At this point you have the “why” of sage smudging (if not, read here).
Let’s talk about the “how.” Traditionally, here’s what you need:
* Light the sage with the fire then tamp out the actual flame so that it is simply smoldering.
* Hold the abalone shell under the sage to catch any ash.
* Use the smoke to clear the energy around your body by fanning it toward your self with the feather. They do make gorgeous feather fans for this, if you want to get fancy.
* Pass the smoke up your chakra, over your hands, under your feet. You can have a friend smudge your back.
* Inhale the smoke and, as you breath out, envision anything you want to release energetically.
It’s courteous to not watch as other people are smudging themselves. Think of it as an energy bath, which would make watching a bit voyeuristic!
Why these particular tools?
This is totally my take on this, and I am sure I’ll be called out by someone! But here goes:
When you are doing ceremony, it is traditional to call the elements: earth, air, water, and fire as a way of connecting yourself to the energies of nature.
This particular set of tools represents all the elements:
Sage: grows in the Earth
Abalone Shell: a gift of the sea = Water
Feather: represents Air
Fire… you got it!
What if I don’t have all this stuff?
* If you don’t have White Sage, use Garden Sage (Salvia officinale) which was used for clearing in the temples of the Middle East and Mediterranean regions.
* If you don’t have any feathers, make a paper fan.
* If you don’t have an abalone shell, use any other shell (go with my favorite: a cast iron skillet!).
Remember, its’ all about intention. Don’t get hung up on the tools!