During this time of year is when I really can feel a shift in the seasons. Moving from summer to fall is my favorite time of year, because if we’re lucky, we get to enjoy sunshine without the stifling heat of summer, along with everything good in the world: crisp mornings, hot drinks, and spiced cakes and treats.
I love this time of year not just because of the weather, but because of the sense of renewal that comes with autumn. I was born in September, so this is the time when I feel like I get to start fresh. It means I’ve been on this earth for another year, and that, to me, feels like more of a fresh start than January. September is my New Year.
Around the middle of September, I was home alone for most of the day. The night before, I’d decided I felt like staying up late and cleaning the house, which I did, and the next morning, I felt like I needed to take an extra step. I found my smudging stick. I figured it was a perfect time to cleanse the house. It was already halfway through the month — my favorite month — and I wanted to take it in as much as possible.
Smudging is an ancient ritual that involves burning bundles of dried sage and allowing the smoke to waft around the space. I wanted to cleanse my whole house to prepare it for the new month, which has been packed with so many celebrations. I burned the sage bundle and let the smoke float up to the ceiling. I walked from room to room and said a quiet prayer as I went along.
May this house be full of life and laughter in the coming season.
May my marriage continue to be a place of love and comfort.
May my sister’s new marriage to Mark be filled with happiness and strength.
May my family be happy and healthy in the coming season.
May my body remain healthy and strong and able.
May I let go of negative encounters from the past year.
May my 29th year be fulfilling and exciting.
May the new season bring positive change not only for this house, but also for this country.
May any negative, painful, or unhappy experiences in this home leave out the front door with the smoke of this flame.
I said those things, and likely a few more that I’m forgetting, out loud in my house. I walked from room to room, saying these things and waving the sage around each space. The smell of the herb was comforting, the prayer was encouraging, and the ritual itself brought peace to me in a way that can’t really be described.
If this sounds crazy to you, that’s okay. But if it sounds like something you’d want to try in your own home, here are some ideas.
Smudging can be done anytime, but it’s especially helpful in times of transition, such as:
- Moving into a new living space.
- The beginning or end of a season.
- After a yoga class.
- Before a meditation practice.
- Before and after a guest comes to your house.
- When you start a new job.
- When you’ve returned home from a trip.
- After a massage therapy session.
- After an argument or getting over an illness.
If you aren’t someone who prays, you can recite something that means something to you as you move through your home, or even just repeat a mantra. Or just remain silent, moving quietly through your home.
To light the sage bundle, you have to use quite a bit of flame to get it to light and smolder. The bundle should burn like when you light incense and it smokes. I keep my sage bundle on a little table with my crystal collection and incense burner, and I have a small bowl that I put the bundle’s flame out in, like an ashtray.
You can find smudging sticks online practically anywhere, but I bought mine at some random shop on one of my many travels in the last year. I honestly don’t remember where, but they aren’t hard to find. If you have a sage plant, you can also make your own.
Like I said, if this isn’t something you’re into, that’s okay. It wasn’t always something I’ve been into, and honestly, I don’t do it as much as I probably should considering how refreshed I feel when I do it. But I would encourage you to try it. You might be surprised how airy and clean your space feels afterward.
Let me know if you use smudging to clear your space, and give me your thoughts in the comments below.