How and Why to Smudge

Alrighty. All of a sudden, something I do is in the “new age” spotlight and everyone is messing with me for following trends. I’m not against new age people or anything like that. But one thing that drives me nuts (well, more than I already am)?

When people put you down because they think they know what you’re doing and why. When people do that – it does bad things for the imaginary people in my head. They get angry and then they want to hit things.

*strangles everybody*

Okay, I’m better now.


I’m all for clarifications (not that I owe anyone one, but I don’t mind spreading the information 😉 ). So allow me to clarify.

I’m part Native American. Native Americans smudge. Hell, the Europeans smudge.

But what is smudging? How does it work? Why bother doing it? Does smudging make you a witch or hoodoo voodoo baby goat sacrificing baby eating freak who drinks blood and bathes in the skins of their victims? (because come on, that stereotype is not insane, right?)


(I really hope I don’t have to answer that last one for you…)


abalone shell

abalone shell



I prefer white sage. Some also use cedar and sweetgrass. I like this too, but I find just buying white sage is cheaper. You can buy these things in bundles or on their own.

Place the sage in an abalone shell (or any other flat surface or bowl that isn’t flammable) and light it. When the flame goes out, smoke billows up. Let the smoke fill the room, house, or just yourself. Let the sage burn out on its own. Unless you need to leave, obviously.

Do not set yourself or anything else on fire. Use common sense. Don’t let the flame get near animals or flammable objects and don’t leave the sage burning where you can’t see it. If you burn down your house, you are not blaming me.


What smudging is NOT

  1. Witchcraft.
  2. Hoodoo or Voodoo.
  3. Black magic.
  4. Enough smoke to burn your eyes and nostrils until you’re crying and your neighbors call the fire department.
  5. Evil.

– Smudging can be used for these things, I’m sure. But so can a bunny. It does not make the sage (or the bunny) evil, it depends on who is using it and for what reason. I mean seriously, poor bunny.


fun in fear. it might cast a spell on you.

run in fear. it might cast a spell on you.




Molecules that you can’t see or smell, that reside in the air around you. There are positive ions and negative ions and they affect you every day of your life, whether you realize it or not. This is scientifically proven.


Positive Ions

Are actually bad for you. Yes, I know this makes no sense. But it’s true, I swear. Google it.

Positive ions are found in cramped places and inside areas where you can pick up on a gloomy, just plain yick, or suppressed feeling atmosphere. The amount of allergies, colds, and physical tiredness is found to be increased in places with a high positive ion count.

Think of a cramped office, a place you don’t want to be. Its messy and depressing and you really don’t want to bet here. Positive ions. You have lots of them in this place.


Negative Ions

Are good for you.

They reside in large numbers in places where there are waterfalls and beaches, and other places that give off a general “positive, good, happy” feel to them.

Once we inhale the negative ions and they hit our bloodstream, they increase our levels of serotonin; which helps get rid of depression, relieves stress, and gives you more energy.

It’s nothing major, but you can feel the difference. Also, negative ions increase blood flow to the brain. That’s always a good thing.


Proof is in the Mood

Walk inside a cramped office filled with cubicles with frowning faces and suppressed workers. How do you feel? Now go trek outside by a large waterfall and evaluate how you feel.

This isn’t just emotions I’m talking about here. Negative ions also affect you physically as well.

Again – science.




What does Sage have to do with Ions?

The smoke from sage emits negative ions. The negative ions meet the positive ions in the air – whether around you or in your dwellings – and cancel them out.

So sage gets rid of the bad ions in the air. Which makes you feel better and improves your health. Ta da.


So Why Smudge?

Smudging can improve your mood and make you feel better physically. It gets rid of the negativity, giving you a chance to start over and feel refreshed. If you get home from a particularly nasty day – smudge at the door, leaving all the negativity outside the house. Take a deep breath, let it out all, smudge and move forward to happy home life.

