Good Vibes Only: A Guide To Smudging

Counter Culture presents Me, Myself and I for May 2018. We’re stepping behind the counters of our independent boutiques to bring you stories and inspiration around this month’s theme which explores the world of wellness.

Increasing in popularity as part of a wider movement towards wellness, we’re exploring the practice of smudging. Originating in Native American culture, burning smudge sticks can cleanse spaces of negative energy while healing and restoring body and mind.

Intrigued? Drawing on the insights of smudging fans from our independent boutique community, alongside those of a smudging expert, we’ve created an illuminating guide to smudging.

Start by lighting your smudge stick with a candle

What is smudging?

Smudging is an ancient ritual originating from Native American cultures, involving the practice of burning bundles of different herbs, mainly sage, during sacred religious and spiritual ceremonies. The smoke and aromas emitted are thought to banish bad energy while purifying mind and body.

In non-indigenous societies smudging is not rooted in religious ceremony but has become an extension of the wellness movement; a way of people reconnecting with themselves by taking a pause from the stresses of modern life. Jacqui Martin, the founder of Trouva boutique Reste in Hastings has seen bundles of smudge sticks flying out the door; she believes this is due to the trend towards a Californian, bohemian lifestyle and the slow living movement which promotes thoughtful, considered living. Similarly, Natalie Jones, founder of Trouva boutique Caro in Somerset maintains that smudging is tied to a broader movement of people seeking to live more positive lives.

Once the smudge stick is alight, blow out the flame and let the smoke waft

What does smudging do?

Expert smudger and founder of wellness brand Owl & Apothecary Katy Theakston says “we are all looking for ways to make deeper connections and align person, place and purpose and smudging can facilitate this.”

It’s thought that the smoke released from burning the herbs releases negative ions and therefore cleanses the space of bad energy, making for a more positive environment. You can incorporate different herbs based on the intention behind the smudging, for example, Palo Santo can heal and restore, cedar can purify spaces and energy, while mugwort is known for its unique ability to stimulate dreams.

The practice of smudging can be adopted into your life as much or a little as you want explains Katy, “smudging can be a daily practice or you can just do at key times like when you move house or office, when you are feeling angry or upset or around big life events like marriage, death. It’s a wonderful way to start new adventures by saying goodbye to the old and hello to the new.”

Natalie explains her first experience with smudging which came about after a visit to a relative and keen smudger in San Francisco: “It was just before I opened the shop so a lot of our conversation was about my journey ahead once I’d come back to the UK. I was given a smudge stick to burn throughout the space on our opening day. It smelt of sage – which I love – and spread good energy.”

Leave your smudge stick to smoulder in a ceramic dish and take a moment to watch the plumes of smoke

Where do I start?

Whether your interest in smudging has been sparked or set fully aflame, there are plenty of ways to incorporate smudging into your life. For those with a burning interest in smudging, Somerset-based boutique Caro is hosting a smudging workshop where guests can learn from Katy (of Owl & Apothecary) about smudging rituals, as well as making their own smudge sticks. If you’re experiencing the first small sparks of intrigue, consider the Juniper Ridge range of smudge sticks stocked by lifestyle boutique Reste to try at home.

Wherever you stand on smudging, the beauty of it is that you only need a handful of ingredients: matches, a candle, a ceramic dish, a well-ventilated space and, most importantly, an open mind.

Where do you stand on smudging? Let us know in the comments below.

Eleanor Middleton

2 thoughts on “Good Vibes Only: A Guide To Smudging”

  1. Can’t wait to give it a try! It smells glorious, and anything that makes my life more peaceful gets a big thumbs up!

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