Clearing the Air


If you’re one of the millions of people obsessed with the hit Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, your apartment, house or condo could be looking super clean and organized. And while there’s a sense of pride and satisfaction that accompanies making your home cozy and inviting, what if something still seems “off” no matter how many beeswax candles, essential oils or fresh flowers you add to every room? Negative energy could be the culprit, lingering on for weeks or months after a visit from a frenemy, a spat with your ex, or some snarky comments from your mother-in-law. Toxic people can bring unwanted vibes to your place, so many are exploring the ancient art of burning herbs or “smudging” to cleanse and remove negative energy.

If smudging sounds a bit too New-Agey, the practice has been a part of Native American rituals for thousands of years when it was known as the Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing. Other cultures throughout the world from Europe to Asia also burned plants and incense to produce smoke for medicinal and spiritual benefits.

Modern-day smudging involves burning herbs such as sage, cedar, sweetgrass or lavender for purification and positive energy. Feng Shui experts routinely use it to harmonize environments while clean freaks and fans of personal smudging rituals say that burning certain plants removes harmful bacteria. Science supports this belief, as extensive research from 50 countries published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology found that medicinal smoke improves lung, brain and skin function while smudging cleared airborne bacterial populations by 94%. Further studies conducted a month after smudging found that pathogens originally detected in a room had remained undetectable.

Interested in giving this cleansing ritual a try? We talked to energy healer Lynn Jackson to get the scoop on smudging!

1847 Magazine: How do you practice smudging?

Lynn Jackson: As an energy healer, I use smudging for spiritual cleansing of a space, an object or a person by burning sacred dried herbs. I use it as part of a ritual to clear the atmosphere from any residual energy that may be lingering or causing stagnant air in the room. I do this ritual before and after any healing work.

1847: What types of herbs are used for smudging?

LJ: Most of the herbs that I use have antiseptic qualities, such as sage, thyme, and myrrh.

1847: Why is smudging useful for seasonal spring cleaning?

LJ: When dried herbs are burned, they release smoke that purifies the air.

1847: What are some circumstances that can be improved by smudging?

LJ: Some examples are that when burning thyme, the smoke is said to induce bravery. Myrrh’s is often burned to bring about purification of mind, energy, and space.

1847: Why is sage frequently used for smudging?

LJ: Smudging is traditionally done with sage to stimulate the mind and to receive visions from your ancestors.

1847: Do you make your own smudge sticks?

LJ: I make smudge sticks by binding a variety of sacred dried herbs together with twine, visualizing a specific healing intent as I create the handcrafted smudging sticks.

1847: How can we learn more?

LJ: Follow me on Facebook at Inside the Crystal Ball at


Read More From Issue 9 of 1847 Magazine