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How to Smudge
First, light one end of your smudge, allowing it to catch fire and burn for several seconds. Once the flame extinguishes, gently blow on the lit end to fan the embers; the smudge will begin to glow and smoke. Lay the smudge on a heatproof dish, such as an abalone shell, to catch the ashes as it burns. We should always respect the power of fire when using it in ritual.
As the smoke rises into the air, picture your intention, whatever it may be. If you are clearing negative energy, picture its density and see it lifting away. Healing? Then imagine the smoke cleansing any illness or injury. Whatever it is, envision it floating away on the smoke. You can pray or chant if you feel called. Use your hands or a smudge fan to guide the smoke over yourself and around your sacred space. In my native Greek culture, we begin facing East, then turn South, West, and North before finally turning East again. After making this ceremonious circle, we douse the burning embers. I love honoring the cardinal directions in my smudge ceremony; it roots me into Mother Earth.
Native American ceremonies begin by sprinkling the floor with loose sage. They then burn the sage, a braid of sweetgrass. Finally, they burn a bundled sage stick (or smudge bundle), while washing the smoke over the body.
The beauty of smudging is that it can be done at any time, as often as you need, no matter your background or culture.