Incense Smudging to Clear Away Negative and Stagnant Energy


Anna Hunt, Staff Writer
Waking Times

With the beginning of a new year, many feel like they are given the chance to reset.

2014 started with a new moon, representing an opportunity to start the year with a clean slate and unearth what you find deep within yourself. To make space for new habits, experiences and relationships, you have to clean out what lingers within but no longer serves you.

The North American native tradition of smudging by burning white sage bundles has been used for this exact reason for generations. It clears out stale and negative energy out of the body and spirit. This could include all types of residual feelings regarding a situation that has past, negative emotions such as anger and fear that linger after an event or interaction, and tension and stress felt psychologically or physically.

With the right intent and respect, the smudging process can help you clean your energy field, even if you are unaware of any problems or emotional residue. Negative energy can even manifest itself physically in the body into conditions such as muscle tension and neck pain. Our feelings, either remembered by the mind or only by the body, can have a strong impact our health.

  • It is the feelings and emotions, our likes and dislikes, that give our life meaning, that make us happy or unhappy, fulfilled or dissatisfied and that to a large degree decide our course of action and even our health. Diseases not only make us feel unwell, but negative and suppressed emotions and feelings are a major contributing factor in causing our diseases.

    When we are young, we are full of feelings and emotions, we experience them strongly, we are sensitive and react immediately and directly to our social and physical environment. When we are old, our emotions are only a distant memory and even our feelings are greatly diminished, pain is often the only feeling left. ~

    Smudging allows you to clean out your energetic field, creating space for a new healthier you. The process can be kept simple, with only 4 tools:

    • A bundle of white sage – representing EARTH
    • An Abalone seashell – representing WATER – for catching ash from the sage bundle
    • A feather or feather fan – representing AIR
    • And FIRE for lighting the sage

    Maia Toll of the Witch Camp Crew, who reminded me of this sacred tradition, does a great job summarizing the smudging process in her great little e-book designed to help you set your intention for 2014.

    – Light the sage with the fire, then tamp out the actual flame so that it is simply smoldering.

    – Hold the abalone shell under the sage to catch any ash.

    – Use the smoke to clear the energy around your body by fanning it toward yourself with the feather.  They do make gorgeous feather fans for this, if you want to get fancy.

    – Pass the smoke up your chakra, over your hands, under your feet. You can have a friend smudge your back.

    – Inhale the smoke and – as you breathe out – envision anything you want to release energetically.


    Even if you don’t have the exact tools, you can improvise and use a lid from a jar and a paper fan. You can also use garden sage (Salvia officinale), although it is very easy to purchase White sage bundles from companies such as and

    Enjoy the process!

    Read more articles by Anna Hunt.

  • About the Author

    Anna Hunt is writer, yoga instructor, mother of three, and lover of healthy food. She’s the founder of Awareness Junkie, an online community paving the way for better health and personal transformation. She’s also the co-editor at Waking Times, where she writes about optimal health and wellness. Anna spent 6 years in Costa Rica as a teacher of Hatha and therapeutic yoga. She now teaches at Asheville Yoga Center and is pursuing her Yoga Therapy certification. During her free time, you’ll find her on the mat or in the kitchen, creating new kid-friendly superfood recipes.

    This article was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Anna Hunt and It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.

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    Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.

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