House Smudging Traditions

Smudging is a symbolic exercise found in feng shui practice, many Native American traditions, and alternative healing practices. It involves burning selected herbs or other materials in a manner that fills the home or other space with the fragrance of the smoke, and it is thought to clear negative energy. Smudging can sound a bit intimidating to beginners and may seem unsafe or complicated, but in reality, it is quite easy and completely safe when you follow some simple steps.

Smudging is an ancient and sacred ceremony, so it is best to perform it with full awareness and in a slow, mindful manner. Even the happiest homes accumulate negative vibrations over time, so feng shui practitioners find it helpful to smudge the home at least several times a year. Some people smudge as much as once a week. You can also smudge your office space periodically (though preferably not during busy office hours), and you can even use smudging to clear your own bodily energy or the energy of other people.

Along with space clearing and other practices, smudging can be an effective way to clear negative energy and create good feng shui.

Gather Your Supplies

There are only four simple supplies you need to smudge your house:

  • Smudge stick
  • Candle and matches
  • Fireproof container
  • Bowl with sand (to extinguish the smudge stick after completion)

The herbs most commonly used in smudge sticks are sage, cedar, sweetgrass, and lavender. You can buy smudge sticks in most New Age bookstores, healing centers, or crystal shops. They are also available from online retailers and in many health food stores. Smudge sticks are sold individually and in kits that include bowls and matches. It is also perfectly fine to make your own smudge sticks by bundling together your own herbs.

Prepare for the Smudging Session

Place the candle, the fireproof container and the smudge stick on a table, desk, or any other appropriate surface. It is best to perform smudging at a time when you will not be disturbed and to create a sense of ceremony when you smudge your house—allow yourself at least 10 to 15 minutes.

Light the candle and say a prayer of your choosing—or just mentally focus your energy. Light the tip of your smudge stick with the candle, then gently wave the smudge stick in the air until the tip begins to smolder.

Begin Smudging

Hold the smudge stick over a fireproof container at all times to prevent burning or glowing herbs from falling onto the floor as you smudge. Wave your hand through the air to gently waft smoke where you want it. You can also use a feather for this if you have one. Remind yourself to stay connected to your breathing throughout the smudging session.

Move All Around the House

Move in a clockwise direction around your house (usually starting at the front door), and gently wave the smoke into the air as you move. Spend a bit more time smudging the room corners, as they tend to accumulate stagnant energy. Be sure to also open the closet doors and carefully smudge inside. Do not forget about spaces such as the laundry room, the garage, and the basement.

Conclude the Session

When you have smudged all areas of your house, return to the starting point and gently extinguish your smudge stick. Dipping it into a bowl with sand while applying a bit of pressure usually works well. Wait for the smudge stick to be completely extinguished, then pack away your smudge and container until your next smudging session. If you wish, you can leave the candle burning to continue purifying the space.