There have been many instances when people feel uneasy about a place and or a new home. There are many negative energies and unclean atmosphere in some areas. Native Americans have been using locally found herbs to cleanse the place and cleanse themselves. A bad start of the day or a week can be converted into our favour with the help of smudging. With the proper respect and a sincere attitude, you too can enjoy the benefits and general self-improvement associated with a smudging ceremony.
Sage, cedar, sweetgrass and tobacco are considered as the Four Sacred Herbs by the Native Americans. Sage is found across North America, with white sage being the most potent and gray sage found in many northern areas where the gray will not over-winter. Cedar and sweet grass also are indigenous to this continent. Tobacco can be found in many forms; however for this ceremony Nicotiana Rustica, or a similar dried tobacco leaf, native to America is preferred.
It’s important to set a proper attitude and stage for the ceremony. A recording of Native American flute music may help to focus the thoughts. Set a time where one won’t be interrupted by people, telephones, or other distractions. The early part of the morning can be best to establish good feelings for the rest of the day. If one has had something troubling him throughout the day, perhaps a time late in the evening could help facilitate a relaxed night’s sleep. Some individuals use an elaborately carved smudge bowl, but a simple abalone shell or even a flat rock with a small centre indentation works as well. One may also select a feather to fan the smudge as the herbs are burned.
Sage, is burned to take away any negative lingering surrounding the home or a person. The sage has a strong, spicy aroma and “white sage” is the most concentrated and often used by shaman or a medicine man. It can remove negative thoughts, feelings, or a bad spirit associated with a person or place. Sage is associated with the western direction, and is believed to purify.
Cedar the fresh, piney smell of cedar is familiar to all who live in the North Woods or at higher elevations. The cedar is often gathered by the women of the tribe and is also burned to purify an individual and the area. Cedar refreshes and cleanses your home, your thoughts, and your purpose. It represents the southern direction and the soul. The scent, whether fresh or burned, is refreshing and clean – similar to the purpose of the plant.
Sweetgrass is often described as “the hair of Mother Earth.” The three parts of a sweetgrass braid represent the body, mind and spirit. North America is home to several varieties of sweetgrass, whose Latin name is “Hierochlöe odorata.” It may be presented as a gift, woven into baskets, and used to trim quill baskets and mats of birch bark. Sweetgrass, whether burned or fresh, has a wonderful vanilla scent and is thought to bring a positive influence to the area, your thoughts and feelings, and people. It’s said to bring “good spirits” and a happy atmosphere; indeed, sweetgrass’s pleasing scent puts everyone in an upbeat mood. Sweetgrass is associated with the North. As you complete your ceremony, each person should fan the sweet grass smoke, first to the heart, to the mind, around the body and finally, again return the smoke to your heart.
Finally, Native American tobacco (Say-ma) is burned. The tobacco we use was grown by Native Americans in Canada, and is the type found in America when western Europeans first arrived. It has a stronger scent, but is uncontaminated by the chemicals and additives found in cigarettes. If smoked, it is harsher than regular tobacco. Tobacco is associated with the east, and the rising sun. Native Americans believe the scent of this tobacco is pleasing to the Creator, and so will help fulfill the purpose of your smudging ceremony. The tobacco also helps lift your prayers to the Creator.
It’s also customary to lift your smudge bowl, shell, or rock (be sure to use a natural material) to each of the four directions in turn. Focus and concentrate on the meaning of each sacred herb. The order and the routine help to reinforce the venting out of the negative, purification/cleansing, and the bringing in of good thoughts and feelings. Over time and with repetition, you will find this ceremony can help dispel lingering doubts and negativity, and can give you a fresh perspective to begin (or end) your day. It is very peaceful and calming, and you may also find your friends are interested and appreciative of the ritual.
The herbs used in the ceremony may be purchased locally or through on-line sources. Two companies we’ve used with great success are Moscow Hide and Fur out of Idaha, and Redwood City Seed Company of California.
