Sometimes it happens… a sudden shift in the air. One day you’re feeling cheery and bright, and then the next you have this odd sensation and aren’t feeling like yourself. But you can’t always put a label on what it is you’re feeling and why it is so. It feels like a cloud or an energy in your aura and space that you have no idea where it came from. Well, the good news is that you may not be imagining things. There is a possibility that someone else’s energy has made its way into your space and your aura, causing you to feel off kilter. It is usually a sudden change, and one that is easy to spot and change with practice.
I’ve experienced this feeling before and have developed my own ways of effectively handling it. Smudging is one tool I use to cleanse the air and energy and send it back to its source – we’ll get to what all that is shortly! Yesterday afternoon, I felt a change in my energetic field. The reason I knew these feelings were not my own was because I did not feel like myself. The emotions brought on were that of an emptiness, loneliness, and sadness. This is not at all how I feel towards my life, so I knew that someone else’s energy was in my space and I needed to do something about it. If you’re the kind of person who is sensitive to energies (otherwise known as an empath) or intuitive and psychic in nature, then you may feel and recognize the energies of someone else in your personal space also. The key is to learn how to cleanse your space and take responsibility for what you will and will not allow into that space. Just because someone is sending negativity your way, that does not mean you need to accept it. Things only have as much power as you allow them to. Protection is not necessary when you learn how to control your own environment. And you can!
No matter where you go, who you spend your time with, and who you invite into your home or space, you are constantly being exposed to the energy and aura of others. Your own aura can span out as far as your outstretched arms. That means that whoever is in your space is blending with your aura, and you with theirs. Multiply that by several different people in one room and you’re meshing a lot of auras. Have you ever walked into a room and felt the energy of it, or get a hunch when something does or doesn’t feel right? This is because your aura is connecting with others and literally picking up on the other person’s vibes. With that being said, these energies can linger long after you have left this person’s space, or you theirs. However, you don’t necessarily need to be in the immediate vicinity of someone to pick up their energy, or have spent time with someone. Many times if someone is simply thinking of you in a negative light – such as out of anger, envy, jealousy – those vibrations are sent to you telepathically also.
The more you practice developing your intuitive skills, the more likely you are to spot and understand this feeling of an energetic shift. You also need to know and establish yourself as an individual and recognize who you are as a soul in order to spot when the feeling or feelings that come up are not your own. You create your space and come to know the energy of it and that’s what makes it easier to know when there is an energy there that isn’t aligning with yours. If you have to question at all whether the feelings are your own or someone else’s then its advisable to meditate more to connect with yourself first and develop your spiritual self.
Yes, we are all human and experience bad days from time to time. Just because things may feel a bit “off” it doesn’t always mean that it’s someone else’s energy or that you should point the finger of blame. Pointing fingers at anyone is not the answer, taking responsibility for your part is – whether it is your doing or someone else’s. The key is to notice how long and how intense the energy lingers. Some questions to ask yourself are:
- Did it come on suddenly?
- Were you already in a foul mood before you noticed it, or were you in a good mood?
- Are you a generally happy person?
- Are there personal things going on for you that may be affecting your judgment?
- Were you just speaking with or hanging around someone whose energy felt off or is usually a little off?
- Do you trust the person or people that you were around?
- Is there someone that has you on their radar? (i.e. they always know what you’re up to, make offhand comments about things you do or say, etc.)
These are some questions to ask yourself to decipher whether the energy is your own because you yourself are feeling off, or someone else is feeling off and projecting that on you. It takes courage, but if you are feeling a little off and it’s just you, then admit that to yourself and meditate and do some gentle self-care to get back into your feel good zone. Eventually the off-feeling will subside. But if you have done all that and the weird energy continues or if you are certain that it isn’t you, then you do not have to be stuck with it and there are solutions. People have “stuff” they carry with them, but that stuff is not yours to carry. Sending that stuff back to them sets healthy boundaries for yourself and also gives it back to that person for them to handle on their own. Take ownership of your own space and be responsible for it. You dictate what comes and goes, you are in control.
WHAT IS SMUDGING?
Smudging, or “saging,” is an ancient ritual that is used today by many that involves the use of a bundle of herbs, most noticeably sage, in which the bundle is burned to create smoke that is used for cleansing, releasing, healing, purifying and renewing, though the practice of smudging can be used for many other things and is not limited to those intentions. The focus on this blog is more on cleansing and purifying energy that is not your own.
The act of burning the sage, transforms the physical (sage) into spiritual (smoke). This can be looked at as a transformation. Burning the sage is an act of calling upon help in transforming the energy into something else.
WHAT HERBS ARE USED IN SMUDGING?
