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Just a reminder: Heathenry does have a term for smoke-cleansing.

Recaning. To recan. (Or reocan, in Old West Saxon.) This is cleansing via smoke, whether through incense or a bundle of herbs put together for a particular type of cleansing. Juniper and mugwort are both favorites for this.

In case you’re wondering how to pronounce it, it sounds like reekening. The word “reeks” is actually derived from it, signifying a potent smell.

For Old Norse fans, this seems to be related to the work reykr. In case you were wondering, Reykjavik in Iceland translates to “Smoky Bay”.

*dances around the entire pagan community waving this post like a fucking banner* THANK YOU.

Just a little addendum: Mugwort can be dangerous due to mildly psychoactive properties in the herb. Use with caution and avail yourself of the following list of free-use alternatives:

  • Basil (any kind, noting that Sweet Basil smells the best)
  • Sage (any type, but keep in mind that White Sage is becoming endangered)
  • Rosemary
  • Peppermint
  • Lavender
  • Cedar Tips or Shavings
  • Thyme (especially Lemon)

In Norwegian it is traditionally called “røyking” (verb: “å røyke”), and juniper is the herb to go to. There are also certain combination of herbs that are used (3, 5, 7, 9, 13, 21 are the amounts of different herbs and incenses used). Some are homemade (called “smoke bundles” - and made similarly to American Native smudge sticks), others used to be bought at the apothecary’s (these were usually more like the grainy powders you can buy today). When you use the method against something specific you “smoke for” such and such. You can “smoke for trolls”, for instance, and - indeed - one specific and very popular mix from the apothecary’s was actually called “Troll incense” and contained 13 ingredients (incense = “røkelse”).

When mugwort is used in mixtures for smoking we use the dried root.

Addendum: That’s juniper as in Juniperus communis!

I forgot to address @breelandwalker’s little addendum properly:

Every herb or resin or what have you is used for very specific purposes. The plants you suggest have their uses - even for smoking - but some of them are anything but alternatives to juniper and mugwort!

When you smoke to cleanse, that’s what you want - smoke! And you want it to sting and smell! That’s smell like in stink; there is a reason why the modern English verb reek is cognate to the Old Norse verb reykja and the “New Norse” verb røyke (smoke). It’s supposed to make your eyes burn and your nose run. And it’s supposed to make noises!

If you think about it, when you use smoke to cleanse, you’re not freshening up your habitat to make it smell nice; you’re kicking troll arse. If you don’t find it unpleasant, you can bet your own arse the trolls won’t either. You can pull out the basil and the lavender to sweeten the air afterwards, as long as you’re aware they don’t have any tradition in heathen Northern Europe.

You’re also supposed to yell and shout and poke that burning juniper branch or bundle in all directions and tell the trolls off, that you burn out their eyes, that you put their children on fire!

You can smoke for nasty humans as well, and you can name them too, “You thieving neighbour Such and Such, who stole my tomatoes right off my plant by the fence! I put your unborn babies on fire, you thieving bastard! Shame on you, and shame on your descendants, stealing my family’s food! Take this and this and this!” Stab! Stab! Stab!

And, when you’re finished, you open doors and windows to let the smoke out along with the trolls, and you will sleep peacefully like a baby all night.

This ritual is to be performed three times in a row for full effect; either two Thursdays and one Sunday, or one Thursday and two Sundays.

And, to OP, why would you invent a new fake quasi-Germanic word for something you already have excellent words for in your native - and entirely Germanic - language? Besides, recan is already a word for something totally different.

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