Smudging vs Smoke Cleansing

Smudging vs Smoke Cleansing

Although smoke cleansing and smudging visually look similar, the intentions and purposes behind them are rather different. 
New Moon Spells Reading Smudging vs Smoke Cleansing 4 minutes Next Celebrating Samhain in 2024

You have likely heard the term 'smudging' and may have even googled 'how to use a smudge stick', however, smudging is distinctly Indigenous and is an important ceremonial purifying ritual/prayer practiced in many Native American Indigenous cultures.

Although smoke cleansing and smudging visually look similar, the intentions and purposes behind them are rather different. Whilst many cultures across the world have utilised sage for cleansing, it is important to know that smudging using indigenous herbs, particularly white sage, is a closed practice and is not actually solely for 'cleansing'. 

There are many useful alternatives to white sage we strongly encourage using for cleansing purposes.  

Smoke cleansing can be performed by anyone and is simply the act of burning a herbs, incense or resins and using the smoke to waft over and cleanse yourself, item(s) and/or area. You can smoke cleanse before spellwork, to cleanse your altar, space, crystals, tarot cards, yourself and anywhere throughout your home. 

Smoke Cleansing Methods

Smoke Cleansing Sticks

Smoke cleansing sticks are a popular method of cleansing as they are easy to use, long burning and transportable. You can make your own by gathering herbs from the wild (or your very own garden!), tightly bundle them together using natural twine and allow them to dry. There are also a wide range of sustainable pre-made smoke cleansing sticks you can buy that are ready to use. Below is a list of smoke cleansing sticks we ethically source and recommend using within your practice:


Incense sticks are the simplest tool for cleansing your space. These can be used similarly to smoke cleansing sticks where you waft the direction of smoke in your desired direction or around your item(s), or you can simply place them in an incense holder and allow the smoke to make its own way around your space. 

Incense cones can also be used and are more intense than incense sticks being able to fill bigger spaces. 

Loose Herbs or Resins

Simply burn loose herbs or resins by lighting a charcoal tablet to activate it (making sure you use tongs to protect your magickal lil' fingers) and place within a cast iron cauldron or incense burner, then place the loose herbs or resins on top of the activated charcoal tablet. You can then waft the smoke towards your desired direction. 

In addition to cauldrons and incense burners, abalone shells are also a fantastic tool for burning loose herbs and resins. The abalone shell is representative of the water element and you can use a thin layer of sand in the shell to further protect the shell during burning, which is also perfect for incorporating some sea magick into your ritual! Check out our Blue Sage with Abalone Shell and Desert Sage with Abalone Shell for smoke cleansing. 

With all the above methods mentioned, you can add in some incantations while cleansing. A simple one I like to say aloud while cleansing is: "Malicious energies, spirits and intentions must leave now."

Safe witches are clever witches, never leave a flame unattended and always be prepared to safely put out a fire if needed.

Tragic Beautiful has curated a collection of witchcraft supplies, tools, and books available here. Join our coven and learn more about magick! We'd love to see you on Facebook, in our VIP group, on insta and our TikTok!

Written by Melissa Belle, Tragic's Witchcraft Consultant. 

Continue reading