Smoke Cleansing

When most people walk into my home, I watch them drop their shoulders, inhale, and smile. It’s like they just walked into a sanctuary or spa. Even with my small dogs barking their greetings, my guests seem to relax almost immediately. Clients, friends, and family have repeatedly commented on how calm and peaceful they feel in my home. My house is not outwardly calm, between the dogs barking, the three teenagers, the robot vacuum choking on a sock, the game blaring on the TV, and the dishes in the sink, you might be thinking, “CHAOS!”. Sure, those things could be chaotic, and yet, my guests feel perfectly at ease. This is because my home is smoke cleansed regularly, and strongly energetically protected. 
Have you ever walked into a home that just felt heavy, dark, or gave you the heebeegeebees? Are there places that just feel off to you? I remember having a sleepover at a friend’s house in 6th grade, and her house just felt uncomfortable. I never slept over again, but as an adult, I visited her home, and it still felt off. Almost like I was cold, even though it wasn’t cold at all. This really struck me because as a tween, I didn’t think much about it, I just recognized my discomfort. As an adult, I recognized the same feelings I had felt all those years ago. I felt validated but also concerned. I wondered why her house felt so uncomfortable. I wish I had the tools then that I have now because I would have offered to smoke cleanse her house.
All spaces carry energy, whether it’s a home, office, bathroom, church, hospital, school, park, or alleyway. The energy may be so subtle that you don’t feel anything at all, or it may be strong. It can be strong in a positive, or peaceful way, and it may be strong in a negative or even scary way. Just as human beings have the capacity to take on other people’s energy, most commonly noted in empaths, this whole world experiences energetic imprinting. We don’t have to suffer from the intensity or even minimal low vibe energy. In my last blog, “Protect Yourself, Your Home, and Your Peace”, I shared ways to create energetic barriers for your personal aura. Today I want to dive into doing the same for your home. 
Smoke Cleansing is an ancient tradition that has been used in many cultures throughout history and is still a common practice today. We are familiar with Indigenous people in America who use smoke to not only cleanse but also open portals to the spirit world, however, burning herbs to promote cleansing and spiritual connection has been practiced since ancient times all over the world. Biblically God commands the use of incense as early as Exodus, and the wise men who came to witness the infant Jesus after his birth brought frankincense and myrrh as offerings, two herbs that are still used to smoke cleanse and protect to this day. Egypt has been known to burn herbs to purify their homes and help the inhabitants to sleep well. Temples across China and Asia have burned herbs, such as mugwort to support emotional wellness. Africa and India have both been known for smoke cleansing as well. Even Australian Aboriginals and Islanders use different herbs to cleanse with smoke. European witches were put to death for using herbs as salves, remedies, and smoke cleansing. 
You may be wondering if Smoke Cleansing is cultural appropriation. It is a highly controversial subject. As witches, it is important to touch on this subject as we strive to be as ethical as possible. I do not intend to lecture anyone, however, I do find that skirting around it just because it’s uncomfortable is privileged and disrespectful. I have shouted from the rooftops about the injustices to witches, and the 13 million women who were tortured, kidnapped, and murdered by drowning, hanging, burning, and countless other insidious ways. Therefore I would be remiss to skirt over the 56 million indigenous men, women, and children who were brutally murdered in the Americas by European settlers. This was a successful holocaust. Hideous extermination of human beings, their religions, customs, and culture. It’s truly tragic. 
