Article by Philip Gardner of POD Products

What is Smudging?

Smudging is the burning of herbs with the intent to bring about/manifest a desired change in one’s emotions, thoughts, surroundings and reality. Smudging is a golden thread that connects and runs through all cultures, religions and belief systems and has been practiced throughout the millennia.

I believe that the smudge stick and the act of smudging, along with focus and intent, creates a powerful tool which allows you to take responsibility for your own Self-empowerment/reality by working with your higher-self and the elemental energies of the Earth to manifest your greatest joy.

History of Smudging

It is impossible to say for certain when smudging began. Throughout history, the burning of natural substances has been used for cleansing, healing and spiritual purposes.

One of the earliest recorded uses of smudging can be traced to ancient Egypt where herbs were burned in religious ceremonies. It is mentioned on an inscribed tablet that was found at Giza, Egypt, in about 1530 BC.

The Babylonians used smudge extensively while offering prayers or divining oracles. It was imported to Israel in the 5th century BC to be used in religious offerings. It spread from there to Greece, Rome and India, where both Hindus and Buddhists still burn it in their rituals and at festivals.

Smudging tradition dates back millennia and connects all traditional cultures, from the Native Americans to the Druids, from the Zulus to the Maoris, from Aboriginals to the Mayans, from the Chinese to the Balinese, which have age-old forms of cleansing and blessing rituals. Smudge is widely used in Oriental religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Taoism) and in the ceremonies of the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox churches.

Therefore smudging can be seen as a Universal truth that runs through and connects all cultures, religions, time frames and places.

Smudging Dynamics

The answer lies in the sub-atomic world of subtle or spiritual energy. Homes and bodies are not just made of purely physical matter; they also vibrate with subtle, invisible energy. Cleansing a space or our bodies with techniques such as smudging clears away all the emotional and mental “garbage” that may have gathered over years or even hundreds of years. Just like you physically dust, clean and vacuum your house and take showers or baths to clean your body, smudging is the equivalent of energetic spring-cleaning your house or taking an energetic cleansing shower.

The act of smudging is true self-empowerment because it allows you to take responsibility (your ability to care for yourself) for your well being instead of feeling negative emotions, thinking negative thoughts or booking an appointment with a therapist (looking outside yourself for someone to bring yourself back into balance).

People who have themselves, their space or items smudged have reported instant effects ranging from increased happiness, increased feeling of peace, greater success and their homes become more peaceful after smudging.

The rituals can help you release stress, attract love, soothe or give you energy. Above all they can turn any space, into a soothing sanctuary - a place of renewal and happiness. Smudging along with your effort to avoid negativities and include healthy positives in your life will bring about positive change in your space and body.

An Example

Rosemary essential oil is used as a cure for dandruff when applied to one’s head.

Rosemary tea has a calming effect on the mind, improves memory and the ability to concentrate, and has been used to relieve migraine headaches.

Now as a smudge, rosemary brings about mental clarity and calmness by allowing you to ’let go’ of any negative thoughts/programs you have been holding on to.

So whether you are using rosemary oil on your head, as a tea or as a smudge, it deals with the mind/mental aspect of your being.

Fire is a transformer of energies from an esoteric point of view. Add fire to ice, it becomes water. Add fire to water, it becomes steam. Whenever you add fire to smudge it transforms itself from its physical state (the herb) to its energetic state (smoke). Now the smoke (energy) is able to interact with your negative emotions/thoughts (energy), which no longer support your highest joy, and transform them.

When to Smudge

Whenever you need to re-balance your mental body (self-destructive/limiting thought patterns) or emotional body (fear, anger, depression), or when you desire to let go of/transform any negative energy that is not for your highest joy that’s affecting you or your environment/reality or belongings and to embrace/ground new positive energies in to your being/reality.

Purpose of Smudging

Attracting positive energies to you.
Letting go of negative energies.
To create/enhance positive energy.
Spaces for healing and manifestation.

What to Smudge

Home/healing space/office.
Personal objects.

