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Cleansing and Smudging

The Art of Smudging: A Beginner’s Guide to Lighting Sage

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Written by: Tina Caro

Do you want to smudge with sage, but you don’t know how to do it? This is the guide you need for practical, useful tips for a successful smudging experience.

Lighting sage for smudging: an ancient powerful practice

Sage is an herb that has a very strong and pleasant smell when burned. It is believed that this smell, used for thousands of years, can eliminate negative energies. In fact, burning sage is like taking an energy shower, a kind of deep cleansing.


To light sage for smudging, gather a bundle of dried sage, a heat-proof container, and a lighter or matches.

Before lighting the sage, set your intention for the smudging ceremony.

Light the sage bundle at one end, allowing it to catch fire briefly before gently blowing out the flame to create smoldering smoke.

Walk through the space you want to cleanse, using the smudging smoke to clear negative energy while stating your affirmations or intentions.

After smudging, extinguish the sage by pressing the burning end into the heat-proof container.

White sage

Some studies have shown that this plant can improve mood, reduce stress, and decrease pain. Furthermore, if burned, it can effectively reduce the presence of bacteria in the air. This process is most effective when done at a time of transition, such as during pregnancy or moving.

Cleansing the house of negative energies by burning sage will help you find your serenity, reflect, and meditate.

Before lighting sage for smudging

It is important to have positive thoughts when doing this. Prepare dried sprigs of sage from a place you particularly love. These twigs must be intertwined and tied with a ribbon; if it is colored, it will take on a specific value depending on the color. Let them dry upside down, after which they will be ready for the purification ritual.

Remember to use white sage and burn one sprig at a time. Put everything in a cup or bowl and start with the tip and then extinguish and let the smoke go. We first purify our aura with three clockwise turns, and then we purify the house.

It is important that this is done in each room: walk clockwise and rotate at each corner. You have to repeat the whole process at least three times.


Why exactly is sage?

Actually, cleansing the home of negative energies by burning sage comes from Native American culture. This plant has always been used for its medicinal and purifying properties. In fact, it gives off an incredible therapeutic aroma.

But it is also famous for its strong antibacterial properties. It has been shown that burning herbs and incense can actually increase psychological well-being.

How to make the smudge?

Sage leaves, grouped in the form of sticks, are called a smudge stick.

The smudge is made by drying the fresh herbs in a dark and dry place and, after having tied them with a string and left them hanging for about a week, the stick will be ready for use. The smudge can be ignited by setting fire to its pointed top and, as soon as it starts to smoke, extinguishing the fire so that it burns slowly.

Also read:
How to Make Mugwort Smudge Sticks? [Step-By-Step]
How to Make a Rosemary Smudge Stick? [Step-By-Step]
How to Make a Cedar Smudge Stick? [Step-By-Step]
How to Make White Sage Smudge Sticks? [Step-By-Step]

How to light sage for smudging?

There are different ways of lighting sage that have different but always profoundly beneficial effects.

You have to use a wooden match to light the sage. When the flame approaches one end of the salvia leaf, it is allowed to burn for a few moments, the flame goes out, and thick smoke rises from the embers that we can use to purify environments, people, objects, and stones.

The more receptive and sensitive we are, the more we will be able to perceive the help that this sacred plant gives.

sage smoke

I usually start lighting sage in two different ways. I light the right side of it to fight against more material negativity like negativity at work, negativity regarding my finances, and negativity linked to all things that might happen in my daily life and that brings negativity into my life.

I light sage from the left side if I need to cleanse some emotional energy if the negativity is all about my feelings, my love life, and my affections.

Of course, this is my own style. You can light your sage for smudging as you wish, the most important thing is that you have to do it with an open mind and by visualizing the negative energies going away, fading away, and the darkness turning into light once again.

What can I do after lighting the sage for smudging? Notice how smoke reacts!

Shamans observe the smoke released by a smudge to see if there is negative energy, so when you light sage for smudging, is important to notice how the smoke acts: if it is thin and delicate, it means that the energy of the house is clean, while if it is thick and curved, it means that the air is saturated with negativity, and in order for the salvia to clean the air, it must be kept lit for at least an hour.

Then try again the next day, checking if the smoke trend is more harmonious and delicate.

How can I extinguish it?

Once lit, the smudge should not be extinguished: salvia extinguishes by itself when it has finished its purification work. Finally, great care must be taken never to put it in contact with water.

I lit sage for smudging but negativity is still around. What can I do?

More magickal ways to use sage

If you lit sage and cleansed your space but the smoke is still is thick and curved, it means you need to keep smudging. You can repeat the smudging ritual over and over again or, if you think you need something more and something difficult, you can use sage in different ways like by infusion, by bath, or by wearing it.

By infusion

To make a white sage infusion, take three leaves, crumble them in a cup, pour boiling water, wait 10 minutes, filter, and drink. It is ideal when you have a fever, are in a bad mood, or feel that there is some negativity that you cannot get rid of. The infusion of white sage is used in shamanic sweat huts to stimulate sweating and the expulsion of toxins.

By bath

Add 20 grams of white sage leaves (you can grind a smudge) into a bathtub filled up to 2/3 with very hot water. After five minutes, the sage will have released its beneficial substances and it will be possible to add cold water until the desired temperature is reached. To dissolve tension and high stress, as well as to purify the body and the aura, immerse yourself in the tub for at least 10-15 minutes.

Also read:
Must-Have Spiritual Cleansing Bath Ingredients [A List]
What to do With Sage Ashes or Stick after Smudging? [Guide]

By wearing it for protection

If you want to strengthen your intuition or personal energy or shield from external influences, just carry some white sage leaves in your pocket or bag. Shamans always have sage in their mojo bags.

If you think you need professional help, if you think negativity is too strong and you cannot cleanse your space on your own, or if you simply want to cleanse your space but you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, don’t forget I have a spell casting service for you!

Order my home clearing spell or my Negative Energy Clearing & Protection Spell to cleanse you and your space while having protection and live your life in a positive, safe way!

Tina Caro

Tina Caro is a witch with more than 10 years of experience, a yogi, an astrologer, and a passionate supporter of all things holistic! She’s also an owner of the website Magickal Spot where she discusses a variety of her favorite topics.

Magickal Spot has helped thousands of readers worldwide, and she’s personally worked with hundreds of clients and helped them manifest desires to have a happier and more abundant life.

tina caro new about me photo

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