“Smudging” is a term used by Indigenous people for smoke cleansing. While Smoke Cleansing is not exclusive to Indigenous people, the term “Smudge” is. The other issue we run into is that many people use white sage to smoke cleanse because of its magical properties, and popularity. Smudging, and all Indigenous religious practices were banned in the United States until 1978. This type of oppression is abhorrent, and the reason it is argued that it is inappropriate for non-natives to adopt these customs. I have made this error myself, and until recently I used the term “Smudge” when discussing Smoke Cleansing, not realizing that the word is not for me to use. In addition, I have used white sage to smoke cleanse, however, this sage was picked wild for me by a dear friend who is Indigenous and has been one of my beloved teachers. I felt panic in regards to using white sage, but just as my dear friend invited me to a Sweat Lodge, I was informed that being invited, and gifted these items and experiences means that in these circumstances I have the honor of participating in these sacred rituals. It would, however, be inappropriate for me to buy and burn sage, just as it would be inappropriate for me to create a Sweat Lodge, according to my Indigenous friends. In addition, white sage has been over-harvested, and therefore it is unethical to purchase unless you can guarantee that it has been sustainably harvested. 
So what is acceptable to burn while smoke cleansing? First, I would suggest feeling deeply into yourself, your practices, and your ancestral roots. Due to my modgepodge of ancestry, I have looked into the cultures of my bloodline ranging from Ashkenazi Jew to Swedish, to Scottish, Irish, French, German, and Brazillian. For most of my life, I only had a real connection to my Jewish lineage, so I chose to start there. A quick Google search can help you to discover herbs and other powerful plants that your ancestors may have used. 
Others believe that it is most ethical to choose to use herbs that grow native to the area where you live, on the basis that the energies where you live are more connected to the plants that naturally grow in that region. Ultimately it is up to you to feel into what speaks to your heart and keeps you aligned. Lavender, rosemary, cedar, mugwort, and juniper are all effective alternatives to white sage, or palo santo.
Smoke Cleansing is a tried and true method for dispersing negative, stagnant, or stale energy. It’s surprisingly simple, but a somewhat tedious task when performed with intention. You will find that different cultures have different rituals. I encourage you to do your own research and find a ritual that feels good to you. Personally, my preference for Smoke Cleansing whenever the energy in my home feels heavy, or tense, as well as after we have had guests, is two rounds of smoke cleansing, using two different herbs. The first to banish the old or negative energy, and the second to fill my space with fiercely protective love. I begin by opening everything, all the windows and doors, and each and every cabinet, and closet. I bless and command the first herb by saying “I command you to banish all negative, unwanted, and unhealthy energy from this space, and so it is.” then light my herbs in a bowl or heatproof container, and begin at my front door. I use a small broom or hand fan, and wave the smoke, moving the bowl counterclockwise (to banish), I walk counterclockwise through the entrance of my home, fanning the smoke from top to bottom, making sure not to miss corners, and other hidden places, like underneath desks and shelves. I continue this way, moving from room to room, always starting from the entrance, and paying special attention to enclosed spaces, like cabinets. Afterward, I command my second herb (which is often some type of flower) by saying, “I command you to fill this space with fierce protective love, and repel any and all negative or unwanted energy from this space.” Then I begin again, only this time I move clockwise to bring in positive loving energy. Love is my “religion”, so I choose to use love as my protector, and nurturer. If you have a special connection to specific deities, you can call on them as you command your herbs. 
After I have Smoke Cleansed the entire house, I light a candle to seal the deal, then close all the doors, windows, and cabinets. Before lighting this candle, I meditate on its purpose, and command it to bring calm, gentle, loving, and protective energy into my home, and anoint it with specific essential oils. Any candle will do, as long as it has never been burned before. Unless you have designated a larger candle for this purpose, in which case, you would still meditate on its purpose before lighting the candle, and rather than blowing it out, I suggest snuffing it out. 
There are many practices for smoke cleansing, we would love to hear yours! And don’t forget that you can smoke cleanse any item that comes into your home, as well as your vehicles! For more on protecting your home with symbolism, check out my previous blog, “Protect Yourself, Your Home, and Your Peace”.