Feeling off, sick, sporadic, upset, angry, annoyed, frustrated, edgy, or just plain blah? Smudge. Positive ions are not nice. Get rid of them.

But if you really want it to work, you need to believe it will. If you’re feeling negative about smudging, or going on about how “this is stupid and won’t work” or “I’m going to do this to prove you wrong”, you’re putting out negativity. You are creating negativity. So, no, it won’t work. You’re deciding to be in a bad mood. Smudging isn’t magick, it’s only there to get rid of the bad if you’re willing to stop CREATING the bad. It can’t work miracles. So if you decide it won’t work before you try it – it won’t work.

Just like you wouldn’t judge someone for being different, why judge whether or not something different will work before you give it a try?


sage leaves. NOT the devil.

sage leaves. NOT the devil.


And I do not sacrifice baby goats. Sheesh. I only kill the people in my head. And that’s on paper!



Filed under The Odd Bit

14 responses to “How and Why to Smudge

  1. Kris

    Thanks for sharing this information! Of course, the points that I will remember most are:
    1. hoodoo voodoo baby goat sacrificing baby eating freak
    2. *strangles everybody*
    3. do not set yourself on fire

  2. Jae

    Interesting. I’d heard of smudging, didn’t really have any opinions on it one way or another, but now that I know more about it, sounds cool. I know of a few people who use it to get rid of bad spirits/ghosts. Not sure if it worked for them, but whatever. I think it’s unfortunate though, that some of the scientific community is closed to the “outdated” practices of those who came before us. I’m all for scientific progress, but I don’t think it hurts to look back at the way we used to do things and figure out why we did them and how they are beneficial. Anyways, thanks for the informative post. 🙂

    • Exactly! People drive me nuts when they don’t try to figure things out for themselves but just go along with what everyone else does. Both the past and present hold useful information.
      You’re welcome. Glad I could be of some use to your craziness. ;D

  3. jehjeh007

    Smudging got a “bad name” when bad restaurants used a small pots of good smelling stew place strategically in the windows or doors to entice customers/victims in the business to be served old/bad stew. The customers who where tricked and often demanded their money back. When the inspector/police showed up, they where given the fresh stew as evidence. Today business use incense, spray or music to cover up rotting produce or subliminal messaging to get you to buy. Back then, the town’s folk called it “evil” so as to motivate most people not to shop or eat at a business using smudging. It is one of the reasons why the Feed Store was also the Grocery Store as to attract certain types of people (Christian Farmers) to self-police for the owner of the Feed Store while others purchased. Vendors or Farmers who practiced smudging where immediately ran off.

    The negative light of smudging had nothing to do with actual “magic”, but more so to do with the “trickery” commerce used it for.
    I believe in smudging at home for the purposes you stated Daphne. I practice it as well occasionally. Most people smudge every time they bath or perfume themselves. Good article.

  4. Haha, I’m glad my grandmother will never across this post, or we will be banned from having sage in our Thanksgiving turkey stuffing ever again. XD Yes, my grandma is one of those people. But fantastic info, thanks! I’ve always loved the smell of sage, and I wonder of the positive/negative ion thing has anything to do with that.


    Hello Miss Shadows
    First of all I would like to say I enjoy reading your posts,they are funny and make me think of topics I didn’t pay attention to before.I was intrigued about your latest post about sage and the negative and positive ions,I have heard of this before.I know it as “organ energy” I learned of it in a video series on youtube which was very insightful.

    That is the link,if you want you can just skip all to 23:42 where they begin to talk about this.They mainly discuss crystals and their energy and how it affects us,I would advise you watch the whole video as it is very eye opening.You could maybe look at the whole series if you want just keep an open mind about it.

    I just wanted to let you know of this.Best of luck to your writing!

    Sent via my BlackBerry from Vodacom – let your email find you!

  6. Interesting, never heard of it…thanks for sharing.

  7. I was introduced to smudging through my Unitarian Universalist youth group way back in the day, and I always feel the benefits. Good for you for setting the haters straight!

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