Smoke Cleansing: Step-by-Step
How to smoke cleanse with sage: An easy step by step guide
Interested in sage cleansing or smoke cleansing with sage or other dried herbs, but not sure where to start? Check out this FREE step-by-step guide, to clearing your home or space! We'll show you the tools, steps, and how-to, to feel confident giving this high-vibe practice a try!
Clear the air, lighten up your space, and make room for fresh, new, super-charged energy!
Smoke cleansing (sometimes called “smudging” or “sageing”) is a way to clear the air in your home or space, to get rid of any negative, stuck, or low-vibration energy using the smoke from a burning bunch - or "wand" - of sage leaves. There is also some scientific evidence that suggests smoke cleansing may help clear the bacteria out of your space!
Step 1: Gather Your Tools
- Herbs: Pre-made, dried herb and/or sage wands can be found online or in many holistic or metaphysical shops. Many of these wands or loose herbs include lavender or different varieties of sage* (such as mountain sage or desert sage), herbs, or woods; choose one you are interested in! We have some available in our shop! You can also make your own, if you'd like - but this will take a bit longer, as you'll need to let your bundle dry for a few weeks before you use it.
- Jar candle, preferably white: White candles symbolize purification and divine light - so it's the perfect candle color for clearing your space. I prefer to use beeswax candles with cotton wicks, since they have the added benefit of emitting negative ions while they burn (and no harmful chemicals!), which are are also helpful in clearing the air.
- Matches: Some people prefer the simplicity and ritual of using matches; but a lighter works just fine, too!
- Heat-safe dish: You can use something as simple as a ceramic bowl or mug, or something dedicated to this purpose, such as a ritual bowl.
- Salt: Any kind will do - but fine-grained will work best for this, since we'll be using it to extinguish our sage wand. You can also use it if you need to temper or fully extinguish your wand unexpectedly for any reason, while you are smudging.
- Feather or fan: You can use a simple feather or a beautiful feather fan; there are many made and sold online, or there are tutorials that show you how to make your own with easy-to-find materials.
* The white sage sold at Mooncat Crystals is organic and farmed. This ensures that we are not contributing to diminishing sources of naturally-growing wild white sage.
Step 2: Prep Your Tools and Space
- Open a window or door in each room - even if it's just a little bit! The energy that's leaving will need somewhere to go.
- Light your candle. As always, never leave a burning candle unattended and be careful that you are following common sense, safe use practices!
- Add the salt to the bottom of your ritual bowl or other heat-safe vessel. This will help you extinguish the sage wand, when you are ready.
- Light your herb bundle, using the candle flame. Let the leaves at the large or "top" end burn for a few seconds, then gently blow it out. You want it to be gently smoking; not still producing flames. Again - common sense safety is key, since we're working with fire and smoldering herbs!
- Set your herb bundle in your dish, grab your feather, and get ready to clear your space!
Step 3: Clear Your Space
- Start in the back of your home; we'll start clearing from the far inside, moving the energy out towards the door.
- Set an intention for your time, such as to clear out any energy that is no longer serving your highest good AND to bring in (or make space for) fresh, new, beneficial energy.
- Holding your heat safe dish in one hand and your feather in the other, use the feather to waft the smoke throughout each room, ideally following the lines of the room: edges of walls, doors, shelves, and furniture. Make sure you get some of the smoke into corners and other spaces where there is not much airflow and/or bright light.
- Move through your home room by room in the same manner, and usher out the low, stale, or stagnant energy.
- Step 4: End Your Smoke Cleansing Session
- Once you've made it through each room, it's time to extinguish your herb wand. You can do this by snuffing it out in the salt you put in your heat-safe dish, or by running it under some water until it is completely out. If you still have your candle lit, make sure to extinguish that, as well!
- Close your intention: Set the intention that your space is now clear of any low-frequency energy and has been filled with high-vibe, clear energy. If it feels appropriate, you can also thank the Universe, Spirit, or any other guide(s), for your newly clear, positive space.
- Notice how your space feels now: Does it feel lighter? Clearer? Easier?
- Enjoy! The herb smell will dissipate over the next few hours as you enjoy your fresh, clear space.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of smoke cleansing and space clearing?
Smoke cleansing is an ancient practice that helps remove negative energies and bad vibes from your space, so that you can begin fresh and and welcome in positive energy.
Smoke cleansing and space clearing can also help to promote relaxation and calmness and improve the overall atmosphere of your space. It can also help you focus and feel more centered. It's a great way to energetically reset or prepare your home or sacred space, any time you need to create a new start, want to bring in some clean, clear energy, or when you want to get rid of stagnant or stuck energy.
How often should you perform smoke cleansing and space clearing?
It depends on your personal preference and the amount of negative energy you feel in your space. Some people perform smoke cleansing and space clearing weekly, while others do it monthly or even quarterly. You'll want to be mindful of how your space is feeling, as there are various reasons you may feel it's time to cleanse your space. For example, if it feels energetically "sticky" (like you can't get motivated to do anything) or if you're feeling on edge, those are great times to cleanse your space.
Additionally, smoke cleansing is a great practice after you have other people in your home, or if there are any heightened emotions or arguments. It's also a good idea to use smoke cleansing to energetically clear a new home, before or soon after you move in.