Many people find the Native American spirituality to be positive and uplifting. Their closeness with their environment and belief system was established for thousands of years, before the coming of the modern age and associated problems. This simple smudging ceremony, using natural herbs, is available to all. It is important to approach smudging with respect for the beliefs and customs of Native American people. If available, a tribal elder in the area can be approached for guidance and further information on the smudging ritual.
Smudging is a way of using the smoke from burning herbs as a way to cleanse the body, an object, or a given area of negative influences. It is the use of herbal sage herbs and taking the help of smoke produced by them to remove negative energies.
Smudging is a way of using the smoke from burning herbs as a way to cleanse the body, an object, or a given area of negative influences. One can himself use smudging to “cleanse” crystals before using them in jewellery projects one may do, and for protecting his home from some recent “bad vibe”-producing events. One can imagine that the skilful use of the proper herbs could help in warding and banishing ceremonies as well, if used properly and with reverence. The three most common plant materials used for smudging are sage of all types, cedar, and sweetgrass.
There are two major genii and several varieties of each genus of Sage that are used for smudging. Salvia, or the herb sage used for cooking, comes in two major varieties: S. Officinalis, commonly known as Garden Sage, and S. Apiana, commonly known as White Sage. Salvia varieties have long been acknowledged as healing herbs, reflected in the fact that its genus name comes from the Latin root word salvare, which is the verb “to heal” or “to save.” Artemisia is the genus commonly considered “Sagebrush,” and is more common in the wilds out here in California. There are two major varieties to the Artemisia genus: A. Californica, or Common Sagebrush, and A. Vulgaris, or Mugwort. There are many other varieties of both Salvia and Artemisia, and all are effective in smudging. Sage is burned in smudging ceremonies to drive out evil spirits, negative thoughts and feelings, and to keep Gan’n (negative entities) away from areas where ceremonials take place. In the Plains Sweatlodge, the floor of the structure is strewn with sage leaves for the participants to rub on their bodies during the sweat. Sage is also used in keeping sacred objects like pipes or Peyote wands safe from negative influence. In the Sioux nation, the Sacred Pipe is kept in a bundle with sage boughs. I would think special crystals could be so protected this way as well.
True cedar is of the Thuja and Libocedrus genii. Some Junipers are also called “cedar”, thus complicating things some. Some Juniper varieties ARE cleansing herbs, especially J. Monosperma, or Desert White Cedar. But for smudging, the best is Western Red Cedar and California Incense Cedar. Cedar is burnt while praying to the Great Spirit in meditation, and also to bless a house before moving in as is the tradition in the Northwest and Western Canada. It works both as a purifier and as a way to attract good energy in your direction. It is usually available in herb stores in chipped form, which must be sprinkled over a charcoal in a brazier. I like a piece of charcoaled mesquite for this purpose, rather than the commercial charcoal cake.
Very important to the Sioux and Cherokee nations, its botanical name is Hierochloe Oderata. In these tribes, the sweetgrass is braided like hair braids. It could be burnt by lighting the end of it, or by shaving little bits of it onto charcoal in a brazier. Again, use charcoaled Mesquite to burn it, not pressed charcoal tablets. Sweetgrass is burnt after smudging with sage, to welcome in good influences after the bad had been driven out. Sweetgrass is very rare today, and traditional Plains people have been attempting to protect the last of it. Also Pinon pine needles and Copal have similar effect. The three mentioned here are readily available either through gathering yourself or, in the case of copal resin, from any good herb shop.
Burn clippings of the herb in a brazier…not a shell as some “new age” shamanic circles do…it is an insult to White Painted Woman to do this, especially with the abalone shell which is especially sacred to Her. If the herb is bundled in a “wand”, you can also light the end of the wand that isn’t woody and use that. I like the latter way. Direct the smoke with your hands or with a Peyote wand over the person or thing you wish to smudge. If you can see auras, look for discolored places in the aura and direct the healing smoke towards those places on the patient’s body. For cleansing a house, first offer cedar smoke to the four directions outside the house. Then, take a sage bough and go throughout the inside of the house, making sure the smoke penetrates every nook and cranny of the house. It might help also, if one has a power animal, to visualize his animal doing these things, to also dance your animal, and if one has a power song, to sing that too. Then finally, run through the house with a white candle that is well protected, to “light up” the house. Careful not to burn it down when one does it!!!
