The term smudging is not a feng shui term. It comes from the Native American healing and shamanic traditions of working with energy. The most common herb used in smudging is the white sage; this is the scent most people associate with smudging. Sweatgrass and cedar have also been traditionally used in smudging ceremonies.
It is important to understand, though, that every culture has its own way of smudging, or using various herbs for clearing energy. So, to focus on the fact that feng shui (which originated in China) uses smudging (a Native American ceremony) is to miss the main point, which is healing one's being on all levels – physical, emotional and spiritual.
Feng shui in its essence is a deeply healing art because the main goal of feng shui is to strengthen human's well-being. Modern applications of traditional feng shui have embraced healing tools from many parts of the world. Smudging, or burning herbs for clearing negative energy, is one such tool that is often used in one's home or even office (usually not during busy office hours, of course!)
Smudging originated from a deep understanding of the way the energy works. Because energy is in constant motion, its positive and negative polarities can be easily guided with skillful tools and intent. Powerful herbs are one such tool.
In burning sacred herbs, the powerful energy of fire unleashes the potent healing energy of the plant to neutralize and purify any negative presence. This can be the negative energy in a place, such as a home, an office, or even a piece of land; or the negative energy surrounding a person, be it in thoughts, emotions, or actual manifestation as physical symptoms.
Smudging is usually done by lighting the tip of the smudge stick with a candle light, then gently waving it in the air till the tip begins to smolder. You can then guide the smoke coming from the smudge to specific parts of your house, or parts of your body. One needs a container for the smudge stick to keep the process safe.
Read: How To Smudge Your House, Your Office or Yourself
If smudging does not appeal to you, look into other ways of purifying the energy of your house.
Here are the most popular alternatives to smudging:
- Burning incense is a similar way to work with the healing and purifying energies of fire and herbs combined.
- Another way is to burn various resins, such as copal, myrrh, frankincense or piñon (you can buy these resins at most new age bookstores or on-line).
- Burn palo santo wood sticks. This is one of my favorite ways, in addition to white sage, cedar, and lavender. I found the aroma of this wood very powerful, as well as gentle and deeply invigorating.
In feng shui, smudging is most often used as part of space clearing sessions, which you can have as often as every week (simple space clearing), or several times a year (major space clearing).