You know that feeling when you walk into a room and just get weird vibes? Or when you’re stuck in a funk after dealing with people who are just a little extra? These are the times when an energy cleansing is in order.

One of the simplest ways to clear out bad juju is an ancient indigenous ritual called smudging. This involves burning sacred plants like sage, sweetgrass or palo santo to purify negative or stagnant energy from a space or the body.

Traditionally, you’d use plants that are native to wherever you are. For practical purposes, a bundle of sage is the most common smudge stick to burn, and it’s relatively easy to find in local spiritual shops or online. If you’re not a fan of the way sage smells, palo santo (which translates to “holy stick”) from the eponymous tree in Central and South America is beloved for its grounding, woody fragrance.

Here’s how to perform the ritual. Be intentional and prayerful throughout the process. Honor yourself, your space and your ancestors and angels by internally reciting a mantra that resonates with you and embodies this cleansing. Here’s some inspiration:

  • I am living life anew
  • I am clearing space for infinite blessings
  • My spirit is cleansed
  • I am bringing positive energy to myself
  • I am welcoming clean and fresh energy to this space

Light the end of the smudge stick over a fireproof container—traditionally an abalone shell to invoke the healing powers of the sea. To cleanse your body, move the smoke all around your body from head to toe, paying special attention to areas that are most exposed to other people’s energy, like the hands.

To give a physical space an energetic reset, let the smoke waft throughout the room, and especially in all corners, where stagnant energy tends to settle. Let the stick burn out in the fireproof container.

That’s it. You should feel lighter and brighter. Perform this ritual anytime you feel like you need some good vibes in your life.

About the Author

Dana is a Los Angeles–based freelance writer and editor with a focus on eco lifestyle and beauty—from vegan cooking to natural, cruelty-free skin care. Also a wildlife enthusiast, naturalist, and advocate for conservation and environmental stewardship.