Sacred Smoke: Powerful Energy Clearing and Shielding for Yourself and Your Space
Spiritual hygiene? You may be thinking “Say what?”
But, yep, that really is a thing. It’s connected to our energetic interactions with other people and the world around us. We pick up on (and in some cases, even take on) the energies of those around us if we aren’t diligent about setting energetic boundaries and keeping those boundaries fortified and “cleaned up.”
Spiritual and energetic hygiene is every bit as important as our personal physical hygiene. Much the same way ignoring our personal cleanliness can lead to physical health problems, ignoring our spiritual and energetic hygiene and wellness can cause us spiritual and energetic grief.
There are a few different ways to maintain excellent spiritual and energetic well-being, which actually encompass more than just our bodies and personal energy. Our personal spaces should be free of energetic “clutter” and low vibes as well, so let’s talk about the things we can do to maintain health and balance in both.
The most powerful way to protect yourself spiritually and energetically is by setting strong boundaries, both physically and energetically.
Physically speaking, I mean learning to say “No.” Stop accomodating everyone else around you at the expense of your own wellbeing. Many of us take on way too much responsibility out of fear of disappointing others if we say no to them, whether it’s our boss, a friend, or loved ones. We put ourselves on the back burner and attend to everyone else around us first.
That has to stop. As the old saying goes, you can’t give from an empty vessel… and if you’re not making it an intentional point to take time for yourself in order to keep yours full, you’re going to burn out. We spend so much time filling everyone else’s proverbial cups that we don’t take the time to replenish our own.
It may be worth assessing the circle of people you’re surrounded by daily and asking yourself who you readily give energy away to that doesn’t return the gesture? It’s sometimes necessary to evaluate friendships and other relationships and make necessary changes. We can’t always remove people from our life, but we can take the steps needed to minimize the energetic impact they have on us.
Now, energetically speaking, when it comes to boundaries, I mean setting energetic boundaries through your thoughts and intentions.
Every morning I prepare myself for my day by deciding what kind of day I’m going to have. Yes, we can do that! We certainly can’t always choose what will happen or the situations that will arise, but we *can* choose our reaction and response to those situations and how we’ll allow them to impact us on an energetic level. I set the intention to have a great day, and I don’t let other’s actions deter me from that mindset.
The other thing that I do is envision myself surrounded by a pyramid of bright golden-white light. In my mind’s eye, I see the negativity of others bouncing off of it before it even has a chance to impact me. This has become a powerful personal tool for me, and I love it.
It does take some practice to implement and maintain. At first, you may find that you have difficulty keeping it in place.
How can you tell it’s diminished or disappeared? When you feel the energy of others draining you or shifting your own mood and emotions. This should be an immediate reminder to go full “Shields up!” Envision your pyramid in your mind’s eye, see it snapping into place around yourself, wall-by-wall, deflecting the negativity and low vibe energy of others.
You may find that you need to regularly remind yourself of your energetic shield and make a habit of holding it in your mind’s eye in order to strengthen it. Eventually, it will become second nature for you.
To create my pyramid, I first take in a deep breath, hold it for a couple of seconds, then as I release it, I imagine all tension and negativity leaving my body with it.
I take another deep breath, imagining that I’m pulling in vibrant, glowing, golden-white light through the crown of my head from out of the aether, straight from the universe, down through my throat chakra, heart chakra, down my arms and straight out my fingertips.
I hold that breath brieftly, releasing it as I see the light traveling through the rest of my body’s chakra centers, down my legs, like roots out the soles of my feet and down into the earth, all the way to the earth’s core, grounding me. I then imagine the earth’s energy traveling back up those energetic roots, connecting with the light from above at my solar plexus. I can feel the warmth of the light as it travels through my body, seeing it forming a golden, glittering pyramid around me.
I hold that image in my mind’s eye until I feel it’s securely in place, confident that my energy is safe within my protective pyramid.
Now, you try it. It honestly feels amazing to me. The feeling from a clean energetic shield is actually a little addictive, and you may find you’ll come to crave it once you know what it feels like. I choose to work with a pyramid shape, some people prefer to imagine it as a bubble or box. Use what resonates most strongly with you.
The periodic use of cleansing smoke is a valuable means of maintaining the energetic health of not only your living space, but of yourself as well. Just as you can use smoke to clear energies in a space, you can “bathe” yourself or others in the smoke of sacred herbs or resins to cleanse and clear their energy field, or “aura.” There are a wide variety of natural materials that can be used for this purpose.
Some materials are more commonly used as sort of all-purpose energy cleansing tools, like white sage or palo santo. While they smell amazing and are powerful herbal cleansing allies, it’s important to know that switching up your methods and the materials you use is necessary to keep things super sparkly, spiritually speaking.
