The ritual burning of fragrant herbs and herbal resins has been practised by almost every culture down through the
ages. From the burning offertories on the alters of the ancient gods, or the smoking sage bowls of the indigenous
peoples, to the more modern practice of burning frankincense or myrrh, lighting a smoking incense stick, or burning
bukhoor, there is sometime spiritual about the aromatic smoke that shifts our perspective and connects us with the
Divine. The fragrant smoke is a great visual in meditation to carry prayers to the heavens or form a bridge to unseen
worlds while the power of scent is a powerful trigger to shift realities or slip into a centered awareness.
Native American Sun Greeting Smudging in the Seven Directions
Just before sunrise go outside. Light a smudge stick and as the sun begins to rise face East. Raise your arms and
say, "I welcome the energy of the beginning way, the rising sun at the beginning of the day and the light of
illumination. Welcome Eagle, flying nearest the heavens, with the clearest of vision. I welcome the energies and
spirits of the East. HO!"
Turn to face South "I welcome the energy of service to all my relatives, the heat of the noonday sun and the spirit of
action in the world. Welcome Coyote spirit. I welcome the energies and spirits of the South. HO!"
Face West and say, "I welcome the energy of looking within to find the gifts of healing. Welcome Bear spirit going
deep within to seek the gift of renewal. I welcome the energies and spirits of the West. HO!"
Face North. "I welcome the energy of wisdom and blessing and the Grandmothers and Grandfathers who teach me.
Welcome Buffalo and the spirit of giveaway, teach me to be generous and honor all that I receive. I welcome the
energies and spirits of the North. HO!"
Look up. "I welcome the energy and spirit of Above. Father Sky, Star people, and Cloud people. Welcome all that is
masculine, grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles and sons. And that masculine energy that also exists within the
feminine. I welcome the energies and spirits of Father Sky. HO!"
Looking down (touch the earth) "I welcome the energy of Mother Earth, the feminine principle, the energy and spirit
of Below. I welcome the energy and the spirit of our grandmothers, our mothers, sisters, aunties and daughters. And
that feminine energy that exists within the Masculine. I welcome the energies and spirits of Mother Earth. HO!"
Close you eyes and look within. "I welcome the energy of Within, the principle of being connected, the energy and
spirit of Within. I welcome the gifts of balance, oneness, and the connection with all things, for all things are one
and all things are related. HO!"
The Modern Smudge
There is something spectacular in the simple act of taking a sage wand and wafting it around my home or stepping
through its fragrant smoke, a gesture so outside my normal routine that it, in itself, makes me feel holy. When I light
the sage and the fragrance of it catching fire fills the air, I am transported to a place when seers did the same
thousands of years before and I tap into the intention of honoring something much larger and more mysterious than
myself. And there is no right or wrong way to do it. Just light a sage wand and waft the smoke around. Do take some
safety precautions. Hold the sage wand in your strong hand and light it over a firesafe dish. Let it burn out, or if it
begins to sufficiently smoke, blow the flame out. You can burn a handful of sacred herbs in an abalone shell or a
small clay bowl while prayers and blessings are spoken and then fan the smoke over a person, place, or thing to wash
away negative energy, sadness, fears, dark thoughts, or any other unwanted energy or emotion.
Note: Some herbs contain combustible oils that will cause a flame to flair up when lit so always work with a firesafe
dish that is large enough to hold the burning wand, should you have to drop it. I love to burn bay leaves, one or two
at a time in a firesafe bowl. The aromatic smoke helps me to relax and focus, but bay leaves light quickly much like
dry pine needles. A wand made from a bay leaf branch, if lit inside could have a disastrous effect. The last thing you
want is to catch the room on fire so before you work with any herb know how it reacts when it is lit on fire.
Smudge your home by lighting a sage wand and simply walking from room to room wafting smoke into each corner.
Sing or whisper a blessing to power up the blessing. Smudging changes the ambiance of a room clearing away
residual emotions and negative energy. Smudge a room after an argument to restore harmony. Smudge a sickroom to
clear stagnant energy and revitalize the space. Smudge your home after a good cleaning to clean out the old and the
draw positive energy. Smudge your new home before you move in to rid it of anything nasty that might still be lurking
there. If you've had an especially bad day, your luck has turned bad, or your life feels stuck, you can smudge yourself
by lighting a sage wand and stepping through the smoke. Not only will this dispel any negativity clinging to you, it
will shift your mood and lift your spirit.
Make your own Smudge Wands
You will need:
White Sage, Cedar or another herb of your choice
Cotton string, thread, or yarn.
Do not use leather, wool, or synthetic string as they smell awful when burned.
Some herbs to choose from:
Cedar: To heal, protect, or purify, or to enhance communication or summon
Juniper: to instil comfort, protect, or exorcise
Sweet Grass: to cleanse, balance, or purify
Lavender: to instill calmness and promote happiness
Mugwort: to enhance psychic sight and deflect malevolent thoughts
White Sage: to cleanse and purify
Gather a bundle of the fresh herbs, cut to the length that you want. Align the twigs so they each face the same direction and
hold the bottom of the stems together tightly. Take your string and tightly wind the string around the bundle bottom of the
bundle making sure that it is tight. As the herbs dry, the bundle will shrink and the string become looser. After you have wound
the string around the bottom a few times, wind it up and around until the string is within an inch or two from the top. Then wind
the string around back down to the stem again and tie it off. Hang your wands out to dry for a week or two.
If you like this, you might like these
Elemental Smudge to release the old and make way for the new
Hold the sage wand in your strong hand and light it over a firesafe dish. Let it burn out, or if it begins to sufficiently smoke,
blow the flame out. Face the East. Lift the smoking wand and say,
"Element of thought, force of the wind, fill my mind with the inspiration of your wisdom." Waft the smoke around your body.
Turn to the South and say,
"Element of passion, creation, and light, fill my heart with the courage to act so that I may do what I must." Waft the
smoke around your body.
Turn to the West.
"Element of intuition and emotion, bless me with your nurturing love so that I have the will and fortitude to accomplish
what I set out to do." Waft the smoke around your body.
Turn to the North.
"Element of home, of ancestor, or the fertile soils. Bless my body with strength, my spirit with balance, and my thoughts
with the knowledge of how I should proceed to bring what is best for me. Thanks be to thee."
Waft the smoke around your body.