Smudging should be done with care, with reverence, and in an attitude of love. Show respect and honor to the plants that Use has given us for our healing, and they will return the favor by keeping us well and free from disease and negative energy. Aloe Vera plants, though not to be burnt, are good for the cleansing angle as well. Keep one or more potted Aloe Veras in the house in organic pots. To honor the plant when you transplant it, sprinkle the roots with corn meal and smudge it with cedar once it is transplanted. The spirit of Aloe Vera is a good protective spirit, and if you burn yourself, can also be used to heal your skin. Be sure to ask the plant’s permission before cutting part of the leaf off for the healing juice. If you don’t, the protective power of the plant will cease, and you will be left with but an inert house plant…and perhaps some bad karma to boot.
People have been using the smoke coming out of herbal incense since ancient times. They use the smoke to cleanse people, places, and objects. It is said that these herbal smokes help in removing negative energy and fill the place with positive energy.
The term Smudging has come into use within contemporary Shamanism and is mainly used by the Native Americans. Native Americans believe that these practises are mostly related to earth and hold huge spiritual appeal. Hence various herbal incenses have come into effect and are commonly termed as smudging. However herbal incense has been used by many different cultures and traditions. It is known as a sacred way to cleanse people and objects with the help of the herbs. This is a very ancient and old practice which is gaining popularity in today’s world.
For example Neolithic, Celtic, Scythian, Norse, Anglo-Saxon and other Germanic peoples are known to have used herbal mixtures which they would throw onto a fire or onto hot rocks within a Sweat Lodge so that they could bathe and purify themselves in the resultant fragrant smoke.
Smudge can be used in two ways either as a bundle of dried herbs which can be held together as twine and blown out to smoulder or else they can be left loose and semi-powdered and burnt on charcoal blocks. Native peoples sometimes take coals from a wood fire, put that into a dish and sprinkle ‘Smudge’ onto those so that it smoulders and smokes. ‘Smudge’ sticks are also sometimes known as ‘Smudge Wands’. The bundles and wands are good, there is a danger of small, smouldering bits falling off onto people, furniture or carpets- most distracting. Whichever way one smudges, do be careful.
The main purpose is to purify one’s self and cleanse the place one is smudging. This makes it clear that smudging helps us to remain connected with the spiritual world and remove the negative energy. Smudging is the best way to drive the negative spirits away and get what one wants in his life. There is a principle that one should only ask for ‘Help & healing’ through ceremony of this kind, and so if you need help with problems, need guidance or direction, or ask for healing for yourself or others, then it is fine to ask the spirits for their help in these ways.
Some of the herbs used in sage mix while smudging are Plains Sage, Cedar, Sweet Grass, or even Lavender. These can be bought commercially, or grown and dried for yourself. Most suppliers of Native American crafts sell Smudge mixtures, and they are easily obtainable. If you as I seek to set such wisdom within the spirit of my own land, you can also use other herbs such as Rosemary, Mugwort and true Sage as they have strong healing and purifying associations, or you can research herbs to use that have been traditionally used in this way in Britain so as to connect with this in good ways.
Smudging is simple and one just needs smudge mix, charcoal discs, some means to ignite charcoal disks that lasts long, a dish on which the burning charcoal can be placed and the most important thing is to have a very good intention of performing the process of smudging. Having gathered all of these things, one simply needs to make himself comfortable, light the charcoal disc and ‘Smudge’.
