How to Burn Herbs to Purify a Room

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Smudge around doors and windows to keep negative energy from entering your home..

If it feels like negative vibes are stagnating in your space, it's time to do some spiritual housekeeping. For thousands of years, indigenous people throughout the world have burned herbs and incense as a way of cleansing sacred spaces and healing illness. Native Americans perform a type of smoke ritual referred to as "smudging," and, with a few tools, you can use this powerful means of clearing negative energy to purify your room as needed.


Step 1

Select the appropriate purification herbs. Sage and cedar are both potent herbs for driving out negative influences and keeping them from entering a sacred space. Sweetgrass ushers in good energy after a space has been cleansed. These three herbs are most often used in purification rites, but additional herbs may be suitable, depending on your need.

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Step 2

Partially fill a ceramic bowl with soil, sand or salt to insulate the bowl from heat, and select a method of burning the herbs. If you decide to use incense charcoal to burn loose herbs, set the charcoal in the bowl. If you use a smudge stick, or a tied bundle of dried herb leaves, set the bowl aside.

Step 3

Ignite the herbs. If you're using a smudge stick, gently ignite one end by holding it over a lit candle. Once the end is smoldering, extinguish the flame. If you're using incense charcoal, light the charcoal with a match and extinguish the flame, then sprinkle 1/2 tsp. loose herbs onto the smoldering charcoal.

Step 4

Focus on your intention for purifying the room. When you burn herbs to purify a room, you are invoking the spirit of the herb and enlisting its aid. It's important to approach smudging with reverence for the power of the natural world, or it may not be effective.


Step 5

Cleanse the room with smoke. Hold the smudge stick on the unlit end or cradle the charcoal incense burner in your hand and move in a clockwise direction through the room. Methodically direct the smoke up and down walls, concentrating on the perimeters of doors and windows. Use your hand to fan the smoke into desired areas; don't forget to smudge corners, closets or the space behind open doors.


Step 6

Extinguish the smoldering herb. Gently tap the burning end of a smudge stick into the bowl filled with soil, sand or salt. If you're using incense charcoal, sprinkle additional soil, sand or salt over the charcoal to stop the smoldering.

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