The ritual of smudging can be defined as "spiritual house cleaning". In theory, the smoke from various herbs and plants attaches itself to negative energy and as the smoke clears it takes the negative energy with it, releasing it into another space where it will be regenerated into positive energy.
There are primarily four herb choices for smudging: sage, sweetgrass, cedar and tobacco. They can be used alone or bundled together in any combination. This bundle is what we refer to as a smudge stick or smudge bundle. Sage is the most sacred of the herbs; the most commonly used, and is burned primarily for protection. Sweetgrass is used to dispel negative energy. Cedar is used mainly for purifying and also to introduce positive energy. Herbal tobacco helps to carry the smoke, with your intentions, to the "heavens". It is also considered an offering.
Smudging is a simple, fast, cost-effective way to cleanse yourself and create sacred space. Smudge yourself when your spirits are low, after you have been around someone who is sick or depressed, during meditation and when in prayer. You can also smudge your surroundings to cleanse the energy, clear a new new home or just to begin anew!
Self cleansing is simple. Simply light the end of the smudge stick or loose herbs in a shell or bowl and extinguish the flame once the herbs have started smoldering. Allow the smudge stick to smolder, freeing the smoke to circle in the air. Fan the swirls of smoke around your body from head to toe. To cleanse a room or house, carry the smoldering smudge stick, clockwise around the house, to all of the rooms in the home and the areas in the rooms. Making sure to smudge in the corners, behind doors and the doorway itself.
It is never too late to cleanse and renew yourself and your space by holding a smudging ritual. There is no wrong way to smudge. As long as you hold a positive intention the universe will know and guide your actions.