There are many, MANY ways to go about cleansing; however, not every method is suitable for every application. For example, using water to cleanse a delicate crystal could result in the crystal being damaged. Smoke cleansing a room where you parakeet lives would be incredibly dangerous to your pet. Each method has a time and place where it will be safest and most effective and it’s imperative that you choose your method wisely.
Smoke cleansing, also called recaning, is the process of cleansing a room, an object, or yourself with smoke. Often sage is the go-to but incense, cedar, palo santo, and many other herbs can also be used for this purpose.
The process of smoke cleansing is fairly simple. Light your herb bundle and blow out any flames so that it is smoldering. Waft smoke over the object, over your body, or around the room, allowing the smoke to break up stuck or unwanted energies and transform them back into neutral, free flowing energy.
It’s important to note that while many practitioners mistakenly use the term, witches to not use smudging. This term refers to a very specific practice of smoke cleansing that is exclusive to Native American cultures. Not only is it inappropriate to pilfer their vocabulary, it would be inaccurate to say that our smoke cleansing practices resemble anything like the practice of smudging. They are simply not the same.
Another important consideration when using this method is the health of your pets. Dogs and cats are likely to be ok as long as they're not too close to the smoke and the room is well ventilated (open a window!) but small pets should NEVER be exposed to smoke of any kind. Rodents, birds, and reptiles have very small lungs and can suffer health repercussions from even small amounts of smoke, if you have pets of this variety it's best to use another form of cleansing!
There are many ways to cleanse with water. Bathing, washing an object or letting something soak are all excellent ways to remove unwanted energies. Another option is to fill a spray bottle with charged water and mist a room with it. Always be careful that whatever you place in water will not harm the object or you if you come into contact with the water. Some herbs, stones, and crystals can be very toxic when placed in water.
Burying an object in salt or soil for 12-24 hours can remove unwanted energies. If you bury something in soil I would suggest doing so in a container (a pot or bowl) so that the item doesn’t become lost accidentally.
Moonlight and sunlight can be used to both cleanse and charge objects depending on your intent. Often in these cases taking the moon phase or season into account is necessary as these things can affect the resulting energy that the item takes on.
Bells, drums, tambourines, and rainmakers are all capable of removing unwanted energetic residue. This method is particularly good for large spaces and can be combined with dancing for added effectiveness. I hang bells on my front door so that my home stays cleansed and my own energies are given a boost every time I leave or return home.
Some crystals can be used for cleansing. Smokey quartz and citrine are both quite effective and they do not hold onto energies so they never need cleansing themselves!