A big part of witchcraft is cleansing and charging. One of the biggest misconceptions and lies that spreads around the witchcraft community and those who deal in the supernatural is that smudging and cleansing are interchangeable terms, and they are not. Cleansing is using a tool such as burning an herb or direct sunlight to cleans an object, space, or spell. Smudging is a ceremony and is sacred and complex. It belongs to the indigenous tribes of North America and is not as simple as lighting up an herb(Burton, 2021).

Not only is the ritual of smudging sacred, it was also illegal for indigenous people to perform until the late 1970’s along with many other harmless religious ceremonies. It incorporates sacred herbs such as Palo Santo and White Sage, both sacred herbs that are necessary to the ritual, both are overharvested and stolen from native lands to sell in bulk on the internet to spiritual shops as “smudge kits” for people who will use them incorrectly. Burning sage is not necessarily smudging, but other types of sage, such as blue sage, would be better for cleansing and the environment(DeFino, 2019).

Link to Indigenous Tribes page

Burton, Nylah, and Jay Polish. “Is Burning Sage Cultural Appropriation? Here’s How To Smoke Cleanse In Sensitive Ways.” Bustle, 12 Feb. 2021,

DeFino, Jessica. “It’s Time to Rethink the ‘Trend’ of Burning Sage on Instagram.” Fashionista, 13 Nov. 2019,