What is Smudging?

In movies, you may see a shaman burning what seems like a bundle of leaves during an important ceremony. Or perhaps your hippie friend told you that you should “totally smudge yourself, man,” after telling him that you’ve been in rut lately, but what exactly is smudging and what purpose does it serve?


Many cultures all over the world have used smudging as an ancient healing method for hundreds of thousands of years. Smudging is the burning of herbs and/or plant resins with the intention of cleansing ones self, others, living spaces, and even objects of negative energy. This negativity can be harbored emotionally, spiritually, environmentally, physically, etc. and builds up with time.

Think of it as a spiritual shower; when done correctly, it purifies yourself, your aura, and your mind, allowing you to have inner peace. It brings balance to your energy field. Smudging frequently is important in order to spiritually “wash” yourself of any negativity so you can move forward with your life in the best, most positive way possible and make your intentions stronger.

In fact, recent scientific studies have proven that herbal smoke can act as a powerful antiseptic, purifying the air of harmful bacteria.

Smudging can also be used to protect yourself from said negative energies. Pray, recite verses, or cast protection spells while burning the herbs and/or resins of your choice to create the protective field around you.

There are many different kinds of herbs each with different purposes you can use to smudge such as tobacco, varieties of sage, sweet grass, cedar, juniper, cypress, pinion, bay leaf, fennel, mugwort, and yerba santa just to name a few.

If you’ve been feeling depressed or down lately, smudging may be what you need in order to clear your field of any stagnant energy and to clear your mind. Feel the smoke wash it away while blessing yourself and everything the smoke comes in contact with.