What are some alternative tools to use for smoke cleansing and space clearing?
While burning herbs, sage, or incense sticks is one of the easiest ways to cleanse your space, some people cannot or do not prefer to use herbal smoke and, instead, prefer a smokeless option.
Some alternative tools for smoke cleansing and space clearing include sound bowls, bells, and chimes. You can also use essential oils, crystals, or even just your own energy and intention, which is a great alternative if you don't want to obtain any specific tools for cleansing.
What is the best time of day to perform a smoke cleansing and space clearing ritual?
There is no specific time of day that is best for smoke cleansing and space clearing. Really, the best time is when you are feeling positive about cleansing your space and you have a little time to dedicate to it. You can do it whenever you feel like your space needs it, as you go through your everyday life - or any time it is convenient for you. Smoke cleansing doesn't have to disrupt your daily life, be done on a regular schedule, or coordinate with any specific events in order to be an impactful practice. .
Can smoke cleansing and space clearing help improve the energy in your home?
Yes, smoke cleansing and space clearing can help improve the energy in your home by removing negative energy and promoting positive energy flow. Additionally, depending on the type of medicinal plants you choose to use, you are inviting that energy in, as well, and infusing it into your space.
For example, rose petals can be burned (separately or incorporated into a smoke cleansing bundle with other herbs). Roses have one of the highest energetic frequencies and invoke the energy of love, romance, and self care. Other herb bundles may contain relaxing lavender or other common herbs such as lemon balm. These herbs are known to be calming and help release stress.
You can also use thyme for smoke cleansing, which is said to be helpful if you need to remove any obstacles to your success. Blue sage is used for cleansing and purification. Garden sage is typically not used, as it doesn't smell as appealing as some of the other commonly used herbs, woods, and flowers.
Throughout history, many cultures have used a variety of sacred herbs for varying spiritual purposes and smoke cleansing rituals. If learning more about the types of traditional herbs used by your ancestors or commonly in your cultural heritage, consider doing a little research and exploring the sacred plants used in that region.
What are some common mistakes to avoid when smoke cleansing and space clearing?
Some common mistakes to avoid when smoke cleansing and space clearing include not opening windows and doors to allow negative energy to escape, not grounding yourself before the ritual, and not using a fire-safe container to hold the smudging materials.
It is also important to be respectful of the tradition and culture behind smoke cleansing and space clearing. Specifically, it's important to be aware that the practice that you are doing is smoke cleansing: it is not smudging. Smoke cleansing is a much more interpretive practice, that has been used around the globe for centuries. It is a common practice that involves the burning of herbs and or the use of incense sticks to energetically cleanse and clear a space.
Smudging, on the other hand, is a closed practice, used specifically in Native American cultures. It involves a very specific ritual and is a prescribed spiritual practice. While smoke cleansing is flexible and adaptable, with roots in many cultures and variations among many people, unless you have been specifically taught the practice of smudging in accordance with Native American tradition, saying that you are engaging in that, specific practice (smudging - not smoke cleansing) can be considered a form of cultural appropriation.
Can smoke cleansing and space clearing work for people who don't believe in it?
While smoke cleansing and space clearing are sometimes rooted in spiritual beliefs, the practices can be beneficial to anyone, regardless of their spiritual or religious beliefs. Even if you don't believe in the spiritual aspect of these practices, the act of setting an intention and actively seeking to change the energy in your space can have a psychological effect, creating a sense of calm, focus, and positivity.
The scents of the burning herbs can also have a soothing effect, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. It's also a way of marking a change, which can help in situations like moving to a new home, starting a new phase in life, or trying to reset after a difficult event. Ultimately, the effectiveness of smoke cleansing and space clearing can be subjective and dependent on an individual's personal beliefs, experiences, and intentions.
How do you practice smoke cleansing and space clearing safely?
Safety is paramount when performing any ritual that involves burning materials. Here are some safety tips to follow:
- Never leave burning materials unattended: Keep an eye on the sage, incense, or herbs that you are burning at all times.
- Use a fireproof container: Always use a fireproof container to hold the materials you are burning. A traditional abalone shell, or a ceramic bowl can work well.
- Open windows and doors: When smoke cleansing, it's crucial to open doors and windows to allow the smoke and the negative energy to escape. This also provides good ventilation and prevents smoke from building up in the room.
- Keep water nearby: Always have some water or a fire extinguisher nearby, in case the burning materials flare up more than expected.
- Be mindful of smoke alarms: The smoke from burning sage or other herbs can potentially set off smoke alarms, so be mindful of where these are in your home and how sensitive they are.
- Be mindful of pets and others: The smoke from sage or other herbs can be bothersome or even harmful to pets, or people with respiratory conditions. Always ensure that they are in a different room and can't inhale the smoke. It's also always a good idea to ask for the consent of others in your home before starting a smoke cleansing ritual.
- Dispose of the ashes safely: Once you're finished with your ritual, make sure to properly dispose of the ashes. They should be cool to the touch before you attempt to throw them away.
- Respect fire safety rules: Last but not least, it's crucial to remember that fire safety rules always apply. You should avoid performing smoke cleansing rituals in places where there's a high risk of fire, like near curtains, upholstered furniture, or flammable household items.