, the healing scent of a smudge stick may help. Of course, it is an ancient method used to purify and restore balance. Burning these sticks at home is said to help eliminate the negative energy that is created after a quarrel and helps to free the environment from old relationships and start again with positivity. Eliminates the stress accumulated after a tiring period and gives the energy to face a new day.