Smudging is a simple act of self care. It’s an exploration of your physical and mental wellbeing that strengthens the mind-body connection. Smudging is highly personal and can be adapted to serve your needs whether you practice every day or just on special occasions.
You may choose to burn sage when faced with a major event: a move, a wedding, a breakup. Some women perform a ceremony to welcome their menstrual cycle. Others incorporate burning sage into a spiritual bath. Smudging can also be integrated into other rituals such as a tarot reading or crystal cleansing.
When practiced regularly, smudging provides a baseline understanding of your health from the inside out. Burning sage consistently can serve as a daily check in, and its grounding effect can ease the pain of depression, stress, and general imbalance. Smudging can also be combined with other wellness practices to deepen and add ceremony to an otherwise mundane routine. There’s no right or wrong way to smudge, but setting an intention will ensure that you get the most out of your ceremony.
Prepare for your smudging ceremony by setting an intention. Meditation or breathing exercises can guide you to a prayer, chant, or mantra that speaks to you. Carry this intention throughout your ritual by focusing on it, repeating it out loud, or singing it.
Smudging is akin to a spiritual bath. As you burn sage, pretend the smoke is water. Hold the smudge stick in one hand and use the other to waft smoke over your body as if you’re bathing.
- Prepare your smudge stick. Light a candle and hold your sage bundle over the flame until it catches fire. Allow the smudge stick burn for a few seconds, then gently wave it to extinguish the flame and maintain a gentle smolder. Allow the candle to burn throughout your ceremony so you can reignite the sage bundle as needed.
- Begin your smudging ritual by gently resting your sage bundle in the shell or bowl. Wash your hands in the smoke as if it were water while reciting the following line (or one of your own).
May my actions honor the divinity in myself and others
- Now, stand holding the smudge stick away from you and waft the smoke accordingly while you recite these lines for each part of your body:
Heart: May my heart feel the divinity in myself and others
Mouth: May my words honor the divinity in myself and others
Eyes: May my eyes see the divinity in myself and others
Ears: May my ears hear the divinity in myself and others
- Focus on your intention as you continue wafting the smoke down the front of your body, then smudge the back of your body from top to bottom. Finish by cleansing the bottoms of your feet with smoke and recite the following line:.
May my journey honor the divinity in myself and others
If you’d like to integrate other wellness practices into your ceremony do so now. Return the sage to the heat-insulated shell or bowl and allow it to burn and eventually extinguish naturally as you meditate, journal, or stretch. Never leave a smoldering smudge stick unattended.
When your ritual is complete be sure to treat your smudge stick with care. A partially-burned smudge stick used in daily ritual may be kept in a place of prominence and used in multiple ceremonies. However, a partially-burned smudge stick used for a specific ceremony is traditionally returned to nature. It may be buried, placed in a garden, or left in a peaceful resting place in the wild.