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Sage smudging

Sage smudging How and why to smudge your space By Erin Kyna, Erin Kyna Life Coaching Smudging is an ancient cleansing practice of Native Americans, as well as many other indigenous...

Sage smudging

Sage smudging

How and why to smudge your space
By Erin Kyna, Erin Kyna Life Coaching

Smudging is an ancient cleansing practice of Native Americans, as well as many other indigenous cultures. The art of smudging uses smoke from dried herbs and the act of ritual and ceremony to cleanse your energy and environment. The practice has been around for thousands of years and is thought to have begun for very practical reasons, as smoke from certain herbs is a very good pesticide. Smoke has also been used to preserve food and animal hides. In many traditions, smudging also involves a prayer or invocation, which, on its most basic level, is a very good tool for focusing our intention. And where intention goes, energy flows.

Most commonly white sage is collected and dried and then bound into a smudging stick. The botanical name for sage is salvia apiana, which is from the Latin root savare, meaning to heal. Palo Santo (holy wood) is also commonly used in South American traditions.

Modern science has proven that the aroma of sage increases the oxygen supply to the brain, producing a physical relaxation of muscle tension. When burned, sage and other herbs release negative ions, which research has linked to a more positive mood.

Energy smudging works on the subtle, invisible energy that exists in all things. Our energetic field can pick up the energy around us, so if we are in an environment where we are subject to negative or heavy energies or emotions, we can be susceptible to holding that in our energy field. Our homes, work spaces and other living areas also collect energy and can be in need of clearing. Smudging has been likened to the spiritual equivalent of hand washing.


To smudge your space you will need a smudge stick, a bowl to collect the ash and extinguish the stick, and a flame. I like to use a candle so I can easily reignite the smudge stick if I need to, mid cleansing.

You want to light the smudge stick and blow it out and allow it to keep smouldering. Sometimes it can be hard to keep it smouldering so once you blow out the flame, blow onto the smouldering embers to really get it going. If it burns out, just relight it again and keep going.

Once the stick is smouldering, use your intention through prayer or making a statement that the smoke will cleanse you and your space of all negative energies.

Start with smudging your own energy field by looping the smoke around your body. Start at one foot, tracing up the side of your body, around your arm, over your head, circling your crown, and then back down the other side of your body to your other foot. I like to breathe in the ambient scent of the smoke as I do this and invite in a sense of sacredness or meditation, to really focus my energy as clearly as possibly. To smudge is such an ancient and sacred ritual, so it is important for me to create a sense of reverence, to honour the ancient wisdoms that have existed long before we did. You can also use a feather to encourage the smoke in the direction you wish it to go.

If you also wish to cleanse your house or a specific space, start in the doorway and trace the doorframe the same way you traced yourself. Then make your way around the room, allowing the smoke to touch all the corners of the room and under the desk or bed or any pokey little holes you have around the place, until you reach the doorframe again. Carry your ash bowl around with you to collect any ash that may fall, and to extinguish the flame when you are finished.

Then open all windows and doors to allow the smoke out and conclude with a moment of gratitude, giving thanks for the purification that has occurred.

Your space and your energy field are now all cleansed and ready for you to enjoy!

Smudging with sage is safe to do for most people, as long as you are not inhaling large amounts of the smoke directly (which you wouldn’t do) and should be avoided by anyone with breathing difficulties or bad asthma. Use the same considerations as you would with incense.

Smudge sticks are available from the Staple Store, 21 Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea, and smudge sticks, Palo Santo and many other resins and herbs for ceremonies are available from Qi Crystals, 743 Glenhuntly Road, Caulfield, as well as online.


Erin is an accredited Life Coach. Erin says, "it is my passion to help people transform their lives. Find that sense of who you really are and to live that proudly. I want you to radiate who you are out of every cell of your being. I want to have passion and purpose about all that you do. I want you to smile, just because. I coach clients around the world to build a solid foundation on which to grow." Visit Erin's website to find out more.

Nourish Melbourne is also proud to have Erin Kyna Life Coaching a part of the Nourish Melbourne Community and Membership Program. Nourish Melbourne Members receive $100 off Erin's three-month coaching package, plus a free 30 minute consultation.