The best way to start the process of smudging is to offer smoke in all four direction at first. Then offer the smoke to the heaven above and then to the earth below. Then the main process starts as one will need to fan the smoke towards the person who is being smudged. Fan the smoke around the room so that the place where one is performing the process of smudging is also purified. In what order you do this is really a matter of personal predilection- some people smudge the place, then the people, and then make directional offerings, and some prefer to smudge to the directions first. Perhaps if you are new to smudging you might like to try different ways and see what feels right for you. Many people use a special Fan or feather for moving Smudge smoke around as it helps to be able to direct it by fanning.
The smoke produced while smudging is purifying, cleansing as well as healing. Smudging is known to be the best solution for many spiritual and negative disturbances in one’s life. Smudging ceremonies have proved to be helpful and effective in many people’s life. Many people smudge troublesome machinery and suchlike, and indeed once used smudge on someone’s recommendation with a sporadically faulty photocopier- and it worked fine after that! It is a simple ritual itself, its quietness and connectedness helps one, but the fragrant smoke magnifies and focuses that, as well as bringing in spiritual power to help even more.
People who are bereaved and face trouble in relationships or family should try smudging as it brings calmness and balance in life. Many Shamans use smudging as an integral part of more lengthy and complex healing rituals, and indeed it is used in this way by native cultures all around the world.
Smudging can be used to purify some of the simplest objects like shamanic tools, crystals, and many other magical items. If one is really involved in the process of healing then they can simply try to cleanse themselves as well as their tools and places.
Smudging is a great process to purify your surroundings as well as individuals which can include you. It is very popular as a ritual as well as a spiritual blessing across cultures. There are several ceremonies and rituals which are incomplete without the use of smudging and its process.
Across cultures the way to use are different along with the benefits and procedures adopted by them. The mixtures and variants and the constituents used also varies with the cultures and regions around the globe. However all of them have the simple yet great motive of purifying everything which they feel is impure. As per believes it brings a balance in emotional as well as physical surroundings of an individual or a place.
It has been said to have originated from the Native American cultures which is still prevalent from centuries and generations today. In old times the end of the smudge stick or the braid was lit for cooking fire. But as cultures and people have a strict believe of the effects and results of smudging many people still view it from different angles and have their own views regarding them.
Cultural and Rituals being different also involves the usage of herbs being different. There are some common as well as different types of herbs which people use as per their traditions and rituality. The common is the sage, juniper and cedar. Some of the other forms of smudging items are sweet grass and lavender. Some tribes living in the plains today also use pure tobacco in the Southern and Central American regions. All these herbs are used and burnt as per their specified mixtures according to varying traditions across the cultures. All these have different aspects and impacts which people believe in.
Sage which is also known as Artemisia tridentia used in America is actually not the same as the ones which the Europeans use. People at both the places use this as a sacred object which is kept as pipes or peyote wands in order to safeguard against any possible negative influence. At Sioux nation the sacred pipes are kept in a bundle along with the sage boughs.
Smudging a Western Red Cedar also called Thuja occidentalis and the Californian Incense Cedar known as Libocedrus descurrens is regarded as the best across any cultures. At the time of offering prayers to the Great Spirit Cedar is burnt. It is also burnt while meditating by the people in the plains. People in many cultures use to burn this as a traditional approach before they move in to a new house or a place. This sort of a belief is prevalent across Western and Northwest Canada. It is believed that it works as a purifier and an attraction of good energy towards the person carrying out the ritual. Cedar is available in most of the herbs stores in the chipped form which is to be sprinkled over a charcoal in a brazier. People prefer a piece of charcoaled mesquite rather than the use of commercial charcoal cake.
For the Sioux and the Cherokee nation’s sweetgrass is regarded as one of the most important herb. The botanical name of Sweetgrass is Hierochloë odorata. Used by these tribes sweetgrass is braided as a hair braid. It is burnt by lighting the end of it over the charcoal with is shaved little bits. As a ritual sweetgrass is generally burnt after smudging with sage in order to welcome the good influences after all the bad influences gets driven off. However it is very uncommon today and not used by many tribes as a part of smudging.
