Using a smudge stick is very simple. along with your smudge stick you need something to catch any ash, and something to light the smudge stick.

In many earth-based traditions smudging would also be a way of paying respects to the elements and directions. The unlit herbs of the smudge stick and their ash represent the earth element; the smouldering herb represents the fire elements; smoke and a feather used to fan the smoke represent the air element while a shell (such as a paua shell) used to catch the ash represents water.

Quick safety note – never leave burning smudge unattended. It is also wise to place some sand, soil or salt in the bottom of the item you are using to catch the ash as this will act as an insulator. Always make sure your smudge stick is completely extinguished when you have finished working with it.

Quick Smudging Ritual:

This whole process can take as little as a few minutes or longer depending on how you choose to work.

  • Take a moment or two to focus your intent for the smudging ritual (e.g. I wish to cleanse this room of negative energy and create a space of harmony)
  • Light a candle from which you can light the smudge stick (if you don’t have a candle then using a match or lighter is fine)
  • Light your smudge stick at the herby end (use the stalk end as a handle) and then blow out any flame so it just smoulders and smokes (just like when you light normal incense)
  • Use the feather to fan some smoke in each of the directions on the compass. Start in the east as this represents beginnings and head North, West, South, and then the centre.
  • Fan the smoke around your body.
  • If you are doing this with someone else you can then fan the smoke around their body.
  • If you are wanting to clear a room or building you can then waft the smoke into each corner.
  • All the time you can focus on your intent and also reflect upon the various qualities the herbs themselves represent.
  • When you are done take a moment to give thanks and then stub out the smudge stick. I usually damp the burnt end as well to make quite sure nothing is smouldering away unseen.