Burning herbs or sage with the intent of clearing old energy is called smudging. Sometimes our homes feel heavy, dull or dirty although it is physically clean, this is a good time to renew the homes energy.
Energy shifts daily in our lives and also our homes. When we argue, exercise, work, clean, cook, just about all activities we partake within our homes release energy. As do guests when they come and go from our homes, even through we would love people to leave their negative or dull energy at the door, this is an impossible ask. If we don't take the time to cleanse and move the stagnant energy out of our homes, we become blocked and this lowers our vibrations and also the vibration of our home.
Start your smudging ritual by taking the time to think about and setting your intention. Your mantra could be something simple as "cleanse this space of negative energy, thoughts and intentions. Surround this space and everyone in it with positivity and white light". Your mantra should be something you would like for your home or space, something meaningful for you. This is your intention.
Open your windows and doors. I like to open one in each room. This allows the smudging smoke, bound toxic negative energy a way out.
Start at the entrance, which is where the negative energy generally comes into the home or space first. Wave your smudge stick clockwise, thinking and repeating your mantra, you don't have to say it aloud. Move in a clockwise direction around your home, working from room to room. Pay particular attention to the corners of the room, this is where stagnant negative energy accumulates. Don't forget the bathrooms, behind doors, closets, under stairs and any place where energy can get "stuck". We like to also take the time to smudge our crystals, like our homes, our crystals absorb energy that comes into contact with them. (Read more about cleansing crystals here)
Make sure you use your abalone shell (or heat proof bowl) to collect the ashes that fall. We keep these ashes until the next new moon or full moon and use them in our rituals. If its a new moon, we use them for setting new intentions - think of this as a rebirth; If its a full moon we use them to thank our guides for listening to our intentions and manifestations and know that we are letting go of all that is no longer serving our higher good. Then return these ashes to the Earth.
You will notice after you have smudged or sage cleansed, the air and energy within the space will feel lighter.
Ideally, we cleanse once or twice a week, especially after we have done a physical house clean, but sometimes life gets in the way and we don't get around to do it as often as we prefer. This is ok, do it as often as you feel is necessary. During cold and flu season, we sage almost daily especially if there is sickness in the home. Sage smudging can reduce air bacteria by 94%.
There is no right or wrong way to smudge, there is only your way. The more you take the time to clear the energy, you will find a way that resonates for you, as with the mantra, this is your intention, it doesn't have to be the same each time. It can be as generic or as specific as you like.