Discover the powerful, medicinal practice of burning herbs in ritual to spiritually cleanse your space, protect yourself from negative energy, lift your mood, and heal your body from disease with our favourite holistic beauty and wellness practitioner, Jade Mordente.
Not to be confused with the Indigenous ritual practice of ‘smudging’, Smoke Cleansing is a centuries-old tradition that many countries, cultures and religions have adapted in their own way, many of which are still used today. As we consider adopting these practices, it’s important for us to be mindful of where our herbs originate and protect the culture they are rooted in. The recent, heightened interest in ‘smudging’ has led to the over-harvesting of some sacred, traditional herbs used by the Indigenous community of North America, who are now beginning to see these herbs fade from their landscape as farmers struggle to keep up with mainstream demand.
Although we can appreciate and learn from different cultures and their traditional practices, creating our own blends is an appropriate alternative that allows us to connect and honour the energy of our local and homegrown herbs, while also being sustainable and respectful.
STEP 1. PICK YOUR HERBS
Ok, so there are a lot of herbs out there. Way, way more than I can reference here. You’ll be surprised what you’ll find in your local forest or wooded area, but if that’s not an option, research the specific qualities that you are looking for to enhance your mood, health or spell, and then grow or source the herbs you feel drawn too. Each herb has its own unique benefits and can bring a different energy to your space.
These are some easily accessible herbs that will set you off in the right direction…
To aid anxiety, promote inner calm and help you gain mental clarity: Lavender, Lemon Balm, Heather, Thyme, Hyssop, Chamomile, Lilac.
To heighten your intuition, dreams and psychic abilities: Mugwort, Basil, Peppermint, Dandelion.
To bring you money, love or luck: Bay Leaves, Rosebud, Meadowsweet.
To protect and cleanse your space, aura and energy: Juniper, Rosemary, St. John’s Wort, Pine.
Blending herbs such as juniper and mugwort, or rosemary and lavender, is a great way to receive multiple benefits in your cleanse. You can add in some fresh flowers and dried fruits for decoration too – dried rose, orange and cinnamon sticks burn particularly well. Be extra safe whenever it comes to burning as some of these herbs will burn much more quickly than others – especially when dried out.
STEP 2: TIE THE STEMS
Once you’ve foraged, grown or purchased your desired bundle, cut the stems so they are all the same size. Tie the stems together tightly with a piece of string made from hemp, cotton or a natural fibre.
STEP 3: WRAP THE HERBS – TIGHT!
Begin winding up and down the bundle in a criss-cross pattern, while pulling and wrapping the herbs tightly. At the end of wrapping, you might want to tie the side with the stems up with even more string to make a handle. Finish it off in a double knot.
STEP 4: AIR AND DRY
Hang the herbal bundles somewhere dry and dark As we are airing them out, we want a spot with good air circulation too, so nowhere damp. You can hang them from a piece of string or place them on a drying rack. Leave them for two weeks before using.
STEP 5: SET AN INTENTION
The basis of every spell is intention, and when it comes to smoke cleansing we want to be clear on what we need from the ritual. There are so many spiritual, physical and mental wellness benefits, and it’s key to know exactly what desired outcome our herbs can provide. Some benefits to consider are…
Increases energy levels
Natural, and very gentle, an antidepressant which also aids anxiety
Purifies the air of bacteria, pollen and dust
Offers spiritual protection and can banish negative energy
Improves sleep quality by calming the mind and relaxing the muscles
Manifestation tool which rapidly heightens intuition and psychic abilities
Can bring us luck, love and fortune
Promotes mental clarity, inner harmony and happiness
Helps the body fight disease and infection
Alleviates menstrual pains and symptoms
As you prepare to burn the herbs, repeat a mantra. For cleansing and banishing energy you might say, “I let go and release what no longer serves me.” For love or luck you might say, “I am open and ready to receive new love, let love flow to me in abundance.”
STEP 6: OPEN A WINDOW, AND BURN
As you light your herbs – staying present and safe – keep repeating your mantra as you slowly walk through your space. Witch tip 101: make sure your windows are open before you get started. If you are banishing negative energy, you want that energy to be released through the window, otherwise, it’s just cultivating in your space.
STEP 7: GIVE THANKS
Once you’ve finished cleansing, take a moment in stillness to give thanks to the herbs and the Earth for working with you today and helping you heal. With your mind focused and clear, post-cleansing is the perfect time to pull tarot cards, meditate or write in your journal.
For more rituals, spells and practices follow Jade on Instagramand send us imagery of your cleansers, we’d love to see them!
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