Beginners’ Guide to Smudging Sage – How To Do It, What It Is + Benefits

what is smudging how to beginners

One of the most common rituals and a gateway to spirituality starts with smudging. 

It was the first thing I tried when I first started getting into all the spiritual, witchcraft, and holistic healing stuff. I loved it! 

I soon learned that smudging was definitely for me and it’s been missing in my life, for quite some time. 

I love the smell, the effect on me and my space, and the fact that it’s a self-care, self-love ritual where you get to sit in a quiet space, chill out with a candle, light some sage and clear off negative energy from your aura and/or space. 

You can smudge before meditation, when you move into a new home, as part of a cleanse, before a bath or before you start your day

I love cleaning my workspace as well, particularly after I’ve had a pretty stressful day and the energy in the room and around my desk feels clouded, foggy and stagnant. 

If you’re new to smudging, no worries. 

You’ve landed on the perfect page – this article will answer all your questions about smudging, including where to buy them and what you need. 

Let’s step into the magickal world of smudging, herbs and shells…


What is Smudging Sage

Smudging with sage is lighting a bundle of dried sage, releasing the smoke, and moving the sage around an object, space or person to purify and cleanse the negative energy. Smoke has cleansing properties and helps to clean a space before a ritual, meditation or when moving into a new home. 

what is smudging how to beginners

During smudging you can say affirmations and set intentions, giving smudging a more meaningful purpose and turning it into a complete ritual. 

Smudging is also often used in holistic healing methods, for example before a reiki session or a massage. 

When lighting the sage, it releases smoke and a pleasant herbal smell. You can buy smudge sticks ready-made (more on where below) or you can make your own if you’re able to grow your own sage in your garden or kitchen. 

When lit up, the sage will release ashes. To catch them, you can use an ashtray, a small heatproof dish, or an abalone shell. 

The 4 Elements of Smudging 

The whole process of smudging represents the 4 earthly elements of fire, water, air and earth:

  • The abalone shell, represents water, naturally as it comes from the sea
  • The sage represents the earth, as it’s a herb and it grows in the earth
  • Once you light the sage, it represents fire (my favourite element of them all, perks of being a Leo)
  • The smoke and/or the feather, represents air

what is smudging how to beginners



What are Smudging Herbs

There are various smudging herbs you can use with white sage being the most common. 

Other smudging herbs you can use are: 

  • Yerba santa
  • Wild/desert sage
  • Juniper
  • Cedar

You can also use palo santo, which is a type of holy wood (so not exactly a herb) but when you light it up, it releases smoke the same way as the herbs do, and has cleansing properties. 


What are Smudging Kits

A smudging kit consists of all the elements/items you need, to perform a smudging ritual. It usually consists of: 

  • Sage smudge stick
  • An abalone shell
  • A feather
  • Selenite 
  • Palo Santo 
  • Sometimes crystals 

I’ve put together my favourite selection of Smudging kits right here

what is smudging how to beginners
Abalone Shell


What is the Smudging Feather Used For

Smudging feathers are used to waft the smoke towards specific areas in the space/room or parts of the body, directing the smoke to where it needs to go. If a particular area needs cleansing for example, you’ll want to waft the smoke with the feather in that direction.

Feathers have a strong connection to the indigenous cultures, whereby tribes were very close and connected to birds and often included feathers in rituals and ceremonies, including smudging. The feather also represents the element of Air, which is very important during smudging. 


Can Smudging Help Anxiety

Yes, smudging can help with anxiety, as well as stress and depression. Several studies support the claim that white sage (salvia apiana) can make us feel happier, more relaxed and help us sleep better. 

Sage and smudging helps clear and purify our energy, and if our energy is full of anxiety and stress, by lighting sage and clearing our energy with sage smoke, we are clearing our space/aura, ready for positive vibes, getting rid of what’s no longer serving us. 

Smudging improves our mood, and if our mood is anxiety – it helps clear it off. Shoo anxiety…

smudge kit



Can Smudging Cause Headaches

While smudging, you’re around smoke and your nose is smelling a strong smell of sage. If you are someone who is sensitive to smells (like perfume) or smoke, or even allergic, then smudging could also give you headaches. 

If you’re worried about headaches during smudging, try to not breathe in the smoke directly and open the windows, keeping the space well ventilated so the smoke doesn’t congest in one area but swiftly moves across the room and eventually outside. 


What Not To Do When Smudging

When smudging, do NOT: 

  • Think of negative thoughts otherwise the energy may never shift and you’ll end up calling in more bad vibes
  • Light it near a smoke detector
  • Use without an ashtray or abalone shell (otherwise the ashes that fall from the smudge stick will end up all over your carpet, floor etc) 
  • Overpay – sage is a dried herb, and shouldn’t cost you a lot (read where to buy sage below) 


What to Say When Smudging

You can say (or think) positive affirmations, depending on what your intention is. If you need a general prayer or statement to say while smudging, say the below: 

I cleanse this space. With the smoke, I let go of and release the negative, old, and stagnant energy that rested here. This space is cleansed with the smoke, it is released. Through this cleansing, I welcome in new, fresh and positive energy. So be it, so it is. 



Intentions When Smudging

You might have a specific intention or goal for smudging. Maybe it’s to cleanse a particular room, or to attract more money, or to have a better meditation session or to clean your crystals etc. 

Depending on what you want to get out of smudging, your intention, and with it the affirmation, will be lightly different. 

Once you set an intention, you then need to think of and develop an affirmation for the smudging sesh.

If you’re clearing your working space for example, your intention might be to clear the stress and old, negative energy that’s stopping you from progressing. 

Your affirmation to say could be something like: 

I cleanse this working space off the old, stressful energy. The energy here is no longer wanted and I am releasing it with the smoke. I welcome in positive and creative energy to help me achieve new goals and meet my deadlines with ease.  

You can read more on affirmations and setting intentions here

What is Smudging Crystals

Smudging crystals is simply a way to cleanse your crystals from their old, negative energy. Crystals absorb the unwanted, negative energy from our aura and our space. After a while of absorbing these negative energies, they get tired, dusty and in need of some cleansing. Smudging is one way to cleanse your crystals, while the smoke renews the crystals and clears it from its absorbed, old energy, stuck inside the crystal. 

If the crystal isn’t cleansed, it just sits on your shelf gathering dust and no longer serves its true purpose and holding that negative energy in your space – that’s why it’s so important to clean your crystals. 

If you’d like to learn more about crystals and how to clean them, you can read this article here

Where to Buy Smudging Sage

The best places to buy smudge sticks or sage are Etsy, Mama Wunderbar and Psychic Tree. These are my ultimate 3 favourites and completely reliable. 

To make things easier for you, I’ve created a personalised list of my favourite smudge sticks, ethically sourced and not overpriced, right here

If you’re new and just starting out with smudging, I would recommend you first try a sage smudge stick and a palo santo. 

The smell of sage is a little stronger than palo santo, so if you’re worried about not liking the scent, go with palo santo for your first smudging session. 

Smudging For Manifestation

You can incorporate smudging into your usual manifestation practices. Smudging will help to purify the energy and clear any blockages that are stopping you from manifesting what you want. By clearing off the negative energy that surrounds you, you’re preparing yourself to receive more money. 

For example, if you’re trying to manifest more money but have negative thoughts about money, you first need to get rid of the old energy that’s holding you back i.e. thoughts around money such as “I’ll never make a sale. I’ll never be rich. Making money is hard.”. 

If you’re manifesting more money, but still holding onto those negative thoughts around money, you will end up not manifesting money, or with little progress. 

If you found this guide useful, share it with your witch friends 🙂 



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