The Art of Smudging

Written & Photographed by A Wild Dove

There was a brief period in time when my kids suspected I was smoking weed in my bedroom.

They didn't know what I was up to, but the smell of me burning sage or ‘SMUDGING” before my mediations was something new for them. Today, Smudging is a consistent practice I do in my home and whenever I travel. Smudging, or the burning of certain herbs, has a rich spiritual past that’s originated in the Native American culture. The intentional act of of smudging is believed to cleanse negative energy, purify and protect in a place, object or person.

Many differing cultures have their own methods and herbal mixtures for this purpose. Smudging, when done correctly, can bring physical, spiritual and emotional balance. If you are someone sensitive to energy and the vibration around you, you will notice a difference of clarity in your environment after smudging.

When to Smudge

- Clearing energy when moving into a new space. We never know who was in the space prior so it’s important to cleanse the space and banish unwanted energies.

- After an argument or leftover bad feelings. (After any sad or traumatic events)

- Routinely weekly cleansing


Sage is the most commonly used herb for smudging. The smoke of  sage is intended to heal and purify the mind, body, and environment and clear negative energy. Sage also has a calming effect on our nerves, so it is particularly useful if we’re feeling nervous, angry, or our space feels that type of energy is lingering.

Cypress and Juniper works both as a purifier and as a way to attract good energy in your direction.

Palo Santo is known as the “holy wood/stick.” Palo santo is derived from specific trees found in the South American rainforests of Galapagos Islands, Ecuador and Peru and has been used for most of known history for a variety of healing. This includes medicines, native ceremonies and especially in Incan culture, spiritual clearing of a space, crowd or person. Palo Santo is a personal favorite scent I love and I keep it burning throughout my home.

Design Your Own
I create my own sage bundles with rose petals and a variety of loose flowers for holiday gifts. I love the way look setting out with my collection of crystals.



Set your intention before you light your sage. Be clear about what it is your soul is wanting and as you burn your herbs, you can either say your intention firmly or recite a mantra to ask the negative energies to leave and bring light and love into your space. Make it personal to whatever it is you are desiring.

Open a window to allow the negative energies out and light the smudge stick or pick off one leaf to burn. Once the flame ignites quickly blow it out.

Waft the smoke first around yourself either from head to toe or from the bottom up.I like to make sure I get to all of my chakras.

Next, smudge around the space (make sure to get the corners of the areas where it holds stagnant energy). You can use a feather to waft the smoke in a clockwise direction, or you can use your hand as well. You can place the herb in a fireproof vessel while mediating and setting intentions. (please make sure the flame is down)

Smudging objects is important, especially crystals to make sure they are purified before practices. And, as someone who loves vintage shopping, I always smudge my purchases when I bring them home.