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Feeling like your home needs a refresh? Smoke cleansing is an ancient practice used to clear stagnant energy and create a positive atmosphere. It’s a simple ritual you can incorporate into your routine, and the best part? You can make your own cleansing tools with a little herb magic!

Choosing Your Herbs:

There are many herbs traditionally used for smoke cleansing, each with its own properties. Here are a few popular options:

  • Sage: A classic cleansing herb, sage is known for dispelling negativity.
  • Lavender: Promotes relaxation and peace, perfect for creating a calming atmosphere.
  • Rosemary: Enhances focus and purifies the air.
  • Cedar: Offers protection and spiritual grounding.

Crafting Your Bundle:

  1. Gather your herbs: Fresh or dried herbs will work, but dried herbs tend to burn slower and create more smoke.
  2. Tie the stems: Securely bind the herb stems together with twine or natural string.
  3. Wrap it tight: Use twine or ribbon to create a tight bundle, tucking any loose ends for a clean look.
  4. Let it dry: Hang your bundle in a cool, dry place for a few weeks until the herbs are completely cured.

Smoke Cleansing Ritual:

  1. Set your intention: Light a candle and focus on what you want to achieve with the cleansing – removing negativity, inviting peace, or simply refreshing the energy.
  2. Light the bundle: Carefully light the tip of your herb bundle using a candle flame. Let it burn for a moment until it smolders.
  3. Cleanse your space: Walk around the perimeter of your room, clockwise, wafting the smoke into corners and stagnant areas. Visualize negative energy clearing away with the smoke.
  4. Extinguish the bundle: Gently press the smoking end of the bundle into a fireproof dish filled with sand or salt to extinguish it.

Safety Tips:

  • Always practice fire safety and have a fire extinguisher or a bowl of sand nearby.
  • Open a window to allow smoke to escape.
  • Never leave a burning bundle unattended.

Embrace the Ritual:

Smoke cleansing is a personal practice. Focus on your intentions and allow the herbs to guide your cleansing ritual. With a homemade herb bundle and a little mindfulness, you can create a more positive and vibrant space in your home.

A Word on Why I Don’t Say Smudge

by Contributing Writer Rissa Miller of Tea & Smoke


As folks seek answers to spiritual questions, more traditions start to find their way into the mainstream. So it is with use of the word smudge. 

While I’d never tell you what to believe or do, I do want to offer some perspective on this word and the practice it represents.

Several years ago I worked with a colleague of Native descent, and she shared with me how her tribe felt about non-indigenous persons using the word smudge interchangeably with smoke cleansing.

Some Background

Smudging is a specific practice to Native peoples in North America. It involves burning herbs sacred to their tribes, herbs they connect spiritually, including white sage, cedar, tobacco, and sweetgrass. This is part of a ritual and is considered a religious practice that has been passed down through generations.

Natives use smoke from these herbs to smudge, which is done to drive away sickness and bad energy, and help the people taking part in the ceremony to ground and center. Traditionally this was a pot filled with tobacco, sweetgrass, white sage, and cedar. The smudge pot was fanned around the room so that the people could bathe in its healing, cleansing and spiritual qualities.

It wasn’t until 1978—less than 50 years ago—that the American Indian Religious Freedom Act (AIRFA) was passed, guaranteeing Native Americans the freedom and protection to “believe, express, and exercise [their] traditional religions.” Today, Native people are still challenged about performing these ceremonies in hospitals, when members of their tribe are ill. Smudging, therefore, is not a word to be taken lightly. Misrepresenting the term strips away its cultural, ceremonial, and religious context.

How can you respectfully embrace these ideas while appreciating the cultures, history and people? 

  • Be mindful of the word “smudge” in any context. Instead try “burning sage” or my preferred term, “smoke cleansing/clearing,” which more accurately describes the process of energy clearing by burning herbs or other plant material.
  • Additionally, you may wish to personally research the Native ritual of smudging so you have a better understanding. You can use this knowledge to help educate others and preserve the cultural integrity of indigenous peoples.

I believe it is critical to preserve and respect Indigenous cultures. For that reason, I do not use the terms smudging/smudge sticks, nor do I build my creations from white sage. If you’d like to learn more about the practice of smoke cleansing or learn to embrace your own smoke rituals, please join me at my upcoming DIY Herb Bundles class at Firefly Hollow.