Smudging with a sage stick or other fragrant herbs is not a space clearing technique, and how it ever came to regarded as one is a complete mystery to me.
Smudging is a purification practice that comes from indigenous American Indian traditions. It involves lighting a smudge stick made of dried herbs (usually sage or cedar) and wafting the smoke around. The aroma and the upward motion of smoke is believed to energetically cleanse a person or space. It’s inexpensive and anyone can do it. No special skill is required. However, it is not an effective space clearing technique.
Why smudging doesn’t clear energies
When I first started developing space clearing back in the 1970s and 80s, I meticulously researched the effectiveness of hundreds of different types of joss sticks, resin incenses and smudge sticks. I discovered that some aromas can temporarily lift the energy of a space, and the best I found was a very pure resin incense called Basilica, made by the monks of Prinknash Abbey in England. It is helpful for lifting dense stagnant energies in a cluttered home to make it easier to do space clearing.
However, aromas of any kind do not bring about permanent change. As soon as the incense smoke disappears from the air, any uplifting effect is lost. The professional space clearing practitioners I train have never used smudge sticks and no longer use incense of any kind.
Why smudging and space clearing don’t mix
If you add smudging to the space clearing ceremony I wrote about in my first book, Creating Sacred Space with Feng Shui, or the updated version of the ceremony in the new space clearing book I am writing at the moment, it will have the opposite effect to the one intended. It is not compatible with the ceremony and will actually drag the energies of a space down rather than lifting them up. I never burn smudge sticks in my own home or any other enclosed space.
Do smudge sticks have any use at all?
Well, not to me, they don’t, and certainly not for space clearing. But if you happen to like the smell and find it helpful to use them in other types of rituals, that’s entirely up to you.
Some facts about incense that you may not know
Other space clearing myths
Why singing bowls are not designed to do space clearing
Space clearing and salt
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Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2009, updated 2018