Smudge sticks are made up of a bunch of herbs bound together by twine. These herbs are especially selected for their specific properties. A smudge may consist of one type of herb such as white sage, lavender or Yerba Santo, or it may consist of a mix of two or more herbs. Burning a smudge stick is known as smudging.
Smudging is in fact an ancient sacred ritual practiced by a few Native American people to clear low vibrations and stuck energies and allow positive energy to enter and lift their spirits. Today, smudging is used for a variety of similar purposes, from cleansing the home, balancing energy, and reducing negativity to creating a spiritual atmosphere for meditation and yoga. Just inhaling the aroma of a smudge stick can be absolutely blissful and calming at the soul level.
While all smudge sticks will clear your space of negative energy and uplift your spirits, choosing one that resonates with your intentions will be most beneficial for you.
A Look At The Different Types Of Smudges
White Sage Smudge
Also known as Sacred Sage, Bee Sage or California Sage, White Sage smudges are the most widely used smudging sticks. Many people regard this as the ‘Holy Grail’ of smudging and won’t consider any other herb stick. White Sage smudges give out a sweet, herbaceous and slightly astringent aroma when burned. Very versatile and hugely effective, these smudges are used for a variety of purposes including meditation, protection, cleansing and purifying the body, warding off evil spirits, and fending off infections.
Palo Santo Smudge
Palo Santo or ‘Holy Wood’ has a smooth, aromatic and spicy scent that is faintly reminiscent of ginger bread. Its holy reputation dates back to the Incas who burned it as part of their healing and cleansing ceremonies. Burning a Palo Santo smudge can help clear out negative energies, instill calm and relaxation, and fill your home with joy and harmony. The Spaniards often burn Palo Santo smudges on Catholic holy days and processions.
Yerba Santa Smudge
Yerba Santa or ‘Holy Herb’ got its name from Spanish monks who were impressed by the plant’s powerful healing properties. It is also known as Bear Weed, Mountain Balm or Consumptive’s Weed. Yerba Santa smudges have a distinctly uplifting aroma that stimulates your inner courage. They also increase psychic powers and facilitate healing and protection. The herb is also used as a traditional remedy for coughing and several other ailments.
Blue Sage Smudge
Also known as Desert Sage, New Mexico Sage or Grandmother Sage, Blue Sage smudge has a light, heavenly aroma that’s great for cleansing the energy of your home and inducing calm and relaxation. Its soothing scent makes Blue Sage smudge a great choice for burning during meditation or just for enjoyment. It’s also the perfect alternative if you find the strong aroma of White Sage too overpowering.
Black Sage Smudge
The strong, heavy aroma of Black Sage smudge is thought to have the power to draw your energy and consciousness into other realms. This is an herb of introspection and inner healing. Also known as Dream Weed, Magical sage, and Mugwort, Black Sage smudge is often burned before bedtime to promote restful sleep and peaceful dreams. It is thought to offer protection during astral travel and is the choice smudge of Shamans who use it during shamanic journeying.
An ancient tree and one of the oldest thriving beings on Earth, Cedar recalls ancient forests and invokes their wisdom and protection. The fresh, woodsy smell of a burning Cedar smudge works wonderfully to cleanse a new home of its old energies and unwanted spirits while inviting fresh, energetic vibes and protecting the new occupant from undesirable influences.
Lavender Sage Smudge
Rich in therapeutic properties, Lavender Sage is often referred to as ‘the mother plant’ by traditional healers. Despite their physical resemblance and profusion of purple flowers in both species, Lavender Sage is not related in any way to the widely known aromatic herb Lavendula angustifolia or Lavender. Burning Lavender Sage smudge clears away negative thoughts and energies, harmonizes the mind, enhances intuition, and inspires loving feelings. Its peaceful, calming, and sedating effects make Lavender Sage the smudge of choice for burning at bedtime.
Desert Sage Smudge
With its warm, herbaceous, peppery aroma, Desert Sage smudge is excellent for cleansing, purifying, and boosting inner strength. Inhaling the aroma of Desert Sage is thought to relieve headaches, ease anxiety, and invoke pleasant thoughts while the smoke is thought to cleanse, heal and bless people as well as the surroundings. It is also known as Desert Magic, Sagebrush Smudge, Mountain Sage, or Grey Sage.
Tips For Making The Most Of Your Smudging Ritual
The beauty of smudging is that it can be done anytime, anywhere. However, there are a few practices you must adhere to, to maximize the benefits.
To cleanse and energize your space, clear the clutter and open up the windows and drapes so clean, fresh air can enter easily to replace the old, negative air. Then light your selected smudge stick and use a feather to fan the smoke around the space as well as your body.
To cleanse your mind, body, and spirit of any stagnant or negative energy within or surrounding you, clear the space, open up the windows and curtains, and use a feather to draw the sacred smoke towards your body from front to back and head to toe. Setting your intentions and focusing on the ritual is an important part of the process.
Last but not least, don’t forget to use a smudge bowl to catch the ashes from the burning smudge stick so your space remains clean and ash-free after you’re done.
Written By Diana D'Souza