Some popular elements of the smudging process used by many cultures are:
Bay leaf: It is a traditionally used item for protecting against cold and flu.
Mugwort: It is used for healing, stimulating dreams, divination, etc. It can be burned during the normal course of the rituals being carried forward. Some people also use it before the go off to sleep and on occasions before they start driving.
Funnel: An effective and repelling item used for negative energies and calming of nerves.
Mullien: This is another popular yet effective herb used by tribes for healing emotional trauma which originates from relationships with other people. It also provides protection when one is starting off with a new project. To many people the smoke is a calming and grounding feeling. Some people use it after the process of Mugwort.
Orris Root: It is used by people for burning in combination to Celery seeds and increases psychic concentration and gifts.
Copal: An item used by the Yaqui and has been used since ancient times of the Mayans and Azteca.
Besides the above there are several items which are also used as a part of smudging
As per the tribes and their belief there are several spiritual connections which is associated while the smudging process is carried forward. They create a form of electromagnetic energy or aura which can merge for bringing a balance when carried in the right manner. However if the process is not carried in the right manner there might be an imbalance created.
A smudge as we all know by now is a bundle of magical herbs which is burnt and smoke of which is used to purify places, souls, as well as people. It also develops a energy field around a territory and an individual. The process of smudging can be done for both oneself and others.
Smudging is very popular among the Wiccans in the North American territory. It is a crossover practice in the territory which has been a tradition adopted from the Native American Spirituality. Although Smudging is basically burning of special herbs as a part of ritual processes its a purifying process in nature. The purifying nature has hardly any side effect on the people around it. It therefore is non allergic in nature. However many chemical scents have come up in the markets today and the use of which needs to be avoided. Some of the artificial fragrances available in the market is known to cause serious diseases such as cancer or nerve disorders.
So what’s the procedure for making a smudge stick?
Not in case you want to make it by yourself following the steps below might help you:
Use of harvesting plants
The process needs to be conducted with the right set of knowledge and awareness. One should be sure about their intent and what is the reason they want to smudge for?
One should work along the cycles as each harvesting plant has its own harvesting time. It may be dawn or the night time, Dark Moon or the Full Moon. Thus it is necessary to plant the appropriate plants at their specified time.
The best practice to find the best plant to harvest would be leaving the first plant one sees. The time when a person is harvesting a plant for the purpose of smudging or spirituality or ritual purposes the best way would be ask the plant’s willingness and leave that thanks with an offering.
Moreover this is important for each item that is found in nature that one wishes to use for the purpose of ritual practices. In case one uses an item and does not show respect to it the spirit of the plant gets harmed and resentful. Therefore bringing any such energy for your surroundings is detrimental for ones purpose.
Hence while choosing a herb it should be based in the qualities they have or invoke. For example a sage smudge can clear out negative energies.
Binding of Herbs
Creation of a smudge stick is sorted as a ritual in its own. After harvesting the herbs in a sacred manner then next step is proceeding with the wrapping process.
In order to do so one needs to gather all the materials required for the purpose of sage in a sacred place. Besides the herbs one needs to have scissors and a few threads for wrapping. For many it may seem to be a messy process so one would like to have a sheet or something beneath them while sitting for making the process of cleaning up much easier.
Highly recommended for the thread selection is the natural embroidery or quilting threads as they are thicker. If one takes a thin thread like the sewing threads then they can cut into the herbs rather than binding them to burn easily.
One should also have a sheet made out of cotton, hemp, linen or any other similar material. They should also be uncoloured by the use of dyes. The reason behind this is that people would be burning this and inhaling it so it should be such that it does not pollute the environment. Also it would pollute the energy and your sacred body with polyester or chemical constituents.