@justinethewitch (she/her) is an eclectic witch who specializes in Shadow Work and Tarot reading, she refers to herself as a “Tarotpist” and a “Word Witch”. Her love for writing and passion to heal spiritual abuse has been the catalyst for her activism and her craft.

by Justine Lieberman

We lock our doors, set alarms, double-check the windows, and charge our Ring doorbells, but how do we protect ourselves and our homes Magickally?  As witches, our first line of defense is our craft.  It’s important to match our “3D” defenses with our cosmic defenses.  Adding just a few energetic barriers to yourself and your home will not take much time or money, but it will help you to protect your peace.

Beginning with yourself, daily shielding and weekly cleansing will make a huge difference in your energy, productivity, and patience.  Each time we walk out of our front door, send an email, or post on social media, we are potential targets for the low vibe, energetic vampires, curses, hexes, and evil eyes.  Most muggles (and many witches) are unaware they are casting spells left and right.  All of our thoughts and intentions, even subconsciously, carry magick.  The potential to bless or curse is in a split second.  When someone cuts you off while driving, when a customer is rude, or when you see a stunning woman standing in her power, consider what feelings float through you.  You may be an innocent victim of someone else’s jealousy, bitterness, or anger.  You may be sending out jealousy, bitterness, or anger.  These little curses happen instantaneously, and we often don’t realize we have sent them out, or that we have been on the receiving end.  Sometimes you can tell that you have an evil eye on you when you notice that you feel more sluggish, have trouble sleeping, can’t get enough sleep, have out-of-character impatience, or lack of motivation.  These curses attach to your aura and drain you.  Have no fear, you already have some simple and effective remedies in your home.

Salt baths are one of my go-to suggestions when someone suspects they may have an evil eye. I recommend blessing your salt, and setting an intention.  “I command you to absorb all negative energy, evil eyes, hexes, and curses, and return to sender.  And so it is.”  Soak for at least 15 minutes, and be sure to submerge your entire body, head to toe, at least once.  Pull the plug, and watch the water drain, banishing all the negativity that has been pulled from you.  If you don’t have a bath, you could create a salt scrub and use the same incantation as above.  I prefer to scrub starting from my head, and down my body to my toes.  You may prefer to start from your toes and work upward.  I have heard varying preferences.  Play drumming, chanting, chimes, or high vibe music as you soak or scrub, as certain tones are healing.  Music works wonders to shake off negative vibes, particularly music that includes mantras, prayers, or sacred sounds, like Om.

Shielding and mirror armoring are important as a daily practice.  Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, become present and grounded, then imagine mirrors all around your body.  Say, “I repel and banish all negative, low vibe, unwanted energy, and return to sender. And so it is.”  Mirrors are reflective, so your energetic mirrors will bounce back any unwanted energy, protecting you from energetic leeches.  You may write this spell on a post-it, or directly on your mirrors at home.  This will serve as a reminder to shield and will continue working, it is called “spelling” for a reason.  Written words carry power, too!  There are many other options to cleanse and shield yourself such as egg cleansing, smoke cleansing, reiki, crystals, and talismans.  Find what feels good for you.

Now that you are protected, let’s focus on your home.  First, weekly smoke cleansing is extremely helpful.  The smoke clears out old, stale, unwanted, and negative energy that may be trapped in your home.  I recommend two rounds, the first to banish, and the second to fill your space with peaceful, joyful, loving, and fierce protective energy.  You may want to light a white or black candle to ensure lasting protection when you are finished.

“Sometimes you can tell that you have an evil eye on you when you notice that you feel more sluggish, have trouble sleeping, can’t get enough sleep, have out-of-character impatience, or lack of motivation.  These curses attach to your aura and drain you.”

Justine the Witch

After smoke cleansing, place a bowl of salt in the room that people spend the most time in.  You may also add a bowl of salt to each room.  Salt absorbs negative energy and is highly protective. You may also sprinkle salt along your window sills and pour a thicker line outside your front door.  Do not underestimate the power of salt!  I suggest replacing the salt once a week on trash day.  You won’t want the negative salt to stay in your home, so trash day ensures that it’s taken far from you.  I like to do my big cleansings, as well as mopping the house (with added protective salt!), and salt replacements the night before trash day, so all of the unwanted energy and actual gunk is cleaned up, and out of my house.  Witches’ black salt is potent and works wonders when you really need to amp up your protection, just be wary of where you use this salt, as it may be toxic to children and animals.

Keeping crystals like black tourmaline and obsidian on the four corners of your home, or each room will aid in keeping you and your psyche protected.  Selenite is helpful to keep under the four corners of your bed to continuously cleanse and maintain harmony, as well as manage nightmares.  Salt and selenite lamps help to cleanse the air and the negativity from your space.  You may also wear crystals as jewelry, keep them in your pockets and/or your bra to help keep your vibrations raised, which will aid in repelling negative energy.  All of the items listed above should be cleansed regularly.  Moon baths, salt baths, or smoke cleansing will do the trick.

