Clearing to Make Space: The Art of Ritual Smudging


Smudging is ancient practice shared by many world cultures. It is the ceremonial burning of herbs or resins performed to purify a space. One of the most common herbs used to cleanse a space of negative energy is sage, known as "The Wise Plant" for its sacred energy and use in ritual. Smudging can also be used like incense to cleanse odor by filling a space with the aroma of the herb. Smudging is also a great way to repel insects and clear the space of airborne pathogens.

Mir Kalan Khan School, Lucknow, ~ 1780

Mir Kalan Khan School, Lucknow, ~ 1780


Cleanse away low-vibe energy, leave behind the past week, or let go of something that needs to be surrendered with your own smudging ritual.

  1. Set an intention. Let your intention be clear before you begin.  Once it is set, fill the space with your intention, charging it with positive energy.  Attitude is everything and will influence what comes to fill the space. 

  2. Physically clear the space of clutter and any distracting fixtures, lights, or noises. Open the windows and let in as much natural light and fresh air.

  3. Light the tip of the sage or herb bundle with a wooden match for several seconds and then extinguish the flame by fanning a cupped hand over the flame until you see a white smoke. Allow the smoke to billow up. Fan the smoke with a feather or move the herb bundle in small circular motions. Use a heatproof ceramic dish to catch the ash.

  4. Cleanse yourself of negative energy first: Stand in a receptive manner and connect with a relaxed breath. Visualize dark matter leaving your mind, body, emotions, and spirit as the smoke brushes over you. Direct the smoke using a cupped hand. Be careful not to inhale the smoke.

  5. Energetically cleanse the space. Walk the space in a clockwise direction, concentrating smoke in any corners, entryways and areas of high traffic or high energy. Move and cleanse negative, stagnant, dark, sluggish energy that may be lingering the space. Allow the smoke to clear as it cleanses the space.

  6. Allow bundle to extinguish in a shell or ceramic dish or extinguish in ash or sand.


Begin at the EAST, which represents the sun, the air and new beginnings.
Move to the SOUTH, which represents the earth, those who came before us, the past.
Continue WEST, which represents the sunset, the water, and turning within.
Smudge the NORTH, which represents the heavens, those who watch over us.
ABOVE, the sky, the father and masculine aspects.
BELOW, the land, the mother and feminine spirits.
Imagine the smoke WITHIN, representing connection to all things.