Have you been plagued with doubts lately? Does there seem to be a cloud of negativity following you wherever you go? Then it’s time to consider performing a smudging prayer. Smudging, the process of burning herbs for cleansing and ritualistic purposes, has been used for thousands of years across numerous cultures. Condensing your intent into prayer can enhance the practice but what do you say? Read on to find out more.
What is a smudging prayer?
The process of smudging is intended to cleanse, purify, and get rid of negative energy. It is believed that the smoke acts as a purifier and as it rises, it takes your wishes up into the universe and to the Gods. The most common herb used is white sage which is a sacred herb across many cultures for its intense purifying properties, however other herbs can be used too.
Your intention, mantra or prayer, is a set of words that are spoken during the smudging ceremony that are designed to focus your mind on what you want the smudging ceremony to achieve, so your words should always be positive and affirmative.
5 short smudging prayers for protection
Here are 5 short smudging prayers you can use in your smudging ceremonies for protection:
1. Prayer for protecting your home
Smudging is a fantastic way to cleanse your home if the air is feeling heavy or there is a sense of unease. Smudging prayers are particularly beneficial if you have just moved into a new house or if you have recently suffered a bereavement, as the smoke will work to remove any lingering negative energies.
When creating a smudging prayer for the home, you will need to think about what you want to achieve – the more specific you can be the better! Do you want to be more productive in your home? Do you want to clear negative energies after an argument? It’s important to remember that every situation is unique so the more you can personalize the prayer the more tailored your intent will be. However, if you are looking for a little inspiration here are a couple of mantras that you can adopt:
“Smoke, air, fire, and earth, cleanse and bless this home and hearth.
Drive away harm and fear, only positive energy may enter here.”
“I have opened this space to love and affection; may all the positive energy around me benefit my space. May it come with nurturance, compassion, forgiveness, and truth.”
2. Prayer for protecting your family
Smudging prayers for protecting your family are particularly beneficial if you put your emotions into your words. Have fears about how your children will grow? Worried about that time you raised your voice and now your regret it?
Smudging prayers can be customized to specify practically any intent, from healing rifts between partners to infertility and idleness. Here is a native prayer you may want to use or customize for your own family:
“Creator, Great Mystery
Source of all knowing and comfort,
Cleanse this space of all negativity.
Open our pathways to peace and understanding.
Love and light fills each of us and our sacred space.
Our work here shall be beautiful and meaningful.
Banish all energies that would mean us harm.
Our eternal gratitude.”
(The Medicine Wheel Garden, E. Barrie Kavasch)
For something simpler, consider a shorter prayer like this one:
“Sacred plant, I thank you for the purification and healing you provide. Cleanse and protect this family from negative energies so that we may live in peace and harmony.”
3. Prayer for protecting yourself (or your energy)
There are countless prayers you can use for protecting your own energy. It is best to think of one thing you want to get rid of, such as negativity or a bad habit, then make one positive affirmation to confirm your intention. Your words themselves do not necessarily work on their own, instead they are powered by your thoughts and feelings.
Here is an excerpt from a particularly powerful Native American smudging prayer which can be used to cleanse away negativity and boost your self-esteem:
“Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have
made and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lessons you have
hidden in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother,
But to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready to come to you
with clean hands and straight eyes.”
(Translated by Lakota Sioux Chief Yellow Lark in 1887)
Of course, this prayer will be a little heavy for some, but the important thing is to use words that mean something to you. Be as honest as you can be and the universe will listen.
A shorter prayer may look something like this:
“Please help me to feel good in my heart, and live positive thoughts. Help give me bravery to overcome feelings of fear, and focus on the good feelings.”
4. Prayer for cleansing your surroundings
Smudging prayers for cleansing your surroundings can be short or elaborate. Rhyming prayers are often easier to remember and many spiritual healers suggest that the process of rhyming can also raise more energy. You may feel the need to cleanse your surroundings before performing a ritual, meditation, or even before you start on a new task, to ensure all negativity has been removed. Here is an example:
“The negativity of this sacred space,
I expel you by using the light of my sacred grace.
You hold no right or power here
I face and stand you without fear.”
Even something simpler would work, such as “I cleanse my sacred space as I prepare for ceremony and prayer” (or whatever it is you are preparing for).
5. Prayer for attracting positive energy
All of the smudging prayers above are designed to rid you and your space of negativity and therefore bring positivity into your life. However, sometimes you may want to be more specific in the type of energy you bring into your home, or maybe you are just looking for an uplifting affirmation that will raise your spirits.
These types of smudging prayer can be particularly potent if said allowed when you first wake up in the morning, as they will put you in a positive mindset ready for the day ahead. Here are a couple of short examples:
“I am beautiful, strong, and capable of achieving anything I put my mind to.”
“Thank you for this beautiful day. I will fill it with beauty, laughter, and joy”
The mind is incredibly powerful. Research shows that stating positive mantras or prayers regularly can improve your mindset and increase feelings of self-worth.
Furthermore, when you are feeling stronger and more positive, you are much more likely to be open to new experiences and attract positivity into your life.
How to smudge for protection/cleansing?
Here are 3 important points to bear in mind as you smudge your space.
1. Hold a focused intention
When performing a smudging ritual, you should hold your focused intention throughout the whole process. It may be helpful to meditate beforehand to calm your mind, or just take a few deep breaths to center yourself. You should never perform a smudging ceremony if you are angry or upset as this can offset the balance and actually make your situation worse!
2. Use all four elements while smudging
Before you begin any smudging ritual, you should open a few windows to allow the smoke to escape (carrying with it your negative energies). Then light your smudge stick or herbs over a bowl. You can also clean and vacuum the area, or take a bath if it is to cleanse yourself. Traditional smudging ceremonies use all four of the earth’s elements, which are thought to increase the power of the ritual. Luckily, this is fairly simple to do:
Fire: the lighter or candle that you use to light the herbs
Earth: the smudging stick
Air: the smoke that is created when the smudging stick has been lit. You can also use a feather to fan the smoke.
Water: many people opt to use an abalone shell as the bowl, which represents this element.
3. Say a prayer as you cleanse
When the smudge stick is lit, walk around the area you wish to cleanse to ensure the purifying energies reach into every corner. Don’t forget to say your prayer at this point. Once the smudging is complete, it is a good idea to sit and inhale the positive energy you have created.
What to smudge with for protection?
Traditionally, white sage is the herb of choice for smudging rituals as it is famed for its cleansing and purifying properties. However, there are a few other options you can consider:
Cedar: Traditionally used for protection and grounding rituals, this herb is very slow-burning which makes it an excellent choice for smudging.
Palo Santo wood: This is perhaps the second most popular smudging choice, after white sage, and is often referred to as ‘holy wood’. Research shows that Palo Santo has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which help to cleanse a room physically and spiritually.
Lavender: This herb is famed for its calming properties and attractive scent. Use this herb to bring calm and serenity into your space.
What is the best time to smudge?
You can perform a smudging ritual for protection at any time of day, depending on your unique circumstances. For instance, you can smudge after you have just had visitors to your home, or any time you are feeling stressed. Intervals between smudging ceremonies can vary too, from weekly to every few months – the choice is yours!
However, many smudging ceremonies are aligned with the phases of the moon as this is believed to enhance the effects. For instance, smudging on the new moon is believed to help with new beginnings or new projects. The waning moon is excellent for banishing negativity or bad habits.
Summing it up
Smudging is a practice that has been carried out for centuries, and for good reason! Whether you want to improve your feelings of self-worth or heal a rift in your family, smudging prayers can help to focus your intent and bring a sense of calm and positivity into your life.