In case you get a dyed and natural plant colouring they go for a thread based depending on which colour would be best for the task. For example wrap the herbs with a green grass thread when carrying out the process for health benefits. The moment one wraps the smudge stick one needs to be aware of what energy they are collecting into that. After all it’s a thread that is binding the magic inside the whole bundle. With all respect one should feel the gratitude of the gift which the plant and the Mother Nature have given us. After the bundling task is done its the time to offer prayers and say a blessing as a dedication for the cause the smudging process has been carried out for.
Many people also use the seashells in order to smudge but it is highly recommended of not using it for the said process of smudging. Especially the Abalone shells should never be used. In the markets smudge sticks are often sold along with these Abalone shells for some bizarre reasons. However it is absolutely inappropriate for using that for smudging purposes.
The primary reason for this is that shells are not fire-safe. Moreover another important reason is that Abalone is a sacred item for the Gods and Goddesses. Also these shells are affiliated to water so it’s highly preferred not to disrespect them by putting into fire. And this applies for each and every shell and not only Abalone.
Smudging which means to smoke or to protect by means of a smudge. In other words Smudging is a method of using smoke of burned herbs to cleanse an object, a body or areas of negative influences. Smudging always has a purification benefits for our consciousness, our living space and more importantly for our bodies. There are many people who believe that smoke gathered from burning herbs acts as a remedy to their bodies and energies their conscious understanding and comprehension. People from all across the globe have used the smoke from herbal mixtures in their spiritual rituals as well as in their healing. People also use smudging in order to clean the crystals before they use them in jewelry. It may also used to protect our homes from bad vibes or events and can help in warding & banishing ceremonies, if used with proper references. The three herb plants which are used for the purpose of smudging are all types of sages, sweetgrass and cedar.
It has two major genii & with different varieties in each genus which are used in smudging. The herb sage (Salvia) is used for cooking. The two major varieties of sage are garden Sage (S.officinalis) and white sage (S.apiana). From a long period Salvia varieties have been known as healing herbs. The word is derived from Latin word salvare, which is a verb of “to save” or “to heal”. The Artemisia genus has two major varieties namely Common Sagebrush (Californica) and Mugwort (A.vulgaris). There are also other varieties of Artemisia and Salvia & all of them are effective for smudging. Sage is burnt in smudging ceremonies in order to drive out negative thoughts & feelings, evil spirits and to negative entities (Gan’n) away from those areas. In order to safe sacred objects from negative influence sage can be used. In Sioux nation their Sacred Pipe is kept with sage boughs in a bundle.
The botanical name of sweetgrass is Hierochloe odorata. This herb is important to the Cherokee and Sioux nations. In these tribes it is braided as a hair braids. It is burnt by burning at the end or by putting the end portion into the charcoal in a brazier. Sweetgrass is burnt for good influences and to drive out the bad evils. It is very difficult to find sweetgrass and in traditional plains people are protecting the last reserves of it. Cedar is not endangered and can be used in a similar way. Others like Piñon pine needles (which are used by the Southwest Teneh like Apache and the Navajo as well as Zuni and Pueblo people) and Copal (which was used by Yaqui and during the ancient times by Maya and the Azteca) have this type of effect. All the three are easily available and can be self gathered. Herbs like copal resin can be gathered from any herb shop.
The true Cedar is of Libocedrus and thuja genii. Some Juniperus genus (Junipers) is also known as Cedar. Among these Junipers some varieties are cleansing herbs like J.monosperma, desert white cedar. For smudging purpose Thuja occidentalis (Western Red Cedar) & Libocedrus descurrens (California Incense Cedar) are the best. While praying to a great spirit a cedar needs to be burnt. Burning a cedar also helps in meditation. It also blesses a house when you move into your house for the first time. This tradition is followed in Northwest & Western Canada. It helps in purifying the air as well as to attract positive energy into your homes. The herb is easily available in any herb stores in a chipped form. It should be sprinkled on a charcoal in a brazier. Use a charcoaled mesquite rather than using a commercial charcoal cake.
