This article was originally written by Erin Magner for Well+Good.
For thousands of years, cultures around the world have believed that a person’s energy is like perfume—once you come in contact with someone else’s vibes, good or bad, they tend to linger for a while.
And just like a date’s overpowering cologne might require a hot shower to remove, the best way to rid your space of any negativity you’ve inadvertently tracked home is through a cleansing ritual called smudging.
Even if you’re unfamiliar with the ancient practice, you’ve probably seen smudge sticks—you know, those fat, leafy bundles of sage that are popping up in just about every cool wellness girl’s Instagram account. Many believe this potent plant has the power to shift energy into a calmer, happier state.
When I’m in a space after it’s been cleansed, I feel at peace, joyful, safe, energized, creative, and able to deeply rest.
One big fan of the practice is Maggie Harrsen, the Peru-based founder of Puakai Healing. “There’s a long history of Native Americans using sage to connect to the spirit world and cleanse the body and space of impurities before a ceremony,” she says. “The life force energy of its smoke penetrates deep into the ether and alters the vibration of a space, or living being, by absorbing any heavy, dense energy.” (From a hard science perspective, sage’s been proven to absorb up to 94 percent of airborne bacteria.)
According to Harrsen, everyone’s home can benefit from regular saging, and spring cleaning season is a great time to give it a try. “After smudging, your space will feel light and balanced,” she says. “When I’m in a space after it’s been cleansed, I feel at peace, joyful, safe, energized, creative, and able to deeply rest.”
In other words, it’s kind of like the metaphysical compliment to your Marie Kondo obsession.
Scroll down for a 3-step guide to performing a proper smudging ritual.