I have been cursed, and recently broke a pretty intense curse by moving.  I know it’s drastic, but anyone who knows where you live, or has stepped foot into your home, has the power to focus negative energy on you and your household.  We can’t all just pick up and move, and to be fair, I hadn’t wanted to, but the Goddess had other plans, and blessed be, she knew what was best!  You do not have to move to break curses.  If you have low vibe people coming around, or you know someone has animosity towards you, I would recommend adding some decorative, but potent symbolism, talismans, or elementals to your home.  I keep a besom, bristle side up, behind my front door as well as behind my bedroom door.  Mine are cinnamon-scented brooms you can find during holidays, and the scent fades, don’t worry!  You can also hang one over your door with the bristle side facing the direction your door opens.  Brooms are believed to sweep away negative energy, protect, and bring luck!  In addition, I hang a small evil eye charm over each bedroom door, on my rearview mirror, and on my key chain for protection while traveling.  I also have a few decorative evil eyes that work with my home décor but serve a greater purpose.  I bless and anoint all objects that I place within my home, and give these items jobs.  You can anoint and energize any of your belongings, they don’t have to have been made for the purpose you set for them.  I also have decorative Hamsas, I am of Jewish descent, so I feel comforted by protective symbols of the Jewish people.  You may be interested in finding symbolism from your culture as well.

If you’re not comfortable using some of these items in your home, then you can always bless a protective oil such as rosemary or sandalwood, and anoint your doors and windows.  You may want to draw protective sigils like pentacles on your door, walls, and mirrors with your anointing oil.  I like to write spells on the back or the bottom of items in my home.  No one knows that they are surrounded by protection, peace, and love spells, but it never fails, each person who enters my home comments on how uplifted and calm they feel.

Remember that you, your loved ones, and your home are sacred, and protection and peace are important.  There are MANY ways to add layers of protection to your daily life.  These are all just suggestions based on my own practice.  Ask your grandparents if they remember their mothers muttering counter curses, pocketing sachets of herbs, tossing salt over their shoulders, growing lavender for luck, or walking backward after a broom fell.  Our cultures and our ancestries have stories to tell, and Magick spells.  Yours may look quite different.  The intent is where the Magick is.  Blessed be.

This blog post was brought to you courtesy of Coven Cloud user @JustineTheWitch. Justine (she/her) is a practicing eclectic witch who specializes in shadow work and Tarot reading, she refers to herself as a “Tarotpist” and “Word Witch”. Her love for writing and passion to heal spiritual abuse has been the catalyst for her activism and her Craft.

Protection Salt Scrub Recipe

  • 1 Cup Himalayan Salt
    • Choose coarse or fine based upon your skin sensitivity. The salt is most necessary for its protective properties.
  • ½ Cup Coconut Oil
    • Jojoba or Avocado are great alternatives
  • ½ teaspoon Vitamin E
    • Optional, but very good for your skin! You can use the Vitamin E capsules from the store. Just cut them open.
  • 6 Drops of Frankincense essential oil
    • Spiritual protection and overall wellbeing. It holds so much magickal ability that it is worth every penny!
  • 6 Drops of Cedarwood essential oil
    • Purifies and grounds the body. Purges negative energy.
  • 6 Drops of Rosemary essential oil
    • Spiritual purification, clears negative energy. It also gives everything a boost of speed!
  • 6 Drops of Sage essential oil
    • Gives spiritual protection by cleansing away any negative energies.

Measure the Himalayan salt into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Then scoop out the Coconut Oil and add to the salt and mix with your hands until combined. Take several minutes and visualize a white light of protection being infused into the scrub through your hands while you’re mixing. The heat from your hands will slightly melt the coconut oil enough to incorporate the ingredients together. Add each essential oil one at a time keeping in mind their properties from above as you mix. Add the contents into a sealable jar and use as needed.

@justinethewitch (she/her) is an eclectic witch who specializes in Shadow Work and Tarot reading, she refers to herself as a “Tarotpist” and a “Word Witch”. Her love for writing and passion to heal spiritual abuse has been the catalyst for her activism and her craft.