Burning white sage is an age-old ritual known as smudging. People have used it to cleanse you and your home of negative and stagnant energy for a long time. Think of it as an energetic shower – out with the bad/stale energy and in with the good vibes. 

I’ve always been a big believer in the power of energy but I’d never smudged my home. This time though I was open to anything as we were in a really desperate position. 

You see my youngest son suddenly didn’t want to sleep (or be in his bedroom anymore).  I was at a loss as to why.  It reached its peak through the school holidays and rather than have him climb into my bed every night, I threw a  foam mattress on the floor and when he’d come in he laid on that. He didn’t care, he was with mum and he was happy.  Part of me was worried I’d send the wrong message, and never get him back in his bed but I was desperate and I needed to buy time to find a solution! 

But, why is it so important?

Energy is everything! Think about how you feel when you’ve been in the presence of an amazing person or at a wonderful event.  That shift in energy can hang around for days, right? Well, the same can be said for your home. Over time, the energy in your home can become stale, resulting in a less than ideal feeling when you’re at home. 

In a nutshell, we all carry energy (our own and fragments of other people’s) around with us and this includes into our home every day. Sadly, it’s not always as positive as we’d like and with time, this stale and stagnant energy can accumulate leading to low moods, a feeling of being in a rut (or stuck) and even flow down to creating drama or challenges with those you live with.  But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

While smudging with white sage is perfect for clearing the air on an energetic level, it also has a few other practical uses. It releases negative ions that fight against things like dust and pollution. Research has also shown that it can clear 94% of bacteria (for up to 24hrs) which is why it’s great to use when you’ve not been feeling well.

So what’s it all about?

And, while it might sound difficult or confusing, there’s absolutely no right or wrong way to smudge your home. It’s a very calming ritual and one you can follow easily. Sage wands can be picked up at a local crystal store and you’ll need about 15-20 minutes to enjoy the process. Involve the kids, mine loved it!

We have been in our house for almost 12 years now and while there’s been no one big issue, given we work from home and I’m in the house most days, it felt like the right time to smudge the house and start 2021 with fresh momentum.

What are the benefits?

Smudging your home and personal items can have quite a few benefits, many of which are:

  • To boost energy levels, mood and help with fatigue
  • To rid the body of bad energy
  • To keep infectious bacteria, viruses and fungi at bay
  • To improve your sleep and help your kids sleep too
  • To help relieve symptoms of asthma and allergies. Sage is meant to neutralise positive ions such as pet dander, pollution, dust and mould
  • To help reduce stress
  • To cleanse certain objects – for example, gifts or second-hand purchases.  If you have any concern with negative history or energy attached to a new or unfamiliar object, smudging may help bring peace of mind and make the object more sacred to you.

We had our first smudging experience just before the Chinese New Year and honestly, it’s like a different house. Calmer, less chaotic, less full-on. Kids sleep better. That’s a big win for us!

Smudging and sleep

The main difference I noticed was with my son, Alex, who was having a lot of trouble going to sleep in his own room. He was crawling in our bed before we even got to sleep. We just put it down to him wanting to be close to us.  

We did the smudging on a Sunday night and for the first time ever, he slept like a log in his own bed that night. He has been amazing since. It’s incredible, actually.

He’s been a different child in that room. He used to keep his room in a real untidy state. We’d help him clean it and then BOOM it was like a bomb hit it. Sometimes you’d just say ‘oh kids’ but in reality, it was more than this. 

Now he takes pride in his room and keeps it incredibly clean. In addition to the smudging, we have also added crystals to his room which could be part of the transformation too. 

What you’ll need

You’ll need a sage bundle or smudge stick which looks like a massive joint, but I promise you, it’s not. You’ll also need something to capture the sage ash. We used a fireproof soap mug.

You’ll also need sage. We bought a white sage smudging stick from a local crystal shop. They will set you back $10 for a smaller one and $20 for a large one. We only needed a small one to do the entire house.  It doesn’t burn quickly so one stick will last many uses.

You can also chop up a little Palo Santo with the sage and make a mix. Palo Santo is said to cleanse the negative energy away and bring in the good. It’s got a fresh smell that’s sweet and subtle with hints of mint and citrus.

Use a feather (or your hand) to direct the smoke into corners and areas energy can be stuck. Source: Adobe Stock

How to smudge your house

  1. Open all the windows in the house. 
  2. Put on some relaxing, meditating music to create a nice, calming vibe.
  3. Get the kids involved if you’d like. I found it was important to involve my two boys so they could understand what we were doing.
  4. Light the sage and let it burn for about 20 seconds.
  5. Then blow out the flame and use the smoke to cleanse. 
  6. Loosen the ties on the smudge stick to let air into it and keep it smoking. It’s a good idea to also hold a small plate or vessel under the smudge stick to catch the ashes. 
  7. Start near the front door and go in a clockwise direction around the house, waving the stick into the air and into every corner. 
  8. You can also use a feather (or your hand) to direct the smoke as required.
  9. Say positive affirmations as you go. We said things like, “Moving out the old energy, bringing on positive energy.” My boys also made their own affirmations to say as they entered their rooms.  You can say these out loud or internally if you’d prefer. 
  10. As cleansing clears out all energy, you may also want to add “Keep the good angels around us” if you’d like to keep your loved ones around you. This depends on your beliefs of course. 
  11. As you exit each room, ring a bell or clap your hands. This helps move the energy along. 
  12. Continue the process with every room. You will need to do the entire house in one go and clear ALL spaces in your home. 
  13. Make sure the smoke goes into every corner of each room as this is where the energy lingers as well as around mirrors, tech, furniture, wardrobes etc. 

The dos and don’ts of burning sage

DO: Open the windows. This ensures the old air has the opportunity to leave your home. It also releases any leftover smoke. If your home does not have good ventilation, you can try alternatives like sage-spray. 

DO: Carry an ashtray and lighter with you. Smudge sticks burn down with a slow ember rather than a lit flame, so you will need to keep relighting it once you notice that it isn’t letting off any smoke. Having an ashtray ensures the ash stays in one place, not all over your floors. 

DO: Use the same stick more than once. If you’ve got leftover sage, keep it to use another time.

DO: Smudge a new home. If you are moving, it’s always a good idea to cleanse the old energy and start fresh. This can be a fun welcoming ceremony for your family too. 

DON’T: Smudge if pregnant. Burning sage is not recommended if pregnant as it is suggested sage may induce labour. Look for alternative ways to cleanse your home that are safe during pregnancy. 

DON’T: Smudge near a smoke detector. The last thing you want is your smoke detectors going off mid-burning. 

DON’T: Smudge your house more than once every two weeks. Any more than this is unnecessary and takes all the good energy away.

DON’T: Smudge around young children, infants and those with respiratory concerns. While there isn’t much evidence that sage is bad for you, it’s better to err on the side of caution here. 

Honestly, the whole thing was such a beautiful experience. It took us 10 minutes to do the whole house and the difference is incredible. 

We’d love to know if you have smudged your home before and if you noticed a difference.

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Author

Belinda's a passionate advocate for community and connection. As the founder of the Mum Central Network she’s committed to celebrating the journey that is Australian parenthood. Mum to two cheeky boys, and wife to her superstar husband, they live a busy but crazy lifestyle in Adelaide. Great conversation, close friends and good chocolate are her chosen weapons for daily survival. Oh, and bubbles. Champagne is key.

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