How to Smudge Your Space
What Is Smudging?
According to Mara Mehdy, founder of Creative Collective LA (@creativecollectivela), a group of artists and creators building a community through monthly curated events and workshops through the Los Angeles area, smudging is the age-old ritual burning of herbs where the smoke is used to bless, cleanse, and heal the person or object being smudged. Sage is used to ‘wash off’ the outside world when one enters the ceremony or other sacred space, and objects are likewise washed off with sage medicine smoke to rid them of unwanted influencers.
“Smudging is used to bring about or manifest a desired change in one’s emotions, thoughts, surroundings and reality,” says Mehdy. “The smudge stick and the act of smudging, along with focus and intent, creates a powerful tool which allows you to take responsibility for your own self-empowerment and reality by working with your higher self and the elemental energies of the earth to manifest your greatest joy.”
How to Smudge
“Sage burning cleansing rituals can be as elaborate or s simple as you want them to be, but it’s of the highest importance that your intention be clear before you begin,” explains Mehdy. “If you are burning sage to purify a space, or a person (even yourself) then this needs to be clearly planted in your mind before you light the sage and while taking the smoke around a home, or through a space.”
She recommends starting in the east and moving to the south, then west, then north. Wave the smoke into all corners, across doorways and into shadow spaces. To maintain the atmosphere of ritual, keep repeating the intention in your mind as you diffuse the smoke. Once the space is cleared, allow the sage bundle to either burn out or gently press it out in your heat-proof shell or container.
Herbs for Smudging:
Cedar - A medicine of protection. Cedar trees are very old, wise and powerful spirits. Cedar is often used to cleanse a home or apartment when first moving in, inviting unwanted spirits to leave and protecting a person, place, or object from unwanted influences.
Copal - This is tree sap from Mexico that is similar to Frankincense. When burned, it has a crisp, clean, sharp scent that is almost citrus-like. Copal is sacred to the native peoples of Mexico. Because copal is from trees, it is offered to honor the enormous gift given to us by all of the natural resources of our planet. Burning copal is best done on charcoal tablets.
Lavender - Useful for for attracting peace, happiness, and restful sleep. It reduces depression, grief and sorrow, and aids in meditation, manifestation, and divination.
Rose Petals & Roses - Useful for meditation, divination, increasing psychic abilities and communication. Traditionally the rose is associated with attracting love, conferring peace, stimulating sexual attraction, and enhancing beauty.
Rosemary - Brings about mental clarity and calmness by allowing you to ‘let go’ of any negative thoughts.
Sage - Useful for purification, protection, longevity, and immortality. Studies have shown that the smoke of burning sage literally changes the ionization polarity of the air. Sage is used to ‘wash off’ the outside world when one enters a ceremony or other sacred space. Objects are likewise washed off with sage medicine smoke to rid them of unwanted influences. The plants that are called sage can come from very different families of plants.
Sweetgrass - Also called Seneca grass, holy grass and vanilla grass. This very special herb’s sweet vanilla-like scent is the breath of the Earth mother, bringing the blessing of Mother Earth’s love. Sweetgrass is burned to remind us of essence of the feminine and that the earth provides us with everything we need. Sweetgrass can also be unbraided or trimmed with scissors into small pieces and sprinkled on hot charcoal tablets.
For more information, follow Creative Collective LA on Instagram: @creativecollectivela
Kamala Kirk is a University of Southern California graduate and has been an editor/writer for more than a decade. She has written for E! Online, Total Beauty, TravelAge West, Malibu Times Magazine, and many more. She resides in Los Angeles and is a proud pug mom. Follow her on Instagram: @kamalakirk