How to Smudge. Before you begin, please read the cautions.
- Make sure the area you are cleansing is well ventilated. This is a health precaution, as well as a spiritually practical one as well, as the negative energy will need an "escape route".
- Smoke from herbs can lead to allergic reactions or trigger asthma or other forms of respiratory distress in sensitive persons.
- Do not use near infants or very young children or people with respiratory problems such as asthma.
- Do not begin using smudge if you are pregnant.
- Never leave burning sage or herbs unattended.
- Place some sand or soil or even salt in the bottom of the container to provide insulation as otherwise the container could scorch a surface it is placed upon.
First, for a total cleansing, open all doors & windows of space to be cleared, providing an "exit" point for all the old energies. (This opening of the windows, etc. is not always necessary, but it is useful to have at least one open door or window whenever smudging)
Focus on your intent:
Any action, undertaken with intention and belief can become a potent ritual. Consider your intention before you smudge and hold it clearly in your mind. You may wish to invite the spirit of the herbs to join you and guide and assist with your intention.
If you are cleansing a group, smoke yourself first. Offer smoke to the seven directions (east, south, west, north and up, down and centre) sometimes called the cardinal directions.
Cleansing yourself: Fan the swirls of smoke around your body from head to toe with your hands or feather. You may want to especially focus on chakra areas where you feel there are blockages or where there has been or is physical, emotional, or psychic pain. Visualise the smoke lifting away all the negative thoughts, emotions and energies that have attached themselves to you. If you are feeling depressed for instance you could visualise the smoke carrying away all your feelings of depression.
It is often appropriate to cleanse guests as they enter the space at a ritual, ceremony or special event. Cleanse as if you were cleansing yourself, fanning the smoke all over their body. You may want to speak an intention or a suggestion for the cleansing as you do it. For instance, "Allow the sacred smoke to cleanse your body and spirit and bring you present and available into this moment".
During healing work, the smoke may be fanned over the person either by your hand or with feathers. This clears out unhealthy energies and brings in the special attributes of the herbs. You may also direct cleanse to each of the person's chakras and as you do so visualise each chakra coming into balance as it is purified by the sage. If you can see auras, look for discolored places in the aura and direct the healing smoke towards those places on the patient's body. (Using precautions and common sense in the case of people with respiratory difficulties and/or pregnant women).