Some practitioners believe every ritual tool should be cleansed before its first use and also be cleansed occasionally to remove residual energies. You can cleanse your tools by smudging, by using salt or salt water, or by grounding them in the earth. If you are an energy healing practitioner, such as Reiki, you can also use this energy to cleanse your ritual tools.
Various Methods of Cleansing:

Smudging -
burning sage or other incense and sweeping it around the home or person while visualizing negative energy leaving.

Sweeping -
with a magickal broom you can sweep the negative energy out of a home. 

Salt and Water-
Salt is a very cleansing mineral. adding a pinch of salt to a cup of water, you visualize it purifying the water. You would then move around your home, or person, sprinkling it with the mixture and imagining the negative energy being washed away.

Bells or chimes -
the sound of bells or chimes can break up old energy and when paired with visualization can clear away old energy.

Spells and Rituals-
there are many spells and rituals to help cleanse people, objects, and homes.

Simple Cleansing
Place a cup of water in front of you. Take a pinch of salt between your thumb and forefinger. Hold the salt over the water and close your eyes. Visualize the salt glowing with white light. It is an element of purity. As you trickle the salt into the water imagine the salt infusing the water with its purifying qualities. Its power spreads through the water making it pristine. Open your eyes. Using your finger tips dip them into the water. Go into the space that needs clearing. Pull your finger tips from the water and scatter the droplets of water over the area. Inhale and as you exhale feel the energy of the room shift. Visualize the water's energy driving away the clogged, stagnant energy. Do this for every room or for the people in need of cleansing.
Cleansing leaves the energy of a person or place clean. It is cleared of excess or negative energies, but can become cloudy again over time. If you cleanse a home it is usually recommended that a protection spell be cast or a protection charm be placed in the space to hold off unwanted energy until the next cleansing. The same can be done for a person.

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. You may wish to invite the spirit of the herbs to join you and guide and assist with your intention.

A candle flame is recommended to light the smudge stick as it may take a little time to get the stick smoking. Once there's a flame blow it out so that the smudge stick is smoldering, not burning. Blow or wave the flame with your hand to put out the fire. Allow the smudge stick to smolder, freeing the smoke to circle in the air.

Smudging yourself

Fan the swirls of smoke around your body from head to toe. You may want to especially focus on areas where you feel there are blockages or where there has been or is physical, emotional, or psychic pain. Imagine the smoke lifting away all the negative thoughts, emotions and energies that have attached themselves to you. If you are feeling depressed for instance you could visualize the smoke carrying away all your feelings of depression.

Smudging another

It is often appropriate to smudge guests as they enter the space at a ritual, ceremony or special event. Smudge as if you were smudging yourself, fanning the smoke all over their body. You may want to speak an intention or a suggestion for the smudging as you do it. For instance "Allow the sacred smoke to cleanse your body and spirit and bring you present and available into this moment"

Smudging a room or space

Light the smudge stick and walk about the perimeter, giving special attention to the corners and the places behind doors. You can also fan the smoke throughout the room with a large feather.

During healing work

During healing work, the smoke may be fanned over the person either by your hand or with feathers. This clears out unhealthy energies and brings in the special attributes of the herbs. You may also direct smudge to each of the person's chakras and as you do so visualize each chakra coming into balance as it is purified by the smudge.

Cleansing crystals or other objects

Hold the objects to be purified in the smoke or fan the smoke over them. If you are clearing your crystals prior to programming them thank both them and the smudge stick for helping you to realize your goals.

Extinguishing the smudge stick

Have ready a fireproof receptacle such as a shell or a glass or ceramic dish to put the smudge stick in when you've finished. It's ideal to damp the stick out in sand, or earth or you can just press it against the bottom of the receptacle. Always make sure that a smudge stick is out before leaving the room where you keep it.

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Cleansing and Smudging