1 comment / Posted by Brianne Huntsman

smudging ceremony

I first learned of smudging when I was in an herb shop, looking for incense as part of my spiritual practice.  I had just decided to take time off from university and move home, and I was in need of some serious spiritual grounding.  

As I browsed the shelves, reading the labels like “Sandalwood for spiritual awareness,” and “Cardamom for mental clarity” I next read, “Sage for smudging.”  

Smudging, like as in “I smudged my eye makeup?” I thought.  What the heck is “smudging”?  A quick google search on my phone showed that smudging is part of a meditative or spiritual practice, wherein one burns sage (and other herbs if desired) and uses the smoke to cleanse or rejuvenate oneself or one’s personal space.

You know when you find something you didn’t know you were looking for?  That’s exactly what happened here.  Fast forward to today, and I now incorporate other herbs and ceremonies into my smudging practice.  I use smudging when I need some mental clarity around relationships or work (smudging myself), and I also smudge specific rooms and at times my whole apartment when I feel I need to hit the “spiritual refresh” button.

We’re not going to go into specific ceremonies here (there are entire books dedicated to smudging, and it’s been practiced by everyone from Indigenous People of the Americas to Ancient Greeks) but below you’ll find an introductory guide, as well as an explanation as to what is included in the FaithHaus Smudge Kit, the purpose or meaning behind each component, and how to use it.

sage smudge kit faithhaus

Before we begin, I want to make sure that one thing comes across:  Like all things in a spiritual practice, smudging is about intention.  Don’t get too caught up in the “how-to” – make sure to stay grounded in the why behind your practice.   Some people smudge daily as part of their spiritual practice, and others do it at the beginning of every season.  

Okay, let’s get started.  Included in the kit are the following items:

  • Abalone Shell:  The Abalone Shell is a vessel that holds the burning elements, in this case, cedar and charcoal tablets.  For some, the shell also represents the water element in their practice.
  • Feather:  While you can wave burning sage sticks around a space, this can be a bit dangerous (burning ashes and carpet aren’t a great combination).  The feather is used to wave and disperse burning smoke around a person or space.
  • Charcoal Tablets:  Like the feather, this is a tool.  It is used to light the herbs in your ceremony.  
  • Sage:  One of the most used elements for smudging, sage is used to wash-off the effects of the outside world, and it can also be used for healing.
  • Cedar:  Commonly used to cleanse a space when moving in, or “reboot” a space if it has been a place of discord.  Cedar is also known to strengthen courage when facing adversity.

Smudging Ceremony

Because smudging is thousands of years old, there are endless ceremonies that can be used (this article from the Chopra Center is a great place to start).  Again, the thing that matters here are your intentions.  It can be easy to be overwhelmed when beginning a new practice, which is why this kit comes with a card letting you know the properties of each item and a how-to.  Below is a step-by-step guide of how I use smudging in my personal practice.

  1. Preparation:  Because my smoke alarms are a little over-zealous, I make sure to open windows/doors to make sure the smoke doesn’t set off the alarms.  I also put a bit of sand or salt in the abalone shell to prevent overheating.
  2. Setting Intention:  Before smudging, I take time to pray, or meditate, to make sure I am present (and not distracted by a mental to-do list!).  Sometimes, I write my intention or prayer down on a piece of paper, and later burn it.  
  3. Beginning the Ceremony:  Some people chant or prayer aloud by smudging, but I almost always focus on my intention or prayer in my mind.  I light the charcoal tablet (on one end, not the whole thing!) and place it in the vessel, here the abalone shell.
  4. Practicing:  Once the charcoal tablet is lit, I then light the sage (or cedar, or whatever herb I’m using) and place it in the shell as well.  Then, I pick up the shell in my left hand, and gently wave the smoke with the feather.  As I wave the smoke I hold my intention in my mind, or pray.  
  5. End of Practice:  To avoid excess smoke, use sand or soil to put out the flames – not water.

sage smudging ceremony picture mai duong

Disclaimer:  Fire and smoke are dangerous, and should be respected.  Please use common sense!  Make sure the flame is entirely extinguished before leaving the room.  Smoke can irritate those with respiratory issues, as well as those who are pregnant.   FaithHaus and its subsidiaries cannot be held responsible for damage.

Lead picture courtesy of @rufio08

Closing picture courtesy of @instamaicamera


  • Posted On October 07, 2016 by PC

    This sounds really cool.

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