How to Smudge Your House

Smudging is an old Native American tradition done as a means of purifying one's home and eliminating accumulated negative energy and bad spirits. It is performed by burning certain ''sacred'' herbs and allowing the smoke to circulate within the house. Read these directions if you are willing to learn how to perform this ceremony properly.

How to Smudge Your House

1. Sage Can Be Used If You Aren't Following Any Tradition

As smudging is performed by various Native American tribes, as well as cultures, it is natural that they all have their own rules as to which herbs can be used. However, sage is the most commonly used plant, and it is especially valued by the culture of Cheyenne. It is believed that white sage is best for the elimination of bad spirits and negative energy, even though other subtypes of this plant work too.

2. Use Cedar in Case It Grows Nearby

Cedar is primarily used for cleansing in Canada, and should not be mistaken with juniper tree which is only used by a small number of cultures during smudging ceremonies.

  • It is alright to mix a couple of different herbs and perform the purification as well, but in case you are following a Native American tradition, avoid this as elders of this culture rarely approve it.
  • If you aren't following any tradition, you can use a plant different than sage or cedar, such as sweet grass for example.

3. Opt for a Bowl Made of Natural Ingredients or Make ''Smudge Sticks''

Now that you have learned the basics of how to smudge your house, you must learn which containers to use during this ceremony. Those made of natural ingredients, such as clay or stone, are most common, but abalone shells are used by various tribes too with the exception of some Pacific Northwest ones who don't approve of them. You can also make or purchase so-called ''smudge sticks'' which are, in fact, just a bunch of herbs wrapped up together.

4. Determine When Smudging Is Needed

The smudging ceremony is usually performed after moving to a new house, or while staying in a hotel as a means of cleansing the new environment. You can also smudge after you've heard a bad news, you've had a major argument, or when your life suddenly takes a different turn.

  • The purification can be carried out more often in places where different kinds of ceremonies are frequently occurring.

5. Take Away All Metal Objects Before Starting

While learning how to smudge your house, it is important you familiarize yourself with rules that your culture has regarding this ritual, such as the removal of metal jewelry, belts and other metal objects you might have on you. This custom can be interpreted as a way to become more spiritually aware by detaching yourself from things of value.

  • As an exception to this rule, you can keep onto your wedding ring and objects made of metal that have any spiritual significance to you.

6. Follow More Rules Out of Respect for Elders

There are many different rules to this ceremony that vary from culture to culture. However, there are a couple of the most common ones that you should follow, at least out of respect for elders.

  • Drugs and alcohol are prohibited at least 24 hours prior to the start of the ceremony, as they could weaken your spirit.
  • Pregnant women or women on their period could be asked to leave because the intensity of their spirit could disrupt the purification process and leave them weak. 

7. Pray During the Ritual

It is recommended you pray to whomever you wish to during the ritual, whether that is God, spirits or someone/something else, as it is believed that the smoke will pass on your prayer. If you don't feel like praying, show your gratitude towards anything that you are grateful for.

8. Make Sure That Herbs Aren't Producing Fire, but Smoke

If you are wondering how to smudge your house without your herbs producing fire, but rather smoke, here is the answer. Use matches, lighter or a torch to light the plants, after which you should let them catch on fire and burn for 30 seconds before finally blowing the flames out so that there is only smoke left. In case the smoke runs out during the process, just light more herbs.

9. Fan Smoke over Every Participant

The smudging ceremony participants should be purified before the house by rubbing or fanning the smoke all over their bodies.

  • It is best to use an eagle, turkey or hawk feather to perform the fanning.
  • To cleanse yourself, catch the smoke with your hands by forming the shape of a cup and rub it all over your skin.
  • It is preferable to start with your head and heart, before moving onto your other body parts.

10. Waft the Smoke All Around Your Home as You Walk Through It

You can either use a feather or your own hands to get the smoke to all of the corners of your house. You can also leave a window or a door open while performing the smudging so that the smoke that carries all of the negative energy can get out.

  • Depending on your tradition, you can start at the east wall, west wall, or at the entrance of your home.

11. After the Ashes Have Cooled Down, Scatter Them to the Ground

After you've successfully performed the smudging ritual, let the ashes cool down, thank the planet Earth for providing you with fire and herbs that you have used in the ceremony, and finally, scatter the ashes to the ground. 

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