The clippings of the herbs should be burn in a brazier and not in any shell or in any new age shamanic circles. If it is done in that way it is an insult to the goddess (White Painted Woman) as this particularly abalone shell is considered as scared to her. Another way to burn the clippings is to bundled the herbs in a wand and lit it at the end and not the wood. In order to direct the smoke you can use the hands or Peyote (feather) on the person or the thing that needs to be smudge. One can see the auras in discoloured places & direct the healing smoke on the patient’s body parts. In order to clean a house, offer cedar smoke in the four corners outside the house. After this take a sage branch inside the house and ensures that the smoke is penetrated in every nook and corner of the home. It will be helpful if you can sing power song while smiudging. Finally run through a white candle which will protect to light up the house. Be careful while you perform these things.
One should always do smudging with reverence, care and with an attitude of love. People should show honour and respect towards the plants that has given them a remedy to cure their healing. The plant in turn will favour us by keeping us free from various diseases and negative energy. These herbs will helps in keeping us fit and free us from diseases of our body. Some plants like the Aloe Vera plants which should not be burnt, are really good for cleansing purpose. One should plot Aloe Veras in their houses in an organic way by plotting in wood or ceramic pots. When you transplant the plant in the pot sprinkle the roots with some corn meal & smudge it with a cedar after planting.If you burn your skin it can be used to heal. But before you cut any part of the leaves please take plants permission for its healing juice. In case you do not take prior permission it will cease the protective power of plant and would be left with an inert houseplant.
Sage is the most common and powerful material used for smudging and removing negative energies. One can smudge with sage, cedar, lavender, and many other herbs. Sage comes in several different forms but the best one is white desert sage rather than the green garden sage.
Smudging is the process of burning the dried plant and fanning the smoke over the body with sacred intention. One should also smudge the area in and around the place where he intends to do his sacred work. Smudging is most common in Native American ritual, but it is followed in other cultures as well.
There are many different forms of smudges; but the most common is the leaf of white sage. Sage can be burnt in a shell or a piece of pottery. Bundles of sage also come with several kinds of sage mixed together but the bundles are not considered to be right as they also contain sweet grass which is a nest builder. It provides a nest for the “spirits” to live in. If the area is not cleared of negative energy, it can build a nest there too. If one is going to use sweet grass, then he should first cleanse the area with white sage and then use sweet grass.
While using the sage, one should place a few leaves in the censer and light them or light the bundle. The flame will go out in a short time and the sage will begin to smoulder. Then fan the smoke with hands or feather. The traditional way is to offer the smoke to the four directions before starting the process. Then one must fan the smoke around himself imagining it passing through him. It flows through the person drawing out all of the junk that he has collected in the aura. Smudge is different from tobacco so one can breath in the smoke he will feel the cleansing properties.
This process only takes a few minutes and when it is done one will feel the clarity of the room and the area he is in. One can either rub out the sage stick or just let it burn out on its own. The stick can be used many times. Leaves are just let to burn out on their own. Sage can also be used to clean crystals before the process starts and always smudge crystals after their use to remove the negative energy they many have absorbed.
Smudge is one of the most powerful tools that can be used for this process. It should be used prior to any spiritual event that one undertakes. Meditation, Reiki, Crystal Healing, Tarot Readings should all have smudging prior their use. Whenever one opens himself for energy transfer he must make sure that negative energy is cleared from that area. Smudge is the easiest way of doing that.
The process of smudging involves placing the individual herb or mixture of herbs into a shell, or fireproof bowl or dish. The mixture can become very hot so it is important that whatever is used can take the heat without cracking. Some traditions don’t use shells as they feel the water element of the shell nullifies the fire element. Others use the shell to bring in the balance of the elements.
The mixture is lit and helped to burn by the use of a feather or fan. One should not blow into the mixture as it is said that he might blow his own negative energy into the mixture. The mixture is then wafted around one’s self like a smoke bath. There are different ways of doing this and one can find variety of techniques depending on traditions and teachings. The way for someone not attached to a particular tradition is a matter of personal preference and intuition.