Various flowers, leaves, grasses, roots, woods, and resins are all beneficial, but in different ways. Lavender buds, rose petals, many different types of sage, sweetgrass, cedar, palo santo, and resins such as frankincense, myrrh, dragon’s blood, etc., are all examples of the types of materials commonly used. There is a definite order of strength among them, and as such, what you use should be determined by your specific need.
For example, floral buds like lavender or rose may smell beautiful, helping to freshen up the energy of a space, but they’re not powerful cleansers, energetically speaking. On the other end of the spectrum, woods (such as palo santo) and resins (like frankincense) are the most potent herbal allies for energetic cleansing and clearing. Each material has specific properties and correspondences that make them particularly suited to certain types of uses, so be sure to do your research.
Considered by many to be the gold standard of herbal energy cleansing, white sage, Salvia apiana, has traditionally been used for both ceremonial purposes as well as healing and energy cleansing. When smoldered, white sage has a sharp, pungent, earthy aroma that I personally find to be calming and grounding. It is most commonly used in a tied bundle form.
White sage is believed to discourage the presence of unwanted energies and to draw in positive spirits and beneficial energy. Because of this, it is frequently used to cleanse environments of any old, stale, subtle energies that need moved along. Many people use it to clear the energy of a home when they move into a new dwelling, inviting the flow of fresh energy into the space.
Sage is also used to clear energies from a space prior to ritual work, or from objects used in ritual practice. Many people use sage smoke to cleanse crystals as well as Tarot decks and other divination or altar tools.
It can also be used to cleanse the aura of individuals by bathing them in the smoke, starting at the head and wafting it in a downward and outward motion over the body as you walk in a counterclockwise motion around them, to carry energies out and away when doing a cleansing and clearing.
To use a sage bundle for cleansing a space, start by making sure you have a heatproof dish of some type to hold the bundle over as you light it. This will also serve as a safe surface to sit the bundle down on when needed. Many people like to use sand in the bottom of their dish as a buffer against the heat.
As you’re lighting your sage, it’s important to hold positive intention in your mind for the work you’re about to do, as well as the intention to send any unwanted energies or spirits on their way as you work.
To begin, light the tip over an open flame, allowing it to flame up for a few seconds to get a good light before gently waving the flame out. This should leave the tip of the bundle smoldering. The bundle may shed small embers as you work with it, so take care and be aware of this. Please always take every precaution when working with the element of fire and BE SAFE.
Alternatively, some people prefer to crumble leaves from the bundle and smolder them on small charcoal disks (available in most occult or metaphysical shops, as well as online) in a heatproof dish. Either method works equally well.
To cleanse your space, begin at the main entrance and work in a counterclockwise manner, passing the smoke over all window casings, doorways, along the floor, into corners and dark spaces, waving the smoke into them with your hand or a feather fan if necessary. I like to open windows when doing this in order to allow the smoke to carry the energies out of the space, envisioning them dissipating into the air outside as they’re carried away.
Your bundle may need to be relit periodically as you work, which is completely normal.
When you’re finished, place the bundle in your heat proof dish. You can leave it to smolder out in a safe place in a central area of the space if you’d like, or you can smother the tip out by crushing it out in the bottom of the dish. This works well if you use sand in the bottom of the dish, some people like to use abalone shells for this purpose, or small cast iron cauldrons.
After cleansing with sage, I love to burn sweetgrass to invite sweet-natured spirits and positive energies in. I also recite a positive and uplifting chant or mantra as I carry the smoldering sweetgrass through the space. I usually say something like this:
“I invite divine white light into this space, I ask that my guides and angels surround me at this time, filling this space with love and harmony, releasing anything that no longer serves so that this space may be filled only with sweetness, love, and light.”
In the case of people, “bathe” them in sweetgrass smoke by wafting it around the body, beginning at the feet and working your way up and around the entire body in a clockwise motion, and over the top of the head – having them to envision beautiful golden, white light pouring into the crown chakra from Source and spreading throughout the body.
I use this upward clockwise motion to bring things in, where with sage, I use a downward and counterclockwise motion to carry things out and away.
Ideally, you should cleanse and clear your living space about once per month. You will definitely want to cleanse the space if anyone has been sick or after disagreements. It’s also just good spiritual hygiene practice to cleanse and clear your space after having houseguests or large gatherings in your home.
If you have asthma or another condition that smoke might irritate, or live with someone who does, cleansing with smoke is probably not an option for you. The same goes for times when you need to cleanse a space where smoke is not appropriate (think your cubicle at the office).
