Let’s talk smudging and clearing negative energy from our homes and other spaces.
True story: I once had to convince my grandma that, no, what she was smelling was not something bad — it was white sage from my earlier smudging. What a fun day that was!
Despite that *now* hilarious hiccup, I still smudge at key times (like the new moon, after spring cleaning) and when the energy feels like it needs to be freshened up in my home.
My smudge stick is one of my best friends, but I know this process can sound a little intimidating if you’re not familiar with it. Don’t worry, though, sage cleansing is simple once you know how to do it.
So, let’s break it all down…
Why Sage Smudging?
Sure, white vinegar and Clorox are great, but there is one BIG reason for burning sage in your home; it cleanses the negative energy from it.
It’s a spiritual or energetic cleansing.
This is important because negativity is everywhere — from the cranky girl at the donut shop, to the nightly news.
Sage was (and still is in holistic medicine) used as a key ingredient for a lot of medications! It can be a go-to solvent for all kinds of stomach distresses and other ailments.
But maybe even more important than sage’s natural healing properties is its cleansing power.
Smudging your home not only releases all of sage’s healing benefits, it chases out all negative and stale energy in your home. It’s like the Clorox of nature!
In fact, when I smudge I like to let the sage smoke go up into the corners of my home. I set the intention and imagine the smoke cleansing and kicking any icky energies right out the window.
Sage cleansing your home can also help you:
- Relax. Seriously, post smudge naps are almost as good as post turkey-day ones.
- Connect with your Higher Self.
- Gain clarity. Without all those negative or stale energies hanging around, your mind will be free to wander.
- Let go. Smudging allows you to release whatever is no longer serving you, and increase your spiritual awareness.
- Purify your air. Sage is, first and foremost, a natural purifier. The air feels so crisp and clean when you’re done smudging!
Fun fact: The Latin word for “sage,” salvia, means “to heal.”
Obviously sage cleansing has a ton of benefits, but you may be wondering how to know if your home needs smudging.
Do you just jump right in? Or wait for a certain time/day? All great questions!
When Should You Sage Cleanse?
Smudging is about releasing healing and cleansing properties, but it’s also about internally centering and grounding. For that reason, you can smudge on any day that ends in Y… seriously.
But it’s an especially great idea when:
- Someone in the house has been sick
- You move into a new home
- You’ve recently cleaned, organized, or decluttered your home
- You’ve had visitors (especially if there were negative emotions shared during the visit)
- The family seems more tense than usual
- You have come home from a crowded, negative or tense place
- You’ve had an argument in your house (phone arguments and pet scuffles count, too)
Other good times to smudge are:
- When the energy in your home feels off or unpleasant
- After a life impacting event (car accident, career change, divorce, etc.)
- If you’re having trouble getting out of your own head and letting things go
- If you want to have an epic meditation or journaling session
- The day after a new moon
- You’ve been thinking about performing a sage cleansing (that’s your intuition trying to get your attention)
As you can see, you can sage smudge your house or car any time you want; there’s no wrong day or way!
What You Need for Smudging
Obviously, you will need sage. You can use loose sage, a smudge stick, or spray. You can buy either at a metaphysical store or online.
- This white sage is my all-time favorite — it has over 25,000 positive reviews on Amazon, and it smells amazing.
- I also LOVE this sage spray. I use it almost daily! It’s super easy for quick smudges and great for the car, too.
You can also make your own sage!
Growing your own sage is fun. Plus, you can set the intention of love and purification each time you tend to it. A pot in a sunny kitchen window is so nice!
Once you have a healthy portion, tie it with string and hang it upside down in a dark, dry place. Give it a few weeks to dry out and it’s ready to use!
Tip: You can also add these variations to your sage for a slightly different smell…
- Sweet grass
2. Fireproof dish or bowl
Next you will need a fireproof dish or bowl to hold under the burning sage and collect ashes (and keep your home safe). If you’re using sage spray, you won’t need a dish.
Traditionally, an Abalone Shell is used, but if you don’t have one, you can use a small pottery bowl or some other type of fireproof dish.
3. Lighter or matches
You may need to relight the sage during the ceremony, so keep your lighter or matches handy.
Now that you have your items, let’s begin!
How to Sage Your Home
Step 1: Set your intention
Sage cleansing is easy to do. The most important part is to set an intention for the cleansing.
Ask yourself: What led you to believe a sage clearing ceremony is needed?
Set your mind on thoughts of cleansing, healing, wisdom or spiritual connectedness.
Then, say a prayer or invite your Spirit Guides and angels in. Ask your divine helpers to assist you in purifying the energy in your home.
Tip: I also like to open all my windows before I begin. This gives negative energy a place to exit, and allows fresh air to come in!
Step 2: Light the sage
Intention set? Great!
Now, light your sage stick over the dish. You’ll want to create as much smoke and as little flame as possible.
To get a nice stream of sage smoke going, blow lightly on the burning sage. Keep your bowl handy to collect any ash or falling sage leaves.
Step 3: Purify yourself
When you wash dishes, do you use a dirty sponge? Of course not, because that would be super gross and the dishes wouldn’t get clean. We can apply the same idea to sage cleansing.
It all starts with you. Don’t be a dirty sponge. :)
Purify yourself by directing the smoke (or spray) towards your body, starting at your feet, up to your head, and then back down again.
Tip: You can use your hands or a feather to direct the smoke where you want it to go (just be careful of your eyes and nose).
Step 4: Cleanse your home
- Start in one room and work from corner to corner. As you do, keep your intention in mind, and imagine pulling stale and negative energies from the corners. You can use your hands or a feather to direct the smoke where you want it to go (just steer clear of getting it in your eyes or nose).
- You can also include an incantation or prayer as you move through your home. Choose a simple affirmation that feels good in your heart, then, repeat it aloud or in your mind as you smudge. Intention is the power behind the ceremony, so use any loving words you like, such as:
- Bless and purify this home and all who enter
- Negative energy out, loving vibrations in
- Fill this home with light, love and positive energy
- Picture everything you want to let go of exiting your open windows. Some people recommend starting in a certain room of your home, but I always just let my intuition guide me. If one family member has been sick or on edge I usually start where they spend the most time.
- Pay close attention to unused areas of your home as they can collect stale energy. Take as much time as you need during this step and allow your intuition to really guide you.
- When you are done, move on to the next room.
- Be sure to give attention to dark places, corners, doorways, and heavy traffic areas. Allow the purifying smoke or spray to clarify the energy.
- Sleep and work areas are good places to focus on, too.
Most of all, let your intuition guide you through the smudging ceremony. If you allow it, your intuition will help you feel what areas of your home need the most attention.
Ending the Smudging Ceremony
There are two ways to end the cleansing. Choose the option that feels best for you:
- Let it burn out naturally. Lay the sage stick in your fireproof dish and allow it to work itself out naturally. (Obviously, don’t leave it unattended.) When I choose this option, I leave the dish near me as I meditate or journal. Once the ashes cool, throw away the sage stick and ashes, or bury them.
- Manually rub out your sage stick. Rub out the embers, then, bury the remaining sage and ashes to signify the finality of the negative energies that lived in your space. Imagine replanting them into the earth and recharging into new, positive energy.
When you are ready to perform your next sage cleansing, use fresh sage or smudge stick. Purify as often as you like and let your intuition guide you!
At the end of the day, smudging has the best effect when it’s personal and lead by your intuition.
Go with what you feel is right and don’t worry about saying the right prayer or moving in the right direction around a room.
When you’re ready to sage again (and trust me, you’ll be ready soon), use a fresh sage stick and go for it! There’s no need to wait for a special occasion to purify your space.