The ritual of smoke cleansing exists across many religions and cultures. It requires the burning of dried herbs to create a smoke. This smoke is used to cleanse the energy of a space by filling the air with it; or a person by fanning it over them. Its useful when you’ve had to deal with someone else’s toxic energy (you know who I mean), before spellcraft and routinely cleansing your space Different herbs/plant matter are used to achieve different outcomes. I’ve put together a list of some you might want to try and their properties.
- Sage– antibacterial, cleanses, blesses and heals
- Palo Santo– the big guns in terms of cleansing, relieves tension, headaches, inflammation and trauma
- Mugwort– the native British equivalent of sage also, improves intuitive abilities
- Rosemary– cleansing, promotes peace
- Lemongrass– energizing, aids focus and clarity
- Thyme– aids the mind, promotes memory, removes obstacles
- Cinnamon– aids healing, helps with energy and motivation
- Clove– a powerful cleanser, aids psychic abilities
- Bay– is often used for wish fulfillment, aids in success by healing, calming anxiety and offering protection
- Myrrh– healing, grounding brings clarity and enlightment
- Lavender– aids sleep and relaxation
- Pine– prongs luck and prosperity
- Dill– good luck and protection
- Catnip– love, beauty and happiness, aids communication
- Dandelion– aids divination, communication with spirits
- Frankincense– reduces stress, tension (spiritually and physically) and headaches
- Allspice-attracts positive energy, boosts determination
- Amaranth-removes blockages in intuition
- Ginger– protection
Recent studies, show that Smoke cleansing also clears the air of bacteria so is useful when fighting outbreaks of germs in your home as well as clearing out the left over vibes from toxic visitors (or you could just throw it at them and tell them to piss off, works the same ).
The universe has ways of showing you you’re on the right path. As I was putting this post together I was approached by my friends at Dartmoor Sheepskins who wanted to collaborate for the new range of incense they have brought out. The Palo Santo is a favourite of mine and not the easiest to get hold of usually. Take a look at their other products too they’re an ethical, local (to me) small business, old friends, and all round awesome people!
How to cleanse a space/person
Some people take a very ceremonial approach to smoke cleansins their homes and selves; using chants and rhymes to banish negative energy and replace it with positive. Personally I find the act itself to be ceremonial enough, I’ve never been one for the whole rhyming couplet thing (if you are that’s great). My approach involves lighting my bundle (the ones I make tend to be huge) and using a feather to fan the smoke. I move through my house telling bad energies and vibes to ‘fuck off’ and ‘get the fuck out’. This is much more me. I am always sure to pay particular attention to the corners of rooms. It’s also important to open windows so it can all get out otherwise you’re just trapping it in your house with you.
I also like to cleanse before I clean the house. I cleanse the energy first then, as I’m cleaning it I’m re filling it with my own positive vibes (listening to Queen. If you’re cleaning and not listening to ‘I want to break free’ you’ve missed out). I also burn incense after.
Making your own smoke bundles/ wands/sticks
Making your own smudge sticks or bundles is easier than you might think. They can be fancy or basic depending on what you need. I make massive ones (subtle isn’t my thing) with many layers of different herbs.
- Take handful of your herb e.g sage and hold it together in a small sausage shape.
- Using cotton thread, tie at one end and wrap tightly in a spiral motion. Tie the other end and snip off the string.
- Build another layer wrapping the thread in the opposite direction being sure to wrap tightly.
- Continue building layers as required.
- When it’s finished hang in a warm dry place to dry for at least 3 weeks, longer depending on how many layers you have added.
As always, do what you’re comfortable with. Below is a basic chant for the home:
Smoke of air and fire and earth
Cleanse and bless this home and hearth
Drive away all harm and fear
Only good may enter here.
When using smoke to cleanse myself. I like to imagine the negativity, like an oil is clung to me and the smoke breaks it down and forces it disappear leaving me shiny and clean again. here is a chant you could use for that.
Into this smoke I release all energies that do not serve me.
All negativity that surrounds me and all fears that limit
You don’t have to use a stick/bundle/wand to smoke cleanse. Some materials like frankincense are inappropriate as they come in resin form. For this I use a charcoal disk and heatproof surface. Abalone shells are great for this and very traditional. I also have a little cauldron I love but a plate or bowl would be fine too.
You can have deeper look at Dartmoor Sheepskins below. Take a look at their blog too if you get chance. It’s an insightful read especially about natural products and green choices.
peace out witches and happy cleaning! Also, remember, if you have to cleanse your house of someones energy every time they visit. Consider putting an end to those visits until they get their cosmic shit together.
*UPDATE Sept 2020. I have recently learnt that the word ‘smudging’ although common place among the witch community to describe smoke cleansing; is actually inappropriate for us to use. Smudging refers to the native American practice of using white sage before and during rituals and prayer. This a closed practice and although I am many things, Native American is not one.
As such, out of respect for the cultural practices of others I will no longer be describing what I do as ‘smudging’… Because it’s not. Be the change you want to see in the world.*