In cases like these, we can use magical mists created from essential oils, herbs, and even crystals for energy clearing. They can be used in spaces or misted around the body for cleansing the aura. Always take care to not get them in your eyes or allow them to come in contact with mucous membranes or, uh, “sensitive bits” of the body.
Some people use spring water or distilled water as the base for magical mists, but I prefer hydrosols. Also known as floral waters, they are a natural byproduct of the distillation process when extracting essential oils. That said, some distillers produce hydrosols specifically and intentionally, rather than simply capturing them as a byproduct. Hydrosols have the same magical properties as their essential oil counterparts, but they are much more affordable.
With a little research into the magical correspondences of botanicals (and crystals, if you like), you can create many beautiful and magical sacred mists for a wide range of needs.
Here’s an easy formula to get you started for an energetic cleansing mist that smells ahhhhhh-mazing:
1-ounce basil hydrosol (for protection)
1-ounce peppermint hydrosol (for purification)
10 drops of bergamot essential oil (for well-being and psychic protection)
Tiny clear quartz point or clear quartz chips (for amplification of energy)
Add all ingredients to a 4-ounce fine-mist spray bottle and shake well. I like to give it a little added energetic boost by holding the bottle between my hands and envisioning white light flowing down through my crown chakra, into my heart chakra, through my arms, and out my hands into the bottle.
You can mist this anywhere the energy feels like it needs a boost, including around yourself or others to cleanse the aura.
Please Note: Essential oils will not incorporate into hydrosols or other water-based sprays, they will separate and rise to the top of the liquid base. Make sure to give your bottle a good shake each time before you use it. Avoid spraying it onto fabrics or surfaces that may be damaged or stained by moisture or essential oils.
Other Ways to Practice Energetic Self-Care
There are so many ways to show yourself a little energetic self-care love, beyond cleansing with smoke or sacred mists.
Just like I mentioned above about switching things up when cleansing and clearing yourself and your living spaces by using different botanical materials, there are different “tools” you can add to your energetic arsenal.
Sound – You can “bathe” yourself or your space in sound that invites in high-vibe energy. You can use a sweet-sounding bell to clear a space, ringing the bell as you travel around your space much the same way you would if you were using smoke.
You can also hang chimes in your windows so that each time a breeze comes through, it will make the chimes ring. Hang bells on your doorknobs so that each time a door is opened, the bells will sound.
Another way to use sound as a means of energy clearing is with music. I keep Reiki music playing on low on a 24/7 loop in areas of my home and my studio space in addition to a monthly freshening up of the space with smoke or sacred mist. This keeps the energy feeling bright and vibrant in those spaces. People comment pretty much without fail how peaceful our home and my studio feel when they visit. I attribute it to this, no doubt. My faovrite Reiki music artist is Deuter. The piece “Lovesong From the Mountain” from his “Koyasan: Reiki Sound Healing” album is one I can listen to on a loop nonstop and never grow tired of. It was like absolute magic the first time I heard it years ago.
Water – Each day when you shower, you can envision all of the day’s energetic junk being rinsed away and down the drain, the same goes with baths. Imagine the negative, low vibe energy disappearing down your drain as the water drains from the tub. If you love to take a nice bath, you can also use bath salts to help detox your energy field. Salt scrubs in the shower are great for this as well.
Spirit Guides – Call on your spirit guides or angels to help you cleanse your energy field and assist you in protecting your energetic boundaries by inviting in the pure white light of divine love.
Cord Cutting – Cord cutting is sometimes necessary when we’re having a hard time letting go of something, or getting that something to let go of us. If you’ve ever had those times when you feel like something just really has its hooks in you and you’re struggling with it, a cord cutting is probably in order.
Maybe it was a fight with a loved one that is still troubling you even after you’ve worked things out, maybe it involves an interaction with a really toxic co-worker or family member and you’re just left with a sense of dread or anxiety aftewards that you can’t shake.
When this happens to me, I imagine thick, heavy, dark cords connecting me to whoever or whatever the source of the problem is. In my mind’s eye, I see myself severing those cords with a razor sharp silver blade, watching them completely disappear into nothingness as I do. I then “wipe my hands”, energetically speaking, ground myself, and put up my protective pyramid.
This can be a beneficial thing for you to do every night before, especially if you work in a toxic environment everyday.
What Are You Waiting For?
If you don’t already practice regular energetic cleansing, it’s time to get started! Once you begin to make a habit of using these types of tools to keep your energy field bright and sparkly, the more obvious it will become to you just how important spiritual and energetic wellness are to your overall health and wellbeing. No matter how you slice it, they absolutely go hand-in-hand.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences about energy clearing if you’d care to share them below! ♥