Smudging shares its roots with the burning of incense, with both traditions dating
back thousands of years. Smudging is a powerful Native American cleansing and purifying
technique which uses a bundle of dried herbs called a smudge stick. Sage is most
commonly used, but cedar, juniper, lavender, and sweet grass are also popular, as
is a blending of two or more of these.
Incense is commonly used today in many organized religions. Christian churches use
the rising smoke as a symbol of the prayer of the faithful rising to heaven. In Asia
incense is used in religious settings to purify the surroundings. Hindus use it in
prayer and worship. Smudgings and incense are far from “new age” cleansing rituals.
There are many variations on how to perform a smudging, but the basic concept of
each is to fill every part of your home with the smoke from the smoldering smudge
stick. You could also smudge just one or two rooms for lighter needs.
To perform a smudging start with a heavy ceramic dish or bowl to hold the smoldering
sage. Make sure the dish will not become overly hot and the ashes and embers will
be contained. A light base of sand can be useful for these purposes. Light the end
of the smudge stick and let it catch, then extinguish any flames and let it smolder
much like incense being cautious of any embers. If the smoke ceases at any time during
the smudging simply relight it.
Start in the uppermost area of your house, usually the attic. Open a window in each
room, if possible, to let the smoke carry out any negative energy. Circle the room
– some prefer a clockwise direction – using your hand or a large feather to push
the smoke throughout the room. Be extremely mindful of any lit embers or ashes that
may fly off. If your home burns down you’ll have lost everything but the ghost will
likely still be hanging around.
As you move around the room, push the smoke high and low, taking extra care to get
it into the corners. Open closets and cabinets and push the smoke in there also.
Move down through the floors of your home ending up at the front door and opening
it to whisk away the smoke as you finish. If you have a basement, do this last, working
your way up towards the front door. When you’ve finished be sure to extinguish the
smudge stick completely.
Incense can be used in much the same way as a smudge stick, some say with equal effectiveness.
Choose Lavender, Sandalwood or Sage cones (sticks are fine, but are just a little
more difficult to use). Place the incense in a small bowl or dish, or use a censure.
A tea ball can serve as a makeshift censure if the bottom is lined with tin foil.
In extremely active environments, my preference is to sage the entire home first,
then to burn incense in the bedrooms or other active areas daily or just before bed
until things are under control.
Excerpt from I Think my House is Haunted!, a guidebook for those living with the
paranormal by PCINJ Founder Joanne Emmons
Smudging is a great way to remove negativity from your own home and can often be
used to quiet unwanted activity. You don’t need someone else to come smudge for you
- in fact, many believe the smudging process is more powerful if done by the homeowners
themselves. Taking ownership of a space is a key component in dealing with unwanted
Before you start, be sure to learn a little more about the process. Smudge sticks
are easily acquired and affordable. More on where to get them below...
Many heath food stores such as Whole Foods carry smudge sticks, as do new age stores
such as East Meets West here in New Jersey (Menlo Park Mall, Ocean County Mall, Monmouth
Mall). If you’re in the Burlington area you can get sage and any other metaphysical
and cleansing supplies at On Angel's Wings at 229 High St. In Burlington: http://www.onangelswing.com/.
It’s also easily obtainable online such as these options on Amazon.com (click on
the image to go to Amazon):