What are Smudge Sticks?
Smudge sticks are typically made of aromatic herbs and woods, bundled together, tied into a roll, and then lit for the purpose of creating fragrant smoke. Burning herbs is a practice that is cross-cultural and goes back to times before written history. The word “smudging” comes from “smudge,” which is English in origin. However, the term has been used widely to refer to the smudging ceremonies of Indigenous peoples, in which sacred herbs and medicines are burned as part of a ritual, or for cleansing or health purposes. However, all people throughout the world and throughout history have burned dried herbs and so the process of burning herb bundles is available to all.
How to Use a Smudge Stick
When you’re about to begin a ritual or spell, light one end of the smudge stick with a match, lighter, or candle flame. Hold the bundle by the non-burning end and gently and slowly wave it through the air, or around the person or object in a slow circle. Fan the smoke with your free hand to push it into the corners of your room to cleanse your space. Speak your words of intention as you do so or visualize what you want to manifest. In addition to using smudge sticks for ritual cleansing and casting spells, you can also use them for divination, protection, and meditation.
How to Prepare Your Space
An important part of cleansing your space with burning herb bundles is the preparation. You may want to begin by picking things up, putting them away, and just generally tidying up your space. Whether you are inside or outside, this general straightening up will begin the process of clearing and allow you to focus on your spell rather than the pile of papers or laundry on the floor.
Smudging someone using a smudge stick is a powerful way to clear negative energy and invoke positive manifestation into your space. If you’re burning herbs to spiritually fumigate yourself or another person, think about where you will be using the smudge stick, as you should be in a suitable spot where you feel safe and secure and will be undisturbed by others. As smudging is about clearing away negative energy, you should set the stage for producing positive and cleansing energy to cleanse either yourself or the space.
How to Smudge Objects
Burning herb bundles is a great way to spiritually cleanse and charge magical and ritual objects that can’t be washed with water or anointed with oils. Petition papers, clothes, tarot cards, mojo bags – all can benefit from the energy of herbal smoke. Smudging your candles before doing a candle spell, for example, can charge the candle with positive energy and remove any questionable energy. Smudging a houseplant can bless it with the beautiful intentions that you want to give to it. And fumigating your car with the fragrant smoke to protect it from theft and accidents is another great way to use your herb bundle.
How to Put Out a Smudge Stick
When you are finished using your smudge stick in your ritual, simply stub it out in a cauldron or other fire safe bowl. Make sure to check for any burning embers and press down to put them out completely. Leave your herb bundle in the cauldron for safety and simply relight it the next time you are ready to bring some herbal smoke magic to your spell work.