The energy of white sage brings cleansing, protection and blessings into the space that it's burned in, and when sage is burned, it releases negative ions, which is linked to putting people into a positive mood. The Latin word for sage salvia stems form the word heal.
Cedar is first and foremost a medicine of protection. It is often used to cleanse a home when first moving in, inviting unwanted spirits to leave and protecting a person, place or object from unwanted influences. The smoke of burning cedar is said to attract the good spirits and eliminate negative energies.
How to Smudge: Any action undertaken with intention and belief can become a potent ritual, so consider your intention before you smudge and hold it clearly in your mind. Smudging should be done with care, with reverence and in an attitude of love.
A candle flame is recommended to light the smudge stick as it may take a little time to get the stick smoking. Once the stick is alight with flame, blow it out so that the smudge stick is smoldering, not burning - be careful not to blow ash everywhere.
Alternately, you can break up the leaves into small pieces and place them in a heat proof container and burn the leaves alone. A common dish to use is an abalone shell.
You can smudge yourself, a room or an entire building. Fan the smoke and allow it to swirl around the area intended. Use on areas where you feel there are blockages or where there has been or is physical, emotional, or spiritual pain. Imagine the smoke lifting away all the negative thoughts, emotions and energies that have attached themselves to you and your environment. If you are feeling depressed, for instance, you could visualize the smoke carrying away all your feelings of depression.
Smudging is often used to cleanse crystals for healing. Simply pass the crystal through the smoke and focus positive intention into the crystal.