5 Alternatives to Using Sage and Smoke to Cleanse and Purify
Most purifying rituals involve the burning of sage and use of its smoke to cleanse. However, there are many reasons why it might not work for someone to burn sage as a form of cleansing and purification. Perhaps open flames or smoke aren’t allowed where you live, or maybe you or someone you live with is allergic to sage or sensitive to smoke. Regardless of your reasons, I’ve got plenty of alternatives for you to play with.
The five alternative cleansing tools covered here are:
- Fragrances and sprays
- Salt and herbs
1. Fragrances and Sprays
One popular alternative to smoke is the use of various sprays. In fact, there are many 'Smudge Sprays' available for purchase. If you prefer, you can easily make your own spray using a small glass spray bottle, some water and a few drops of your favorite purifying oil or blend. Although regular tap water works great, you can make your spray even more magickal by using Moon Water or collected rainwater.
To perform a cleansing ritual with your spray, simply spritz it around your house or a room that needs cleansing. Start with the main door used for entering and exiting, then move either clockwise or counterclockwise—it depends on what feels right to you. Move around the whole space and end at the door you began with.
With multi-level homes or spaces, you can begin on the lowest floor and work your way up to raise the energy, or begin at the top floor and work your way down to ground the energy. It all depends on what you feel the space is most in need of.
To cleanse yourself or your tools, you can spritz yourself and any of your magickal tools—provided they won’t be damaged by some water. For rituals with groups, you can spritz the participants as a form of pre-ritual purification or as they enter the ritual space. And, of course, you can spritz the ritual space as a cleansing as well.
Another way to purify a space using fragrance is with a diffuser. Again, you can fill this with regular tap water, Moon Water, rainwater, Florida Water, etc. Add your favorite oil or oil blend, and use the diffuser to cleanse the entire area with its magickal mist.
If your diffuser is battery operated, you can also carry it around your circle or ritual area to cleanse and purify the space before a working or ritual.
Oil Blends That Purify, Bless, and Protect
Frankincense & Lavender
Sandalwood & Frankincense
Lavender & Rosemary
Sage & Cedar
Rosemary & Mint
Lavender, Eucalyptus, & Tea Tree
Lemon & Rosemary
Frankincense, Clove, & Bay
Rosemary, Bay, Juniper
Frankincense & Myrrh
Sandalwood & Lavender
Lemon, Bay & Pine
Sandalwood, Cedar & Lavender
Lemon & Eucalyptus
Myrrh, Bay, & Clove
Always use caution when using essential oils around pets and children.
Another easy way to purify is with flame. Some card readers like to have a candle burning to burn away any unwanted energy while they read tarot or oracle cards.
You can also light a candle and walk it around your home just as you would with sage. You can also pass your magickal items and tools over a flame to cleanse and purify them. You may wish to say a cleansing chant such as the one below as you perform the ritual.
“Element of Fire,
Hear my desire;
Cleanse me/this space/name of item/etc
Of all Negativity.
So Mote it Be."
If you're outdoors, you can also use a bonfire or campfire as a means to purify. It can be as small or as big as your space will safely allow. Simply sitting silently by a fire is a very purifying act. You can even allow yourself to slip into a subtle, trance-like state while gazing at the flame. Scry into the fire as well if you like. When we take time to fully cleanse ourselves by the fire, we will often see more when we scry after. Fire purifies those around it as well as the surrounding space.
We also see this concept of Fire as a purifying agent in the Wiccan Wheel of the Year—the eight solar holy days or sabbats. Each sabbat is also a Fire Festival that emphasizes the purifying and releasing of any ills (mental, emotional, physical, energetic, etc.) from the previous cycle.
3. Water and Asperging
Similar to sprays, water or saltwater can also be used to purify a space through asperging. You can use plain tap or bottled water that you’ve blessed, Moon Water, rainwater or any other magickal water you feel is appropriate. You can leave it plain, or add a pinch or two of salt or some fresh or dried herbs. You can even make a tea of purifying herbs and use that.
