SMUDGING & SACRED MEDICINES
What is Smudging?
"Smudging is the common name given to the powerful cleansing technique derived from the Native American tradition; however, the burning of herbs for emotional, psychic, and spiritual purification is a common practice among many religious, healing, and spiritual traditions. It is a ceremonial way to cleanse a person, place or an object of negative energies or influences. It is also an effective method for energizing or blessing a person, place or object.
Smudging can be useful when you're in a negative frame of mind, or unwell. It is common to smudge yourself, the space and all the guests or participants before a ritual or ceremony or celebration. You can smudge your home or work space as part of a general spiritual housecleaning, and you can cleanse crystals or other objects of any negative or lingering energy with a smudging ritual".
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 in your mind. Smudging should be done with care, respect and in a positive attitude of love.
Before you begin, open a window or door. Place the herbs in an abalone shell or clay bowl and light (preferably with a wooden match). Carefully blow out the flame (be mindful not to blow the herbs too strongly or they will blow out of the shell/bowl). Take the smoke and either using your hands or a feather and fan it over your eyes, ears, brain and heart, fan the rest of your body. pay mind to bottoms of your feet as well, all the while holding positive intent. You may want to linger the fanning process on problem areas or where you feel there are energy blockages. Once you are finished smudging, and the herbs have burnt out, take the remainder of the ashes and give back to the earth...perhaps under a tree?!
Four Sacred Medicines
TOBACCO - is used to communicate with the spirit world and is often presented as an offering or gift, especially before collecting medicine herbs. It can also be used for smudging. A simple way to make a tobacco offering is to take a bit of tobacco, hold it in your left hand and say a prayer or thought of intent. Place tobacco somewhere in nature- in a fire or near a tree. When using tobacco, choose natural, raw tobacco either from a reservation smoke shop or a tobacconist.
SAGE- is used for releasing the mind of troubles and for ridding the space of negative energy. It can also be used to purify a space. There are many different types of sage, white sage or buffalo sage are the most common. It is best if you can pick it yourself (being sure to offer tobacco first), but you can always find it at a local pow wow, native gift shop or a health food store or online.
CEDAR- is used for purifying a person or place. White cedar can also be used in smudge. It is also often brewed into tea. You can also take a cedar bath if feeling unwell. Cedar is best if it is picked from nature (in your local area) or can be found online. If picking it yourself be sure to pick green tipped brances at eye level and leave a tobacco offering for the tree. Only take what you need.
SWEETGRASS- brings in good spirits and positive influences.. It is used for purification in smudging ceremonies. Sweetgrass is a tall wild fragrant grass that grows in areas of the Pacific Northwest and Southern Canada. sweetgrass once harvested is usually braided because it is thought to be the sacred hair of mother earth.