• Jeanette Micallef

Smudging Responsibly

Smudging. You may have heard that word before in what I refer to as the "woo woo" community, among yogis, healers, witches, and the like. Yes, I lumped them together. I can.

I am all three.

You may find yourself wondering, what exactly is smudging? How do I smudge? When do I smudge? What does smudging do? Does it really work? What do I smudge with?

The more clients I see for tarot and Reiki, the more often I get asked about smudging -- and I always recommend it. So, when a current client asked, I was tempted to toss her a link to a smudging video on YouTube, and promptly rethought it. There are so many instructional videos out there and so few that cover all the bases in my mind. So, I decide to write my own.


Smudging is the ritualistic action of burning incense, an herb, or plant material with the intention of cleansing and clearing negative or stagnant energy from a space, item, or person.


Smudging cleanses. It stirs up. It purifies. It burns away -- not only negative energies, but also literal bacteria in the air. (To read more about the science of smudging, click here.)

It is an action that conveys an intention.

If you are empathic, sensitive, and highly influences by the energy of others, you may find that those energies can sometimes get overwhelming, and leave you feeling stagnant, stuck or depressed. It's easy to pick up the moods and energies of others, no always so easy to get rid of them. Smudging is a great way to do just that.


Everyone is different. The very best answer to this question is, "However feels intuitive and right to you". I like to burn my choice of herb, waving the smoke in clockwise circles, in sets of three as I walk through my space, or near the item or person. My intention is cleansing and in my head, I am repeating over and over something like, "May this cleanse all negativity and remove all impurity". It can also be specific. "May this cleanse this space of the feeling of hopelessness and depression", or "May this cleanse this person of sadness and self-doubt".

You can smudge your tarot deck before a reading to remove any energy from prior clients or the last time you read for yourself. You can smudge your computer, your wallet, your car.

The most important part of smudging is NOT the process or ritual, it is the intention.

Why are you smudging? What do you intend to be the outcome? Is your intention good, kind, and paired with love?


Yes. Yes. And yes. You can feel it. Once you begin smudging or cleansing on a regular basis you'll also begin recognizing a "dirty" space immediately. Your sensitivity will be more heightened as a result.


There are many times, scenarios and reasons to smudge.

You can smudge daily, making it part of your cleaning ritual, like dusting. If you like a clean, energetic space, smudge as often as feels right to you.

You can smudge before guests arrive. Want your house as clean as possible, with a barrier of protection from negativity? Smudge to get rid of the energy of your last argument with your spouse, or to prepare the space for that cranky aunt you know is coming for dinner. You can also smudge to protect. Remember, it is all about your intention.

You can smudge after guests leave. We've all had someone over that their energy can still be felt, and intensely, after they have gone.

You can smudge when you move into a new house or office. Removing the energy from past tenants, plays a large part in making that space yours.

You can smudge as part of a personal cleansing ritual. If you are going to meditate, pray, perform a ceremony or ritual, you can cleanse yourself in preparation by smudging the area as well as yourself.

If it has energy you don't want, you can smudge it!


This is where smudging responsibly comes in. Please educate yourself in the growing and sustainability of the herbs you smudge with. Yes, palo santo, white sage and sweet grass are commonly used and sought after smudging tools -- favorites in the woo woo community, however, they are also suffering from over harvesting. If you choose to use any of these, please do so responsibly by choosing growers that have a sustainable methods.

Alternately, you smudge with any of the following, many of which you can grow right in your own yard.

Cedar, Sage (other varieties), Frankincense, Myrrh, Bayberry (or Bay Leaf), Rose, Lavender, Juniper or Mugwort are common choices.

I like to burn Lemon Balm, which grows readily in my yard and I can dry and bundle myself through the spring and summer. It even gives off a nice lemony smell while cleansing the air.

You can also use incense to smudge. Easy to find, purchase and burn without a lot of fuss. Because it's all about your intention anyway, right?



Yes! There are smudge sprays you can purchase, or you can make your own from essential oils, Florida water, herbs, and the like. These are just as effective, and no burning required!

Here's a quick an easy recipe for making your own! (Disclaimer: I am a doTERRA rep and I do reference the use of their oils in this recipe. Other oils may require different amounts and have different results.)


1/2 cup lukewarm water

2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup witch hazel

7 drops of doTERRA Cedarwood Essential Oil

7 drops of doTERRA Clary Sage Essential Oil

Empty glass 8 oz. spray bottle


In a small bowl, combine warm water and sea salt. Stir until the salt has completely dissolved. Pour the salt water into an empty glass spray bottle. Add the remaining ingredients and shake well.

This mixture can be used to cleanse any area, room or object that you would like to cleanse. You can also lightly spray yourself, just be sure to hold the bottle at arm's length and do not get in the eyes, mouth or nose.


Increase air flow. Open a window, turn on a fan, dance, sweep. Anything intentional action that moves air, aids in moving energy. This is especially good in stagnant corners, rooms and hallways that don't get a lot of use.

Let Mother Nature help! Introducing plants into a space not only brings life to "dead" corners, but it also filter toxins from the air. They also cleanse negativity by literally bringing new life to the space they inhabit.

Ring a bell. Loud. Clear. Three times in the stagnant areas of your space. The sound moves dull, sad, stale energy out, allowing for clean, fresh energy to come in.

Absorb negativity with salt. Sprinkle salt in the floor and sweep it up, or keep salt lamps in each room. You can also place a dish of salt in the corners of a room to trap negativity, and then, when the room feels cleansed, just toss it out.

(Please purchased used salt lamps from places like Marketplace on Facebook or your local thrift store instead of buying new. Himalayan Pink Salt is also suffering from over harvesting. Sustainability is so important.)

Crystal energy cleanses! Use crystals like selenite, kyanite, jet, obsidian, and others to keep your space clean and the positive energy flowing. Each crystal has its own vibration and its own energetic properties, so whatever intention you have for your space, choose a crystal that matches that vibration, and put it prominently in the space.

The most important thing to remember is that you are more powerful than any negative energy that comes into your space. You have the capability and the power to move it, remove it and shift it. Your intention is a powerful tool, use it. Use it daily.


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