Burning sage — also known as smudging — is an ancient spiritual ritual.
Smudging has been well established as a Native American cultural or tribal practice, although it isn’t practiced by all groups.
We have the traditions of many Native American peoples to thank for its use. This includes the Lakota, Chumash, Cahuilla, among others.
Many other cultures around the world share similar rituals.
Smudging has long been used to connect to the spiritual realm or enhance intuition.
For healers and laypeople in traditional cultures, burning sage is used to achieve a healing state — or to solve or reflect upon spiritual dilemmas.
Smudging may also be used as a ritual tool to rid yourself — or your space — of negativity. This includes past traumas, bad experiences, or negative energies from others.
This may help you establish a positive environment for meditation or another ritual. Choosing to sit and let go of negative thoughts in a ritual like this sets your intention and dedication to self-improvement. Choosing to engage in ritual can be the beginning of your change in mindset.
Burning sage creates fragrant smoke central to smudging’s benefits. You can use this incense to smudge yourself or specific spaces. Or according to some sources, you can smudge specific objects.
This can be useful with new purchases, gifts, or secondhand items. However, any item can be smudged.
If you have any concern with negative history or energy attached to a new or unfamiliar object, smudging may help bring peace of mind and make the object more sacred to you.
Ridding the body, objects, and spaces of bad energy can help welcome in newer, fresher, and more positive energies. In a way, this could have an energising effect and help with fatigue.
Tradition suggests that smudging can literally lift one’s spirits to banish negativity, and it has been used to safeguard against negativity that could interfere with sleep.
Before burning sage, some recommend setting intentions if smudging for spiritual, energetic, and negativity clearing purposes. Remove animals or people from the room.
It’s also important to leave a window open before, during, and after smudging. This allows smoke to escape.
Some believe smoke also takes impurities and negative energy with it — so don’t skip this step.