Smudging is a purification practice that comes from indigenous American Indian traditions. It involves lighting a stick of dried herbs (usually sage or cedar) and wafting the smoke around. It’s inexpensive and anyone can do it.
However it is not a space clearing technique, and how it ever came to regarded as one is a complete mystery to me.
Smudging does not clear energies, and if you add it into the space clearing ceremony I describe in my book, as I hear from some people that they do, then 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 revitalizing or lifting them up. Some types of smudge sticks can also leave a lingering smell that is very similar to marijuana, which can have an even more detrimental effect. I never burn smudge sticks in my own home or any other enclosed space.
In very cluttered homes, I do sometimes recommend the use of Basilica incense as a preparatory step to help lift the energies before space clearing. But this is also not a space clearing technique. After testing over a thousand different types of incense many years ago, I discovered that this particular blend of Eastern gums has the most compatibility with the space clearing ceremony I have developed, but using it does not permanently change anything in a space. As soon as the smoke disappears from the air, the effect is lost.
So 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, then 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 2014