Typically, sage is the most well-known herb used in smudging. However, it is becoming more and more common to use other herbs depending on the intentions you are trying to set or the energy you are trying to clear. I would recommend using plain old sage or white sage for cleansing and purifying the air and harsh energies. However, if you feel drawn to use other fresh herbs in a bundle then by all means use and trust your intuition. You can even use a combination of several. Some other herbs used in smudging are:
- Cedar leaf
- Pine needles
- Mugwort (this is also used in Chinese Medicine – also known as moxabustion)
You can further research into each of the herbs above and their usage with smudging, or find an herb that matches what you are trying to accomplish in your ritual.
Sage is the most well known herb used for smudging because of its cleansing and purifying qualities. Native Americans would use sage in their spiritual ceremonies for that purpose and to aid in communing with spiritual ancestors and guides.
You can make your own smudge stick or bundle or purchase them at local metaphysical shops, or on Etsy or Amazon.
When smudging, it is advisable to utilize an abalone shell for the smudge stick to rest in or to hold underneath. This is to prevent the ashes from dropping on the floor, or accidentally dropping the smudge stick directly onto the floor.
It’s also common to use a large feather to fan the smoke as you go about your ritual. Feathers are powerful symbols from the spirit world so in addition to the act itself, using a feather enhances the connection to the spiritual realm. I prefer using feathers that I find naturally in nature, as I consider them gifts from my Spirit Guides.
You also need to make sure you have something that provides the fire to light your smudge stick. If you plan on doing a lengthy smudging ceremony, then it helps to have a lighter or striker to use if you need to relight it. Otherwise, you can utilize matches or light a candle and place it over the flame. When the smudge stick catches you want to let it burn for a couple of seconds and then blow it out. The goal is to use the smoldering smoke NOT the flame.
HOW CAN I PRACTICE SMUDGING?
SET AN INTENTION
Before you begin the ritual, think about what it is that you want to release or cleanse. When you have established what it is, it helps to repeat this affirmation as you physically perform the act of smudging in each area. For example, if you are looking to simply cleanse your house of negative energies you can say something like “I now cleanse and release this space of any negative energies as they are no longer welcome here. There is only room for love and positive energy. Please leave now.” The words can be anything you want them to be, but it helps solidify your purpose in what you are doing and the act of repeating it strengthens the connection to it. Say whatever comes natural to you and don’t think too hard about it. You know and understand inside what it is you are looking to accomplish, always be truthful and honest with yourself.
Before you smudge, aside from making sure your tools are handy you should go around to each space that you plan on smudging and open a window (or door to the outside if you do not have windows). The main reason for this is because the energy that your clearing needs somewhere to go, otherwise it will just keep on lingering! Opening the windows and/or door allows that energy to leave your space and be brought to the spiritual realm for transformation. Bonus: it gets fresh air circulating in your home and feels so good! Since the herbs are very fragrant it also helps air out the herbaceous smell if you aren’t so used to it.
Make sure that before you smudge you are not rushed to finish the process and will not be interrupted. Sit quietly and take a few deep breaths to center yourself before beginning. It helps to have a calm frame of mind going into it.
THINGS YOU CAN SMUDGE
Your House – It’s always a good idea to sage your house or living space whenever you:
- Purchase a new home, to rid prior energies
- Before you have company over to create an inviting atmosphere
- After your company leaves to release any lingering energies
- Before and after clients if you work from home and have strangers frequently in your space
- Every so often to generally cleanse the air and keep it fresh (it certainly doesn’t hurt)
Pick a space that you would like to start in, light your smudge stick and use your feather to gently sweep the smoke around the room while stating your intention. Pay particular attention to the four corners of each room as they collect the most energy. After you have swept the smoke around the entire room, finish up the room by guiding it towards the open window or door and asking it to please leave your space. Proceed into the next room and so forth and so on until your house is complete. Leave time to do this as it may take a bit. Don’t forget hallways, garages, attics, crawlspaces, and other nooks and crannies. Once complete you can close all windows and doors.
Objects – Similar to cleansing your house except the focus this time is on specific objects such as furniture, toys, memorabilia, keepsakes and jewelry to name a few examples. It is a good idea to sage objects when:
- You buy something at a garage sale
- You receive a gift from someone
- You find something by chance and choose to keep it
- If you find yourself drawn to it in a negative way
- Feel that this object is the source of bad energy
Light your smudge stick, state your intention and sweep the smoke around the object on all sides: left, right, top, bottom, front, back. Guide the smoke towards the open window or door.
Yourself – It’s important to sage yourself as well. In my experience above, I used this method because the energy I was feeling was circulating in my aura. It is a good idea to sage yourself when:
- You are not feeling like yourself, with no particular explanation as to why
- You feel like you are attracting negative situations or people to you
- When you spend time around others whose energy you may not be fond of
- In general for overall well-being and spiritual health
To do this method, stand with your feet rooted to the earth and light your smudge stick. Holding the sage a few inches in front of you beginning at your root chakra, gently sweep the smoke in a circular motion stating your intention and asking to cleanse your root chakra. Continue this method for all your chakras, working up to your crown chakra. Once you have done this, swirl the smoke all around you, including passing it between your legs and underneath your root to cleanse all areas. Direct the energy out towards the open windows/doors. If you’re not familiar with the chakras, head over to my Chakras Section to find out where these areas are and familiarize yourself with these energy centers.
