action undertaken with intention and belief can become a potent ritual,
so consider your intention before you smudge and hold it clearly in
your mind. Smudging should be done with care, with reverence and in an
attitude of love.
A candle flame is recommended to light the
smudge stick as it may take a little time to get the stick smoking.
Once the stick is alight with flame, blow it out so that the smudge
stick is smoldering, not burning - be careful not to blow ash
everywhere. If you're using loose leaves, a candle is still recommended,
but the single leaf will light much more quickly - again, you want to
blow out the flame so the sage doesn't burn away too rapidly (you won't
get the sweet sage smoke if it burns rather than smolders). And yes, it
is still called smudging if you are only using loose leaves not rolled
into smudge sticks. What is the advantage to using loose
leaf vs. smudge sticks? You may need to light more than one leaf for
your purpose, but you won't be relighting a smudge stick that may smell
like old ash the next time you need the power of sage. Further, a goodly
portion of a smudge stick can be "wasted" in snuffing out a stick. A
smudge stick goes a loooooooong way, so it is unlikely that you'll use
the whole thing in only one use unless it is a lengthy ceremony.
Smudging yourself or another Fan the swirls of smoke around your body from head to toe. You may want to especially focus on areas where you feel there are blockages or where there has been or is physical, emotional, or spiritual pain. Imagine the smoke lifting away all the negative thoughts, emotions and energies that have attached themselves to you. If you are feeling depressed, for instance, you could visualize the smoke carrying away all your feelings of depression. You may want to speak an intention or a suggestion for the smudging as you do it. Repeat this process with your guests as they enter the space at a ritual, ceremony or special event.
Smudging a room or space Light the smudge stick as suggested above, start in the corner of an room that is actually the corner of your home (if you are smudging the home). Walk about the perimeter, giving special attention to the corners, closets, around your bed, behind doors and any water sources. You can also fan the smoke throughout the center of the room with a large feather. You should state your mantra and/or prayer of gratitude for the cleansing and keep in mind your intention of removing any negative energy from the area during the ritual.