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Unlocking the Magic of Smudging: A Complete Guide for Beginners

Smudging is a sacred spiritual practice that has been part of Indigenous culture for centuries. It involves burning white sage or other herbs like cedar and palo santo and allowing the smoke to fill the air to purify the space of negative energies. It's effects on health, spiritual well-being, and mental fortitude can be truly profound!

 sage smudge how to

Smudging is an ancient practice with Indigenous roots, but it has become more popular in recent years. While anyone may benefit from the cleansing power of sage, it is important to approach this practice with respect and understanding in order to fully reap it's benefits. Take time to listen closely and allow yourself to absorb it's teachings when learning about sage cleansing in the purest way possible.

When burning sage, it is essential to act with respect and honor toward sacred Indigenous communities, cultures, and ancient rituals. To ensure mindful smudging, you should always enter the act of burning sage with intention and purpose – taking care to buy your white sage smudge stick from ethical sources.


sage sticks for wellness

Smudging and Cultural Appropriation

 Cultural appropriation is adopting elements from other cultures without context or respect. If you are engaging in a cultural practice outside of your own culture, it's essential to recognize and honor the history and origins of these practices. When possible, purchase items such as smudging supplies from Indigenous-owned businesses to show respect and appreciation. Once again, always approach cultural rituals with intention, reverence, and gratitude for those who perpetuated them before you.


Smudging Supplies

Ready for smudging? Make sure to have your sage stick, abalone shell or fire safe bowl, lighter, and a feather to fan the flames. Before you begin the smudging process, open a window or door so that the smoke can escape and clear negative energy from the space! 

How To Use Sage The Right Way

Light Your Smudge Stick

Before using the sage stick, it is important to ensure you are taking safety precautions for your own protection! Make sure the area around you is clear of anything flammable with access to a sink or fire extinguisher in case of careless handling of embers or ashes, turn off any fans and close any windows or doors that may create wind or draft. Always remember to be responsible when handling fire and respect it.

To use a sage stick, carefully light one end using a match or a lighter and hold it at an angle. It may take some time for the sage to catch flame. Once lit, let it burn for 10-20 seconds before GENTLY blowing out the flame. You should still be able to see embers slightly burning and light smoke at this point. Once it is lit,  use a feather or your hand to gently waft the smoke around yourself, first starting at your head and ending at your feet, then moving clockwise around the room so that all corners get cleared.

Speak Intentions & Prayers 

 Before performing a sage cleanse or smudge on the house, it is important to create clear and focused intentions for the cleansing process. This can be done through mantras or prayers, as this will help to keep one present and mindful during the ritual. During the smudging process, it is beneficial to vocalize these intentions or prayers aloud in order to remain focused and centered on the task at hand. It is also an opportunity to thank any spiritual guides for their presence and ask for their assistance in healing and purifying the space with positive energy. Once completed, take time to reflect on how the experience has impacted your body, mind, and spirit.

 I personally love to repeat this mantra!

"Into this smoke, I release all energies that do not serve me, all negativity that surrounds me, and all fears that limit me, so it is."
- unknown


 Extinguishing your sage stick

When you want to extinguish your sage bundle, press the burning tip firmly onto a fireproof surface such as sand or dirt until the smoke stops rising. Do not put out the embers with water, as this will ruin the tip and make it difficult to light next time. When finished using your smudge sticks, ensure all flames are completely out before storing them away. This can be done quickly but effectively by utilizing sand or water. Remember to properly extinguish your smudge stick as quickly as possible—this will help you avoid any potential fires! 


 The most commonly used smudge sticks are white sage, cedar, juniper, sweet grass, and Palo Santo wood. Each plant has its own unique energetic properties and benefits, so it's essential to choose a smudge stick based on what works best for you energetically.

 sage cleansing home

How to Choose the Right Smudge Sticks for Your Rituals


Please note: Is burning Sage safe for dogs and cats? In general, sage is considered a nontoxic herb. However, when burning sage for space clearing or other rituals, it can create toxic smoke levels that can be harmful to your pet's lungs. Therefore, if you are going to burn sage around your pets, it is best to open a large window immediately after the ritual or keep your pet in another room while burning the sage.



Sage has many powerful properties that make it an excellent choice for spiritual purposes, such as cleansing and purifying a space of negative energy. The smoke from burning certain types of Sage has antiseptic qualities, making it a powerful way of neutralizing negative energy and promoting calmness and balance. The herb's pleasant scent is also said to uplift spirits while providing protection and spiritual guidance to those who burn it.

Sweet Grass

Sweetgrass can also be used for spiritual cleansing, healing rituals, or as an offering to honor indigenous ancestors or traditional medicine people. It is considered a sacred herb with intense protective energies, making it ideal for smudging during times of stress or upheaval. Its sweet scent is said to bring blessings of love and peace into any area it's burned in.


Cedar has cleansing properties that are often used in smudging rituals instead of sage, precisely due to its ability to cleanse negativity and impure thoughts while allowing more positive vibrations in the environment where it is spread through the smoke. The smell is much like incense, with hints of cedarwood in the air that are calming yet energizing at the same time.  

Palo Santo 

Palo santo is a sacred tree originating in South America that has been used in indigenous healing and spiritual ceremonies for centuries. Burning the wood of the palo santo tree is believed to have purifying benefits, which is why it was traditionally used to clear away negative energy. It releases an aroma that is said to be grounding, calming, and relaxing, and it can help shift energy while stimulating the relaxation response in the brain to promote meditation or creative focus. Furthermore, it's pleasant and grounding aroma can be calming and aid in relieving stress, creating a sense of cleansing for both body and mind.  

Abalone shells

Abalone shells have long been used spiritually due to their potent symbolic meanings and associations. When used in smudging rituals, the abalone shell is the perfect vessel to catch ash and embers, as the herbs and sticks being burned represent fire in contact with air, while the shell itself represents water energy from the sea. These four elements of Earth come together to amplify your spiritual practice.

Sage Vs. Palo Santo

When it comes to sage vs. palo santo, the main distinguishing factor is their energetic properties. Sage is used to cleanse a space of negative energy and create a powerful cleansing effect on all types of energy, both positive and negative. On the other hand, palo santo provides a gentler approach to purifying a space as it does not take away any spirits or positive energy but instead adds positivity to the area. Thus, while sage can be used for a complete refresh, palo santo is better suited for creating an uplifting atmosphere filled with positive vibes.

Sage vs Palo santo


Tribal Moon Goddess Boutique is a wonderful place to find ethically sourced, all-natural sage bundles and more! What's even better? This is an indigenous-owned business, so you can feel good about purchasing my sage bundles that are 100% handmade. Whether new to smudging or a seasoned pro, Tribal Moon Goddess Boutique has what you need to create a sacred space in your home!

This is a personal blog. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. All content provided on this blog is for entertainment purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information. 
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