Have you ever entered a room and immediately felt an added weight? In these instances, people who are spiritually inclined would advise you to trust your gut. Energy from occupants and different sources tend to linger in spaces. This is one of the reasons why you may feel uncomfortable in some places and more at ease in others.
Whether or not you are sensitive to these energies, you may still be susceptible to its effects. If you continue to feel tense or troubled in certain spaces, regardless of how many times you’ve been there, then an herb smudging might be a good option.
What is Smudging?
Smudging, or burning dry herbs, is ritually done for spiritual cleansing of the self and the immediate environment, and it's a practice that comes from the Native American tradition. It is linked to the use of incense, which traces back to the era of Ancient Egypt. Smudging is a way to carry out any baggage that persists within a space and lets you fill it with your own positive energy instead.
Smudging is typically done with herbs because it calls on the spirits of sacred plants to instill peace and harmony. Burning sage, in particular, has a number of scientifically-observed benefits that lead to an enlightened mood, including an increase of oxygen supply to the brain and muscle relaxation.
There are a number of reasons why smudging can be a good idea. Aside from cleansing an area of negative energy, you can perform it to purify old or pre-owned objects like antiques or items for heightened spirituality like crystals.
At the very least, a smudging kit consists of a bundle of dry herbs, a fireproof bowl or the commonly used abalone shell, and something to ignite a fire. These are symbolic of the different elements: unlit herbs represent Earth, lit herbs represent Fire, the shell represents Water, and the smoke represents Air.
Though sage, particularly desert sage or white sage, is what most people use for smudging, other herbs such as juniper, lavender, cedar, and even plain tobacco can be used. Burning Palo Santo wood has also been done in response to spiritual concerns.
Similar to other facets of spiritual practices, different herbs deliver different effects, and you may seek out the one that most applies to your goal. Additionally, dark crystals such as tourmaline, hematite, or onyx can aid in the cleansing process.
Basic Smudging Technique
After you've gathered your materials for the smudging ritual, make sure that you have the correct mindset. Set your heart, mind, and soul on driving out or transforming the negative energy in a particular space. Hold on to your intentions for the duration of the smudging.
Light your dried herbs, blow out any flames so that it will continue to smoulder, and lay it on your bowl or abalone shell. If you are performing this ritual to purge a particular room, then you may walk around with the materials or gently use a fan (typically a bird’s feather) so that the smoke reaches every corner of the space.
Of course, you may include yourself in the process of purification. Hold your hand above the smouldering herb as if you are holding the smoke and guide it toward yourself. If there's any part of your body or a particular chakra that you think needs to be cleansed, then you can direct it there, too.
Once you’re done smudging, take a moment to reflect on the experience. Sit in the middle of the room and try to see if there is a shift of energy, both in yourself and within the area of the ritual.