The Scientific and Spiritual Benefits of Smudging


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The Scientific and Spiritual Benefits of Smudging

Smudging is a simple yet powerful ritual to clear the energy of a new home or office, a space after an argument, or even crystals or jewelry. It can also be used to clear the body, mind and spirit of any negativity by circulating the sacred smoke around the body before smudging your space. And it’s an ancient Native American ceremony that dates back to prehistoric times.

Why Is Smudging Effective?

More recently, science has proven that smudging is actually one of the most powerful antiseptic technologies ever discovered. In fact, a 2007 scientific study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that smudging with “medicinal smoke” for one hour reduces airborne bacteria by more than 94%. It also found that the purified or disinfected result could be maintained for up to 24 hours if the room stays closed.

That’s because, when burned, sage and other herbs actually release negative ions that can purify a space. And while many plants and herbs have been used around the world for this purpose, indigenous cultures in North and South America find sage and palo santo to be the most potent. Palo santo, which means “holy wood” in Spanish, is a fallen wood from a sweet, fragrant tree from South America has been used for centuries for in cleansing and healing ceremonies. California white sage has been used by Native American tribes for rituals and prayers to bring balance and peace to a space.

What You’ll Need To Smudge

  1. Ethically sourced sage, palo santo, mugwort, cedar or the smudging herbs of your choice.
  2. A naturally molted feather or a smudge wand to disperse the sacred smoke as you cleanse the energy all around you.
  3. A lighter, matches or candle to light your smudge stick.
  4. A sustainably harvested abalone shell or heat-proof dish to lay your bundle on when you’re done.

How To Clear Your Energy with Smudging

STEP 1: When smudging, light one end of the sage bundle or palo santo stick with a fire source and make sure to gently blow out the flame while keeping the end lit.

STEP 2: Fan the medicinal smoke with a feather in four directions to honor the indigenous prayers going out to the elements of earth, water, air and fire.

STEP 3: To set down the lit or still-hot smudge, place it in an abalone shell, on fireproof glass or in a clay bowl. And, don’t forget to give your feather a final pass through the sacred smoke to clear away any energies it absorbed before using it again for your next smudging ceremony.

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About the author

Justine Amodeo is a contributing editor to Bodhi Tree and the editor of Pacific Coast Magazine and She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of California, Irvine, and has been a student of Kashmir Shaivism and the Feminine Wisdom Tradition work of Nisha Bhairavi for many years.


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