How To Use Sage For Your Smudging Rituals
Updated: Oct 9
From 2008 to 2011, I was involved in countless sweat lodge ceremonies. I sat with elders, medicine men, learned about their rituals, and had magical, blessed experiences in the lodge. It was a really special time in my life.
It was during this time, that I was introduced to the ritual of smudging. Smudging is the Native American practice of burning sacred herbs and using the smoke to cleanse and clear negative energy, and invite positive energy in.
The medicine man I worked with over this period of time, suggested that I always have some sweetgrass around, and that I smudge myself daily. I took that advice to heart and made sure smudging myself was a very regular practice. If I was having a tough day or something in my body didn’t feel as good as it could, I immediately went to my sweetgrass. It would remind me of the lodge and I would feel so much better.
Smudging has since become part of my regular spiritual practice. I smudge myself any time I feel the need to, and I smudge my entire home at least once a week. These days, I use white sage instead of sweetgrass, since I find it easier to work with and I love how purifying white sage is.
I keep my sage in an abalone shell. Abalone has its own healing properties, including helping those who work with it develop their intuitive abilities in a deeper way. Abalone also looks beautiful and does a wonderful job of catching the ashes that fall from my sage stick. If you don’t have an abalone shell, keeping your sage in any type of plate or bowl will do the trick.
Before I begin to smudge, I take a moment to give thanks to the gift of the sage and for all the healing work it’s about to do for me. I have an intention in my mind - it could be to cleanse and purify my crystals, home, myself, or just to invite in more positive energy - and then I light the sage. I was taught to always use matches to light my smudge, but if matches aren’t available, I’ll use a lighter.
I blow out the flame and then I usually have a nice steady stream of smoke going that smells divine.
There are times when I’ll get a sage stick that doesn’t seem to stay lit. If that’s the case, I’ll dismantle the stick, and light a section at a time. This is also a nice way to make your sage last longer and get more of that healing smoke going in your smudging ritual.
And then I’ll begin. If I’m using the sage to cleanse my own energy, I’ll gently fan the smoke over different parts of my body. If I’m using it to cleanse a crystal, I’ll place the crystal over top of the smoke until it feels like it has been completely cleansed. If I’m cleansing a space or my home; I’ll slowly walk around the perimeter of the room(s) fanning the smoke and visualizing beautiful energy coming into my space.
When my smudging ritual is complete, I wait for the ashes to cool down and then I return them back to the Earth, giving thanks for their assistance.
Sage has a lovely way of helping me to release anything that I’m holding onto that perhaps isn’t serving me anymore. And it helps me to feel better, happier and more like myself - something that is truly a gift.