Some teas will stain, so you may not wish to use those on your furniture, car interior, clothing, etc.
Asperging differs from using a spray because it is a ritual performed with a bowl, cauldron or chalice filled with water. You then use your fingers or an herb bundle to sprinkle the water. Again, you can sprinkle the water around your space in the same way you would use sage to smudge. Begin and end with the main door you use to enter and exit.
You can also asperge yourself or another person. If sprinkling water on one another doesn’t feel appropriate, you can also use the water to anoint the head, the palm of the hands and/or feet. This can be done prior to a ritual or as its own purifying act.
You can also sprinkle any magickal tools or items you wish to cleanse and bless— just be sure they can get wet without being damaged. Some crystals and jewelry shouldn’t get wet, and you may not want to get your cards wet. In these cases, you can simply pass the item over the bowl of water as the cleansing blessing. You can also leave a bowl of cleansing water in a space you wish to purify. Ask the Element of Water to absorb any and all negativity. When you feel it has done its job, dispose of the water (down a drain, toilet or outside), and thoroughly wash the bowl, cauldron or chalice you used.
4. Salt and Herbs
You can use salt on its own, or you can mix it with dried herbs. Use it in a bowl or as a floor powder. Floor powders are magickal blends that are sprinkled on the floor and then swept up and out, or vacuumed up. You can use them to create a purification sigil, magickal symbol or mandala on the floor.
Ground herbs tend to work best for this, so, if you have a mortar and pestle, you may wish to grind your herb and salt blend first. However, some herbs—like lavender buds—can be used either whole or ground. Whether or not you grind up your herbs is totally up to you, what herbs you're using, what you're cleansing and what feels right to you. Follow your intuition and common sense.
Just like the bowl of water in the previous section, you can leave a bowl of salt or salt blend in a particular area—such as a room or entry way of your home—as a means of absorbing negativity. When you feel it has done its job, dispose of the salt outdoors, down a drain or even in the trash if needed.
You can also bury an object in your salt or salt blend to rid it of energy you don’t want it to retain. If you’re worried the object could be damaged by the salt, wrap it in a cloth first. Black is a good color choice for this, but white also works as it’s an all-purpose color.
Some Purifying Herbs
There are many different ways to use sound to purify and cleanse. Singing bowls, bells, music, tuning forks, songs and chanting are all fabulous examples. Just as before, you would walk around your space with your instrument (remember your own voice is an instrument as well), and sound it at each entrance, door, drain and mirror as you move around the space you are cleansing.
When using bells or chimes for cleansing, it’s helpful to use an odd number of chimes such as one, three, five, seven, etc., then repeat. With a singing bowl, you would get the sound going and then begin moving around your space. You can do the same with people, your car and/or your magickal tools.
Another way sound can be used in purification practices is through frequencies. One reason magick works is because all things are made up of energy. That energy vibrates at different frequencies, and through sound we are able to physically experience these vibrations with our auditory sense.
Each frequency of sound vibrates in a way that connects to a specific energy. This connection can be utilized to bring that energy into your space or yourself. Below is a list of various frequencies and their corresponding energies. You can find most of these frequencies online and can simply play them through your phone, computer, bluetooth, etc. If using your phone, you can ‘smudge’ yourself or others by playing a specific frequency and using your phone the same way you would a sage wand. Back and forth, up and down, turn around and repeat. You're just using sound instead of smoke.
Frequencies and the Energies They Invoke
Influences Energy Field
Liberates you from Fear & Guilt
Miracle Tone of Nature
Attracts Soul Tribe
Connect With Light and Spirit
As you can see, there are a myriad of ways you can cleanse your space, self, others, car and/or magickal tools beyond just burning sage.
Keeping yourself, your space and your magickal tools cleansed and purified is an important practice, especially for energetically sensitive people. Whether you like to purify as part of a Full or Dark Moon working or just do it regularly on its own, I hope this list inspires you to create and expand your own purification practices.
Questions & Answers
© 2019 Jennifer Jorgenson