Smudging for Beginners

When I first embarked on my spiritual journey many years ago, I remember hearing about this rather strange & seemingly magickal practise called “smudging” that was recommended left, right and centre.

It gets rid of negative energies, can be used to cleanse and heal new homes, work spaces, people, crystals, magickal tools such as wands, angel cards, crystal balls and the suchlike, and is a general all-round cure-all for negative vibes!


I had no idea how to do it, but it sounded like something you needed a bit of practise at doing and maybe a course or two to learn.

But I was wrong. It’s very, very easy! So hold onto your witches hats, it’s time for the Myth Buster to explain all once again…

So what is smudging?

Well put very simply, it’s basically waving some burning incense around with the intention of clearing negative energies from a place, object or person.

Really? Is that all there is to it?

Well yes and no. That’s the basis, but there are techniques you can use to make it more thorough and long lasting, ceremonies you can perform if you really want to for specific purposes.

So how do I do this?

Well first of all you need a bundle of herbs, or some incense. Nag Champa is my favourite if you’re going to use incense, but the ideal is a small bundle of dried white sage leaves tied together, which is called a “smudge stick” that you can get quite easily online or from your local alternative supply shop.

Here is a picture of the smudge stick I’m currently using…

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You don’t usually burn the whole thing in one go unless you have a lot of cleansing to do! It’s sitting on a small abalone shell which I use as a kind of ashtray. There is spiritual significance to the shell, but I won’t go into that right now. You don’t need a shell, you can use any sort of ashtray or heat proof plate to catch the ash. A regular ashtray is actually ideal if you have one to hand, or a nice big heatproof dinner plate.

Why do I need to Smudge?

It’s a good idea to smudge a house if you’ve just moved in to clear the energies ready for you to live there. This is also called “space clearing.”

To do this you can simply light your smudge stick, and walk from room to room, gently wafting the lovely pungent smoke around for a few seconds in each room with the intention of cleansing the house. You might want to say something aloud as you do this, such as “I banish all negativity from this place, only pure love and light may remain here.”

Make sure you don’t drop any hot ash – be careful and don’t waft too hard! Some people like to use a feather to waft the smoke around, but you can just use your hand, a piece of paper, or whatever you have to be honest. Some people like to send up prayers or ask angels to help them when they are doing this. When you’ve been into every room and feel you’re done, just gently stub out your smudge stick in an ashtray or on your shell of you have one.

Remember it’s burning and therefore on fire, so you need to make sure you put it on a heat-proof surface until it’s cold. Never leave it to burn on its own – you don’t want to start a fire! For the same reason, children should not be allowed to do this. Fire can be dangerous and you must be careful when using a lit smudge or incense stick.

Also, don’t get it too near to your smoke detector or smoke alarm, because you might set it off – that can be embarrassing!

Sometimes if I’m feeling low or I’ve been around negative people, I’ll smudge myself – yes really! I light my smudge stick and waft myself with the smoke until I feel lighter and my energy is clearer. It only takes a moment. Again, be careful not to set yourself or anything else on fire, you might want to do this outside on concrete just to be safe.

Do be careful if you have asthma, and avoid using sage around small children as the smoke is rather pungent and strong, and may cause breathing difficulties for those with weak lungs or respiratory problems.

There is a cheat’s way to do this if you find yourself somewhere that it isn’t practical or safe to have a naked flame – you can buy sage spray which works just as well, and comes in a little pump action bottle. You can spritz it around quite safely and it will have the same effect.

I get most of my supplies from the lovely people at Mind Body Spirit of Westbourne. You can visit their website here.

So that’s it?

In a nutshell, yes. There are lots of more complicated rituals and special ways of smudging that you can research online or learn about from books, to achieve certain results, but there’s nothing stopping you from having a go with a smudge stick or incense stick in your home. If you like, you can draw sacred symbols that are special to you in the air with the smudge stick, just be careful of any hot ash that you might drop!

You’ll be surprised at how quickly and how well the energy changes and feels more uplifting and clear. It’s quick, easy, and very effective.

Happy Smudging!


  1. I have smudged three times so far! Initially I started doing it as a way to cleanse my crystals, but after a while you become sensitive to the energy in the whole room and just “know” when it’s time for another “general” smudge! LOL. I love it! 🙂 I also use the sage leaves and an abalone shell, but I don’t know what the significance of the shell is. I shall have to look into that …


  2. Oh, I LOVE smudging, and this explanation is wonderful! I even learned some new stuff that I hadn’t heard before, like putting it in the shell–color me intrigued!!! I haven’t done this as much as I would have liked to lately, so this is an excellent reminder to get out my lovely smudge and get my energetic cleansing on!! Thank you!


  3. So cool — I had sent a friend a smudge stick a while back when her ne’er-do-well boyfriend moved out of her place. But I had no idea I could smudge myself to clear negative energy! Thanks for the insight!


  4. Very cool Helen. I’ve heard a lot about smudging but never really explored what’s involved.


  5. I love this post Helen. This is filled with GREAT tips! I have a couple of questions. Is there any significance smudging with sage vs lavender? Also, I keep my smudge wand in the same abalone shell you do. What is the significance of this shell with smudging? Inquiring minds want to know MORE! XX


  6. Love smudging.. laughing at “hold onto your witches’ hats”!! I use white sage leaves in a little tin cup lined in tinfoil and light them (you can use a cooking pot lined with foil also) and light em up and then blow out the flames and they smoke for long enough to smudge most of the house.. Always feels better after.. except have to explain to people that the after smell is not marijuana..

    Love to you.. great info..


  7. I love your myth-busting ways, Helen. And thank you for including all the great tips. Hopefully no-one has caught themselves on fire while smudging!
    Hugs and butterflies,


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