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How to Cleanse With a Smudge Stick or Sweetgrass

By Megan Shoop
Smolder dried sage and sweetgrass to cleanse your home.

Smudge sticks usually consist of dried and bundled sage leaves. Some smudge sticks also have cedar or lavender bundled with the sage to give them an extra boost. When burned, the leaves smolder and give off a fragrant smoke that some Native Americans, pagans and magical practitioners believe drive away negative energies and evil influences. Burning sweetgrass afterward helps bring in good influences and purifying energies. This sweet-smelling grass puts out smoke that smells a bit like warm vanilla. When combined, smudge sticks and sweetgrass turn a negative atmosphere into a comfortable space.

Sit in a quiet, comfortable space outside of the place you want to cleanse. Breathe deeply, focusing on the negative energy in the space you want to clear. Imagine the negative as black smog. Visualize the smog dissipating and being replaced by purifying white mist. Feel your muscles become relaxed and calm.

Go into the negative space and set a white pillar candle on a table, windowsill or other stable surface. Light the candle with a match, keeping the vision of dissipating smog in your mind. Hold the smudge stick in the flame until it catches fire.

Let the stick burn for about 10 seconds, then gently blow it out. The leaves should smolder and give off smoke. Start in the north corner of your space and pass the smudge stick over the top and bottom of the corner. Pass it around any doors or windows. Move clockwise, repeating the action until you return to where you started.

Breathe deeply as you cleanse, visualizing all negative energy leaving the space. You may also think or speak reinforcing words like, “Light will replace dark,” or “Negativity must leave this place.” Come up with a chant that feels right to you.

Place the smudge stick on a plate and let it burn out. While it dies down, light a sweetgrass braid as you did the smudge stick. Pass it over the cleansed areas, visualizing white mist or light filling the space as you move. You may use another chant such as, “Light and contentment come fill this space.” Move in a clockwise circle as you did with the smudge stick. Lay the sweetgrass next to the smudge stick to burn out. When they do, snuff the candle and put everything in a cool, dry place.


Things You Will Need

  • Candle
  • Matches
  • Ceramic plate