Smudging is widely known as a sort of spiritual way of cleansing one’s space of negative energy. Its origins are richly rooted in Native American culture, but has been adopted as a neo-pagan practice. If you’re new to smudging, you might wonder about how to do it and what materials you may use. You may also have questions about the validity of any claimed effects. The following post will attempt to give the beginner witch a better understanding of this popular practice.

How does smudging work?
Metaphysically speaking, burning herbs and odoriferous woods/plants is believed to interact with energy fields. In particular, it’s believed to cleanse away negative energy that may cling to your own aura or the energy field surrounding your living space. There are other schools of thought regarding how this works, such as the idea that certain smokes aide in dispelling negative spirits.

Scientifically speaking, what is referred to as “medicinal smoke” is believed to clean an environment of harmful bacteria. Medicinal smoke comes from burning a variety of plants, such as sage! Burning these medicinal smokes has a truly cleansing affect because it kills certain bacteria that may create odors — among other negative issues.

When should you smudge?
Everyone has an opinion on when the “right time” to smudge your home might be. Personally, I think you should do it any time you feel it’s necessary. Some people keep a smudge incense blend burning at all times in their homes. Others only smudge when they feel negative energy around them. The shortest answer to give is simple: It’s up to you.

What materials should you use? 
The standard smudge stick that pretty much everyone is familiar with is made of white sage. White sage, when burned, puts off what is known as “medicinal smoke.” While this standard and common plant is excellent for smudging, it’s also not the only material you can use. You can also easily find smudge sticks made of rosemary, lavender, pine and a wide variety of other fragrant plant materials. Pretty much, if it’s a burnable plant that’s non-toxic and aromatic, you can use it in a smudging blend.

There are also wood varieties that are burned in smudging ceremonies. Palo Santo wood is the most common variety, and can be obtained affordably in many metaphysical shops as well as online.

Smudging is one of the most basic practices in a variety of spiritual and religious practices — so basic, that it’s one of the easiest ways you can add a bit of magic to your daily routine. However, keep in mind that this is a practice that is rooted in Native American culture, and isn’t to be appropriated frivolously as a hip thing to do. Smudge freely, with respect of where this practice originates. 

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