Smudging is a tradition of burning herbs for cleansing, healing, and magical reasons that goes back centuries. Shamans in all ancient cultures are known to have utilized burning herbs in their rituals. They are used to enhance healing, stimulate spiritual visions and encounters, clear people and spaces of negative energies and to invite beneficial energies and spirits into a space. Many herbs have been used in different places, by different peoples for various reasons. I have briefly outilined a few of them below with the uses and benefits.
I have in my pottery shop a small collection of herbs which I grow that are useful for smudging, medicinal and some magical uses. More informtion about the herbs can be found on their sale pages. The herbs I have available are significantly limited by what I can grow.
Check out the video below for a demonstration of how to use my new smudge pots and see them burning. You can purchase the smudge pots in my pottery shop.
WHITE SAGE is perhaps the best known of the smudging herbs here in the USA. It and various other sage varieties are widely used by American Indians as well as pagans and other people for cleansing people and spaces and inviting beneficial energies. My experience is that White Sage is one of the best burning herbs requiring little encouragement to remain burning. It is also one of the mildest of the herbs I have tried. There is scientific evidence that burning sage will clean the air of bacteria and that this effect remains for over 24 hours. This gives lots of credence to the traditional practice of burning it to remove negative energies and evil. The ancients did not know of bacteria but how can it be categorized as anything other than a negative or evil in the air. Many of the practices of our ancestors were very beneficial and it is being proven now by science that it isn't just mumbo jumbo occult belief.
White Sage is for healing. The smoke is used to bless, cleanse and heal the person or object being smudged. Sage is used to 'wash off' the outside world when one enters a ceremony or other sacred space. Objects are likewise washed off with sage medicine smoke to rid them of unwanted influences. White sage has great properties for removing negativity, cleansing, and protection.
It is also very beneficial medicinally. White sage helps to clear the throat, lungs, and sinuses of congestion. It reduces secretions in throat, lungs, and sinuses and is therefore good for colds. It promotes feelings of relaxation and also boosts memory. Natives also made hair straighteners, shampoos, and dyes from the tea and used the herb to flavor foods.
It can be made into a tea or smoked. When smoking white sage it is most often mixed with Mullen or another herb. Smoking white sage is useful to combat lung complaints and congestion and tends to be relaxing and mood enhancing.