House to a Home:
Building Rituals with Smudging
By Alana Perez
August 1st, 2020
I’ve lived in Rhode Island all my life, with gaps in between living in other places short-term. At the end of this summer though, I begin a new journey to a new state down south. To move to an unknown place and start anew, remaining grounded and light in the home is essential. There’s good reason as to why Palo Santo and Sage bundles can be found in Soulita’s Essentials section. Our sage bundles also come with additional aromas:
Sage + Lavender or Sage + Cedar.
Practicing smudging in my hometown has stuck with me as I navigate having my own space and home in a whole new state.
"Smudging offers healing, peace, creativity and protection."
Not to mention, it smells wonderful and extremely aroma-therapeutic. There is nothing like coming back to an energetically cleared and purified sanctuary that you call your home.
Let me welcome you into my new home and show you how I do it.
Welcome To My Home
Walk with me through my home. To your right, you’ll notice the bedroom where my altar lives. You should never touch someone’s altar without their permission, but today I’ll let you pick up the Sage or the Palo Santo stick. Whichever one you choose is fine, ‘cause I’ll pick up the other to create a “tandem effect.” As the
We tilt each stick towards a flame (lighter, match, or candle is fine) and watch it take fire for about 30 seconds or until it naturally goes out into a rich smoke. We take the smoke to each corner of the room, the rest of the house, leaving trails of smoke behind us. We open the windows, all the drawers, all the closets. As Sage’s smoke pushes and clears out any negative energy from the space with its potent kick, Palo Santo closely trails behind opening up the space for creativity, positivity and peace.
If you’re still unsure of what is happening energetically, “smudge ‘deposits’ the energy of the plant into the space helping to dissipate old, lingering energies,” explains Janell Hickman who grew up in a Caribbean household. The smoke coming off of the herb (sage) or the wood (palo santo), lifts and unsticks stale or negative energy off of objects in your home and even off of you. And just like that, we have symbolically cleansed my home. Thank you.
Our Ancestors Been Knew
Not only will you feel grounded by routinely implementing this ritualistic practice into your home or any other private space, but you will surely feel the effects of it.
"This spiritual practice is certainly not new; our ancestors been knew."
Burning is traditional in many cultures. Fire works quickly and makes space for newer more beautiful things to grow.
Specifically though, indigenous people have held, still hold, ceremonies that involve smudging through the use of herbs such as sage, white sage, sweet grass, cedar, and more. Each herb has a different intention behind it. Many different Native tribes have used smudging as protection from evil spirits and as a tool to guide and open spaces for prayer.
The land that we call Rhode Island has been home to tribes such as the Narragansett and Wampanoag tribes for centuries. Whether you are a direct ancestor of these or other unnamed tribes, we should all be grateful for the ancestral practices they have left us with. As Rhode Islanders, we should know and honor this history and practices of the people whose land we are currently occupying. This article honors all indigenous tribes and thanks them.
Build Your Own Ritual
It’s simple rituals, such as smudging, that we learn to build within ourselves and throughout our lives, carrying us from one day to the next.
"What better way to start a sacred, private, and individualized ritual than in the home."
If you’re unsure of when and how often you should smudge, that’s ok. You’re doing it right already because you’re figuring it out and definitely feeling it out. These are the most useful tips I’ve gotten from healers and sister-friends: (1) Always smudge when it feels right, and not because you think you should do it or based off of someone else’s routine, and (2) Really make it a ritual, or in other words be intentional in how you do it (like that Solange interlude says twice, “Do nothing without intention”). Above all, make the practice of smudging your own and hold it close.