A few years ago, I was moving into a new place (as I had done every year for the last…since I was in college) and my friend gave me this little, weird, bundle of green dried things and said “You should smudge your new place.”
If you’re making that face too, read on.
Turns out, smudging is not just something your makeup does. It’s when you take a bundle of dried herbs, usually sage, and…burn it.
Smudging is believed to help purify a space and clear it of negative energy (if that’s not for you, hang tight, we’ll get there). What you might need that for is up to you. It could be that you’re preparing for a massage and want to set the energy of the space up. It could be that you had a no-good-rotten day and you want to make sure you don’t bring all that extra junk into your home. It could be that you and your partner had a huge fight and you want to get the leftover yuck of the fight out of your place. Or, as my friend suggested, it might be that you’re moving into a new space and you want to remove any lingering stuff that the previous tenants left behind.
I’m hippie-esque, hippie-lite, so a part of me isn’t quite sure that a little bit of sweet smelling smoke is actually clearing energy. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.
But the reason I do it, isn’t because I’m sure it has extraordinary powers. I do it because of science.
Science tells us that rituals can contribute to our wellbeing. According to Scientific American “Recent research suggests that rituals may be more rational than they appear. Why? Because even simple rituals can be extremely effective. Rituals performed after experiencing losses – from loved ones to lotteries – do alleviate grief, and rituals performed before high-pressure tasks – like singing in public – do in fact reduce anxiety and increase people’s confidence.”
So I like the ritual. I like saying to myself – hey, we’re shedding the bad. We’re letting it go up in smoke.
Maybe it’s actually happening on some spiritual level or maybe it’s just happening emotionally, inside me. Either way, I’ll take it.
Want to give smudging a try? You should. You can buy smudge sticks on Amazon for a few bucks. I’ve also seen them at Whole Foods.
The internet may tell you there’s a right way to smudging. Deepak Chopra says you need feathers and a drum. Uhhh, yeah. No thanks.
You can crumble your smudgy bits into an incense burner, if you have one, or even just a bowl. Or you can do it the super fancy way like me:
Take our your smudge stick and use your stove to light it on fire.
I find I have to keep it there a while. It shouldn’t go up in flames – it should just start to smolder. If it’s catching on fire, take it out and blow it out. Once it’s nice and smokey, you’re ready to smudge!
Slowly wave your smudge stick slowly back and forth around your space, filling the room with the incense.
If you have a mantra or a prayer, now is a great time to use it as a walking meditation. I like to visualize what I’m getting rid of and imagine it rising and disappearing with the smoke.
Smudge anything that needs special attention.
A new piece of furniture, a spot where you spend a lot of time…or your cat! Kitties always need smudging.
Check out our IG for a fun slowmo of the languid smudge smoke.