“Smudging” is an ancient spiritual ritual used by some Native American tribes and other cultures around the world. The practice of sage smudging – the burning of herbs to purify and bless people and places – is believed to improve your well-being and can provide other benefits as well. It is now not only used by indigenous peoples but has become a New Age custom as well.
What, you might wonder, does this have to do with farming? I don’t remember where or how I first heard about smudging, but I became interested in it before opening the shop. Since I had my own herbs, including sage, growing in my gardens, I thought it would be fun to make up the bundles of sage and other herbs to sell.
The truth is I have not yet tried it myself! I had intended to “smudge” my shop before opening, but out of concern for setting off smoke alarms and potentially embarrassing myself in front of my landlord and other tenants in the building, I never got around to it. As it turns out, once I learned more, you are supposed to open windows anyway (more on that later), so that probably wasn’t really a concern. Once we can open things up in the spring here, I plan to “cleanse” both the shop and our home.
I was most excited to learn that a feather is often used in these rituals, so I added a guinea hen feather from our flock to my bundles! The feather is used to waft the smoke around and over yourself or objects you wish to purify.
Benefits of Smudging
- Purifying – Sage has antimicrobial properties, and some varieties are even anti-bacterial. It can help to keep bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even insects away. Burning sage can release negative ions which then neutralizes positive ions found in such things as pet dander, pollution, dust, and mold. Therefore, it can especially benefit those with respiratory conditions.
- Connection to the spiritual realm/enhancement of intuition – healers use smudging to help achieve their healing state and to solve and reflect upon spiritual issues.
- Dispel negative energy – this can be especially useful before meditating. Smudging can lift your spirits by banishing that negativity.
- In certain cultures, smudging is a traditional remedy for anxiety, depression, and mood disorders.
- Soothe stress – white sage has compounds in it that can activate mood receptors in the brain.
- Smudging can help insomnia and boost energy levels, specifically when using lavender.
- Burning herbs smell good – they are a natural air freshener, not full of chemicals like those you buy, or that can even be found in some candles.
- The smoke from the smoldering herbs will take impurities and negative energy with it, which is why you should open your windows when performing this ritual.
- The process of smudging can be used to clear, cleanse, and focus an area, yourself, and even objects. Some people like to smudge new or used objects that are brought into their homes.
Different Herbs for Smudging
The source of your herbs can be important too! Many think that you should only purchase it from native gatherers, but crafters and artists are also mentioned as good sources. I’d say your local organic farm is a good choice too! It is the intention with which the herbs are gathered that is thought to be most important; therefore buying from a commercial company or on amazon might not be the way to go! I do try to think good and positive thoughts when harvesting my herbs. Farm dog Luke is usually by my side bringing his good and loving energy as well!
I am sharing the benefits of the herbs that I grow and collect for the smudge stick sets I sell in my shop. There are many other herbs that can be used as well. I often use a combination of each of these herbs in my bundles:
- Sage: There is more than one type of sage, and white, which is associated with purity, is the most often used for smudging. Prairie sage, common, blue, or black can also be used.
Sage is used to cleanse, bless, and heal. It is most beneficial for the removal of negative energy and positive ions, and improving intuition, memory, and focus.
- Lavender: This fragrant plant attracts peace and happiness, and provides for restful sleep. It can reduce depression, grief, and sorrow.
- Rosemary: This herb can remove negative energy, is soothing, and can bring about a sense of peace.
- Mint: Mint is refreshing and soothing. I use peppermint oil to help with relaxing and to alleviate migraines, I hope burning it may bring about the same benefits.
- Thyme: This herb can remove mind blocks, obstacles, and negative feelings, and can also be a memory booster.
- Lemon balm is for spiritual cleansing and calm.
I give the instruction card seen below with each bundle I sell. It is also said to be better to use matches than a lighter to light your herbs. Abalone shells are the most popular for a smudge pot, but any heat resistant dish can work, such as the handmade pottery plates and bowls seen below that we sell at the shop.
Most importantly, when you smudge, visualize negative energy floating away and right out the window! You can also say a little prayer or mantra while you are smudging.
Also, remember, you are dealing with fire, so be careful! Make sure your stick is completely extinguished before leaving it unattended.
At this time, I only have two sets of smudge sticks left in stock in the shop. I wasn’t sure if they would sell or not, so didn’t make a lot, but I am pleased that they have been selling! There are no herbs to harvest here in the winter, but I have started new ones from seed in the house; so, I hope to be making more by spring! By the way, I always cut my perennial herbs, I never pull them up by the roots. That is most important to keep them coming back.
Have you ever tried smudging? What did you think? If you haven’t, would you consider it?