What is Smudging?
Smudging is the practice of spiritual cleansing with smoke, especially from sacred herbs. You can smudge a person, a place, a building or an object. "Smudge" is both a noun and a verb -- a bundle of herbs burned as incense is also called a smudge. The term derives from the Middle English word smogen, from which we also get the words smoke, smog, and besmirch. (Those who lived in smoky medieval ages might be puzzled that we now use smoke to purify our homes, but hey -- history marches on).
Smudging is done to remove bad energy and bring a feeling of peace and clarity. Most people can tell when a place just doesn't "feel" right. Smudging is a remedy for that. Smudging uses the natural qualities of aromatic plants, along with the smudger's prayers and intentions, to improve the physic environment. Smudging is a basic ritual, but it can be a very effective one. It is an act of will that removes negative influences and sets a positive intention for your home, tools, or workplace. Some people also use smudging as a first step in setting sacred space. Smudging is a way to invite higher spiritual vibrations into a place of healing and meditation.
Do you need to be religious to smudge?
Smudging is associated with various Pagan, shamanic, and New Age ideas. However, the practice itself does not require any specific religious beliefs. Smudging, like all magic, is based on intention. All you really need to believe is that you can cleanse yourself, your space, and your possessions. Even skeptics and atheists have said that they see benefits from performing self-cleansing rituals. Many spiritual paths use incense to help draw one's thoughts to the Divine. Most also hold in common the benefits of prayers, blessings, and acts of hospitality. There is no conflict between smudging practices and any world religions. However, if you have concerns, you can always speak with a leader within your faith.
Some people also use smudging as a first step in setting sacred space. Smudging is a way to invite higher spiritual vibrations into a place of healing or meditation.
How often should I smudge my home?
Most people smudge on an as-needed basis. These are the most common occasions for performing a smudging ritual:
- When moving into a new space. You wouldn't wear used clothes without first washing them, and some people wont move into a new home or office without smudging. Smudging helps clean up the physic debris from previous occupants, so their energy wont influence your thoughts and emotions. (If you're a real sweetheart, you can also smudge when moving out to make the space welcoming for the next resident).
- When there has been a physic disturbance. Some events will leave their mark on a space in the form of yucky energy. They can be major disturbances (such as hauntings or acts of violence, or minor disturbances. such as when people in the house have been quarreling).
- To mark an important positive change. Smudging is a way of hitting the reset button on a home's energy, so it makes sense to do it when you're ready for a fresh start. For example: When you've finished seasonal housecleaning , when a toxic person moves out, or when you're celebrating breaking a habit or addiction.
- When it's that time again. Some people do smudging at regular intervals, as a kind of scheduled spiritual hygiene. Regular smudging keeps your home's vibe fresh and stops anything negative from taking hold.