Properties of Herbs

Harmony Smudge:
Unique mixture of lavender, rosemary, imphepo and cedar. It has all the properties of the herbs below with an enchanting scent.
Lavender Smudge:
Restores emotional balance. Cleanses and creates a peaceful, harmonious atmosphere. Lavender also attracts loving energy and angelic beings.
Imphepo Smudge:
“South African Sage.” An exclusive traditional herb found only in South Africa used to cleanse and protect and allows you to connect to your spirit guides and angels with ease. A powerful smudge.
Rosemary Smudge:
Brings about mental clarity and calmness by allowing you to ’let go’ of any negative thoughts. Great for mediators.
Cedar Smudge:
Provides grounding and joy when involved with personal transformation whether internal (new values, attitudes, beliefs) or external (new job, house, birth, death) and it allows you to ‘be’ in the present moment.

All the herbs I use are organically grown, free from pesticides and herbicides and are hand picked by myself, with the exception of the imphepo, which is picked by the sangomas (traditional healers) that I am in contact with.



-Make sure the area you are smudging is well ventilated.
-Do not use near people with respiratory problems such as asthma, or pregnant women.
-Never leave burning smudge unattended.
-Place some sand or salt in the bottom of the container to provide insulation otherwise the container could burn the surface it is placed upon.

- Clean the area to be smudged. Remove unnecessary clutter that creates energy blockages. Vacuum and dust if possible.


Focus on your intent
Any action undertaken with intention and belief can become a potent ritual. Consider your intention before you smudge and hold it clearly in your mind. A candle flame is recommended to light the smudge stick as it may take a little time to get the herbs smoking (about 60sec). Once the tip of the smudge stick is glowing red, put it out so that the herb is smouldering, not burning. Use a feather to stoke the smudge stick. Allow the smudge herbs to smoulder, freeing the smoke to circle in the air.

Smudging yourself
There is no one right way to smudge. Many cultures have their own particular way of smudging. As long as there is intent and the smoke touches all parts of your auric field. Fan the swirls of smoke around your body from head to toe with a feather. You may want to especially focus on chakra areas where you feel there are blockages or where there has been physical, emotional or mental pain. Visualise the smoke lifting away all the negative thoughts, emotions and energies that have attached themselves to you. If you are feeling depressed for instance you could visualise the smoke carrying away all your feelings of depression.

Smudging another
It is often appropriate to smudge guests as they enter the space at a ritual, ceremony or special event. Smudge others as if you were smudging yourself, fanning the smoke all over their body while holding intent to cleanse and clear their energy field.

During healing work
During healing work, the smoke may be fanned over the person with a feather. This clears out stuck energies, which allows for a more powerful treatment and a quicker recovery time for the patient. You may also direct smudge to each of the person’s chakras and as you do so visualise each chakra coming into balance as the smudge purifies it. If you can see auras, look for discoloured places in the aura and direct the healing smoke towards those places on the patient’s body. It is highly recommended that you smudge yourself and your treatment room both before and after a treatment to maintain an energetically clean and clear space and to avoid energetic cross contamination of your patients and yourself.

Smudging a House, Office or Healing space
For cleansing any space it is recommended that you create an altar for the space clearing. On the altar, place flowers, a candle and a crystal. Write out a list of what you want to let go of or transform in your space/reality and one list of what you want to manifest or attract to your space/reality. Read out the list of what you want to let go of/transform and then burn that list. This signifies to the Universe that you want to transform/let go. Next read the list of what you want to manifest in your life.

Smudge yourself first because you are the person that is going to smudge the space so it’s best if you are cantered and balanced before you start with the space clearing. Light the smudge and walk about the perimeter, giving special attention to the corners, places behind doors and any place or object where you intuitively feel drawn to where energy feels negative. You can also fan the smoke throughout the room with a feather. Repeat the list of your manifestation intents either out loud, or in your mind as you smudge. Once you have finished smudging the space, smudge yourself a final time.

Cleansing objects
Hold the objects to be purified in the smoke, or fan the smoke over them.

Extinguishing the smudge
Have a fireproof container such as a shell, glass or ceramic dish ready to put the smudge out in when you’ve finished. Always make sure that a smouldering smudge stick is out before leaving the room.

How often should I smudge?
Whenever you feel your emotions or thoughts are affecting your reality in a negative way or the energy in your personal living, healing or office space feels stuck/stagnant. You can smudge once a day if you like, and is recommended daily for health and energetic healing practitioners to maintain/enhance your energy field, healing space or personal living space.

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