View Full Version : Smudge or Incense?

07-02-2009, 07:36
I have been reading how to cleanse a Tarot deck and Smudge in mentioned a lot on various sites.

What is the difference between Smudge and Incense?
Is it like the difference between using fresh herbs or dried herbs in cooking?

Also I live in a rented appartment with a smoke detector in near every room, I am OK with the odd incense stick, how much smoke does smudge give off?

morticia monroe
07-02-2009, 08:18
Hi Penfold,

I burn incense on occasion, but have never burned smudge. I am also curious about the smoke issue with that.

07-02-2009, 08:30
To me smudge and incense are very different. Incense has a tendency to smell more fruity, perfumy or exotic, and is often used to create a certain atmosphere, as well as being used ritualistically. Smudge, at least the ones I have smelt, smell like pot. It is earthy, but not what I consider super herbal. I have an herb garden and when you brush your hands across the leaves you get this lovely old fashioned smell. Burning it is different. Both give off smoke. Smudge tends to be used more for ritual cleansing and purifying. One's home, oneself, certain objects, etc. While you can also do that with incense, I rarely see someone burn a whole bunch of smudge at one time. They usually use it and then tap it out until next use. More often an entire stick of incense is burnt at one time.

Because of the choice of smell and simplicity, I prefer incense over smudge, but if possible, I would go to a New Age store and see if they are burning either. See what you like or don't like before committing. There are also a lot more choices and brands of incense to choose from than smudge, but it is all personal choice.

Briar Rose
07-02-2009, 09:51
You need to open a window or door to let out the negative energy with incense or a smudge stick. Smudge sticks won't leave that lingering
sweet n' nasty residue pot leaves.

Usually when I smudge I burn a ton of it at one time, going through each room, opening doors and windows telling all negative energy to leave. I also clap my hands together walking about the rooms to move any energy around.

Sometimes it's not so much negative energy one feels but stagnet.

A priest burns incense in a burner, walking up and down the church as a cleansing.

Let us know what you try. Good luck on your new adventure.

07-02-2009, 13:07
The way I think of it, "smudge" is a verb, though it can also refer to the herbs you use for smudging. You smudge something by burning sage or some other sacred herb and, in the case of a deck of cards, "bathing" it in the smoke. Generally you use just one herb in its natural, dried form, though smudge sticks can sometimes contain other herbs.

Incense is a noun and is usually a blend of herbs and sometimes oils in their natural form or in a stick or cone. An incense made of sage and cedar, for example, could be considered both incense and smudge.

Smudging is usually done with sage, but can also include cedar and lavender, possibly sweetgrass. These four herbs are considered sacred, especially in Native American traditions. I don't know of other herbs commonly used for smudging. It is usually done to "clear" a space, thing or person or to purify. I've heard that sage clears a space of negative energies and sweetgrass brings in positive energies.

In my experience smudging doesn't usually put off more smoke than an incense stick. When I visit hotels I usually smudge the room and it never sets off the smoke detectors.