Your Car – If you are in your car a lot it is also a good space to cleanse because chances are when you are going to and from places and interacting with people it is the first place aside from your aura that can absorb energy. Let’s not forget about road rage! Smudging your car is good when:
- You are going to be spending a lot of time in your car traveling
- You are chauffeuring or driving someone else around
- You are entering your car after spending time somewhere stressful
- You have been the source of unfortunate events such as accidents, fender benders or victim of road rage
To do this ritual, opening all of the windows saves you time since it’s a much smaller space and the energy doesn’t have as far to travel. Light your smudge stick, state your intention and begin your ritual (don’t forget the trunk). When you are done with the inside of the vehicle, continue by walking around the outside of your car entirely and sweeping the smoke around the outside as well.
Your Work Space – If you don’t work from home, smudging your work space is good when:
- You’re having difficult concentrating or finishing tasks on time
- You spend a lot of time at your desk or in the same space
Unless you work in an environment where your boss let’s you use the traditional smudge stick method, there may be a chance that you are unable to do so due to hazards in the workplace (especially in a corporate environment). See below for a list of alternative methods to cleansing your space.
Other People – Yep! You can also sage other people. In this case I am referring to those people that you live with on a daily basis. Just like you, they are a part of your living space and bring in their own energies from the day and have their own aura. Following the same procedure as smudging yourself, you can also perform the ritual on the other members of your household including your pets. Since you all share this same space there is no use in doing all that hard work saging yourself and your whole house if the energy could be lingering on another member of your household. It’s great if you have family members or roommates that are open and willing to do this, but if not I would recommend one of the different methods below.
ALTERNATIVES TO SMUDGING
Sometimes unfortunate circumstances prevent the ability to be able to use the traditional smudging method. Things such as renting a space and not being able to freely do as you please, living in a space with fire hazards prohibiting the use of fire/flames/smoke, living with individuals not willing to participate. There are other alternatives to using a smudge stick and burning sage, such as:
- Palo Santo Stick – If you like the idea of using smoke but are not fond of the herbaceous smell of sage, you can use palo santo to burn instead. This wood is native to Central and South America and is used in the same way as sage. I happen to love the smell of this when lit as it lends notes of citrus, pine and wood similar to cedar and smells like a natural burning fire.
- Sage Candle – If you’re not privy to smoke at all but like ambiance, then a sage candle could be an alternative for you. Though you won’t get the effects of the smoke to do the cleansing, the continuous fire and flickering flame is also a good tool for transformation. To make your ritual more significant you can write down the things you want to release on paper and then burn it in fire.
- Sage Essential Oil – If you don’t like fire or smoke or are unable to use those methods in your space then diffusing sage essential oil can be beneficial. This could work in your car, your work space or in your home. The essential oil still cleanses and purifies the air and promotes spiritual transformation. I sometimes like using this method if I am pressed for time, or if I want to do a deep cleanse letting the essential oils diffuse for several hours.
- Sage Incense – A less intense version of the smoke, but you still get the smoke and use of sage. You can also use your feather to sweep the smoke of the incense as you would the smudge stick.
- Sage Spray – You can make your own at home sage spray using an empty water bottle, water and sage essential oil. For every ounce of water add 5-10 drops of essential oil. It’s up to you to add to your desired scent depending on how strong you prefer it to be. This method is good for use in any circumstance.
- Fresh Sage – If you live among people that just can’t tolerate the smell of the smoke or sage or are unable to do any other method, you can always hang a bundle of sage above your entrance doorway. This helps keep all the other bad energy out so that when you walk in, everything is left at the door.
WHAT YOU MAY EXPECT AFTER SMUDGING
It is not uncommon to notice an immediate lift in the atmosphere after you sage yourself or your chosen space. This morning after doing my ritual, I felt an instant change in the air and felt like myself again. That’s another way you will come to tell that this energy was not your own. You can literally feel the heaviness and the weight of that energy being lifted off of you and out of your space.
You may also notice that in the coming days ahead, people with lower energies may try to “test you.” If you’ve ever heard the expression “misery loves company” this is what I’m referring to. This is because you have raised your vibration higher, and lower energies can sense that. They may try to do what they can to bring you back down to their level. The best way to handle this is to send them love and light and go about your way with your newfound peace. Remember – you are responsible for your space! You don’t have to let in what you don’t want to let in. The power lies within. And that’s it! Hope this works for you as much as it has worked for me over the years.