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What is smudging and how do you do it?

Smudging, also known as saging, is a ritual to cleanse your mind, your space, and the energy around you. Here’s a quick How to Smudge guide where we will fill you in on what it is and how you do it.

From Danielle, our Founder.

I love Sundays. One of the things I love to do on this day is to smudge. It’s a dedicated day off or at least a few hours of time dedicated to selfcare. While it doesn’t come inherently easy to me to sit back and relax, with the intentions of smudging, I make a point to center myself, allowing myself to take some time just for me.”

Palo Santo

Smudging is a ritual rooted in Native American and Amazonian traditions. Shamans would burn sage or palo santo over an open fire to cleanse people of negativity and bad energy while promoting wisdom, healing and good-positive energy.

On my selfcare Sundays, one of my go-to activities is to smudge. A purposeful cleansing of me and my space. Out with the bad, in with the good. A time for renewal. A restart.

Here’s how you can do it too with our smudging 101 guide.

1) Gather what you need to smudge:

  • the material that you are going to burn (sage, cedar, palo santo, etc.)
  • something to burn it with (match, lighter, lit candle)
  • something to put the burning material in & to extinguish it (ceramic dish, metal bowl)
Smudge Bundles

    2) Open a door or window for the negative energy and smoke to go outside.

    3) Set your positive intentions. Think of what you want to release, get rid of, bring in, push out. Take these thoughts and create a mantra, a saying you repeat to yourself or aloud as you are smudging.

    4) Now light it up! Light your smudge bundle, let it burn for a few moments, then blow it out so it is smoking.

    5) Walk slowly around the space you are smudging while you are holding your smudge bundle in your dominant hand. As you walk around repeating your mantra, be mindful of doors, windows, mirrors, corners, hallways and doorways as you guide the smoke and bad energy towards the open window or door. *If you are cleansing a large space, you may want to have several windows or doors open and they don’t need to be fully open, just a crack is fine too.

    6) When you are walking around, remind yourself that this is YOUR time. Do not hurry, do not rush. This ritual is sacred and being mindful of that will aid in its power.

    7) When you are done (there is no specific allotted time to do this, you decide when it's complete), extinguish the smudge bundle or palo santo stick in your ceramic dish by tamping it down. Don't wet it or get water on it, you won't be able to light it again if you do.

    8) Give thanks to yourself and the time you took for yourself and your space.

    9) Repeat as needed. There is no hard or fast rule about how often you need to smudge. Listen to your gut; when you feel uneasy, stressed, overwhelmed, then it is time to do it again.

    Cedar Smudge Bundle


    Q: Can I smudge myself?

    Yes! You would follow the same steps as above, but once you light your smudge bundle or palo santo stick, stand in a quiet space and place your feet about a foot apart from each other. With the bundle/stick in your hand, run it along your body, starting with your feet and working your way up to your head. Be mindful of repeating your mantra and keeping the sage/palo about 6” away from you so you don’t inhale too much smoke.  

    Q: Can I use the same smudge bundle or palo santo stick for my next smudge?

    Definitely! You can use it until there is nothing left to burn. I love to keep my smudge bundle/palo stick along with my ceramic dish and set of smudging matches in a wooden box that I can my ritual box. I love that it’s all together in its own sacred space for me.

    Q: What’s the different between sage, cedar, eucalyptus? Which one should I use?

    Great question! Sage, white sage in particular, is the most common for smudging. Its white color indicates purity. However, some people prefer to smudge with cedar, eucalyptus or lavender for a different aroma experience. I recommend starting with sage and exploring other options for their different aromatic properties as you get used to smudging. You can find them all HERE

    Q: But what about palo santo?

    Palo Santo

    Palo Santo, also known as ‘Holy Wood’ is quite possibly my favorite material to smudge with. It’s a sustainably cultivated wood from South America that has natural aromatic properties from the tree resin (this is where the aroma comes from, the resin in the wood). Just like how the Native American shamans used white sage for smudging, Amazonian shamans used palo santo for their ceremonies and rituals. I absolutely adore its aroma, a sweet and woody aroma that is both intoxicating and relaxing at the same time. I also love that it is a wood stick, therefore it takes longer to burn, so one stick can be used many times. Note: when using a palo santo stick for smudging, you’ll need to keep the flame burning for about a minute before you blow out the flame.

    Q: Where can I find all my materials?

    We’ve got you! Head to this page, click HERE, to find everything you need to start smudging on Selfcare Sundays!

    I hope this tutorial on smudging and how to cleanse your mind, space and energy. Here’s to a life filled will positivity, clarity and good vibes!


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    • Ken Reese on

      Running out of pali santo, I’ll be stopping by for so.e. Glad you have it. Love the article.

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