One way would be to start at the left foot as left is considered to be the receiving part of the body and to move the smoke up the left leg with the use of the fan or feather. Then proceed up the central chakra line and around the top of the head, back down the centre of the body, moving the smoke outwards to the sides and around the back. Finish off by wafting the smoke down the right leg as right is the giving side of the body and out and away from the right foot. Many traditions do these four times as four is considered to be the number of balance and harmony.
Feathers and wing fans aid in the cleansing process and have the effect of combing the human aura, therefore adding to the cleansing. Particular feathers bring in the qualities and medicine of the bird of origin. Some people insist that the feather should be moved in the direction that is similar to the movement of a particular bird while it is flying.
Cleansing ceremonial or ritual space before and after the event is an essential part of spiritual hygiene. The initial smudging is for the purpose of purifying the space and other participants and for banishing any unwanted energies. The final smudging is done to cleanse any negative energy attracted or created during the smudging process. It is always nice to perform smudging on a regular basis as it helps in maintaining domestic and individual harmony.
There are many healers, masseurs, therapists and others involved in similar occupations that do not use this or similar cleansing techniques in their workspace and for themselves, before and after the healing process.
Good practice for the use of smudge when healing is to smudge the space, the people in the space, including one’s self, the patient and any tools, When the healing process is completed, smudge self, any other assistant, tools, patient and finish with the space. In this way one deals with negative energies and vibrations in much the same way as antiseptic and disinfectant deals with germs. The aroma of the mixture is wonderful and the effects are instantly noticeable.
Smudge sticks are bundle of dried herbs and the most common herb used in them is the White Sage. Many times other herbs and plants are used in making them. All the herbs are bound together with a string in a small bundle and then dried together. The additional herbs that are used include cedar, cilantro, mugwort and lavender. None of these herbs are native to the Americans. All the herbs are pleasant and produce strong aroma when burnt.
The term smudge stick has been introduced by American Indians and it includes the practise of shamanism. The smudging process is followed many different traditions and religions. Binding the smudge sticks and using them for smudging ceremonies has been intentional process in itself. The use of scents and scented smoke in different purification rites is common in most of the traditions around the world and it has been done from hundreds of years.
Smudge sticks are essential and integral part of the smudging ceremony. A smudge stick can be made with the help of a single herb or by combining many different herbs. White sage has been the most common herb which is the most traditional herb for making a smudge stick. White sage is also known as salvia apiana and is the most traditional herb in the preparation of smudge sticks. But it is mostly out of the Native American context.
Some of the other popular plants are cedar, lavender, yarrow, rosemary, balsam, Silver King Artemesia, juniper, or mugwort. Smudge sticks can be made from many different herbal materials found around the world. The practise of burning herbs for sacred or medicinal purposes persists in many different cultures around the world. The use of incense is common in almost all the Asiatic religions while the use of mugwort in moxibustion is common in Chinese medicines. Smudge sticks are mostly used to clear away the negative energies. It may be through a smudging ceremony or some other traditional practise. The herbs are bound together with cotton, linen or hemp. Smudge sticks are mostly made by traditional spiritual practitioners. Prior to their use they must be made in the most appropriate manner. One can even make a smudge stick by following proper guidelines required to make a smudge stick. While buying a smudge stick one should make sure that it is bought from a specialised retail outlet.
In the modern era smudging has gained huge importance. It has been incorporated into many belief systems which includes new age spirituality, where it is analogous to censing aspersion or a thurible. It may also be used in meditation or rituals. Many practitioners regard smudging as spiritual and psychological cleaning. It is mainly used to drive away the negative energy. One can cleanse himself or cleanse an object through smudge sticks. It is the best way to drive away the negative energy and bring in the positive energy. People can either cleanse themselves or others by fanning the smoke produced by burning the smudge sticks in the desired direction. To fan the smoke one can take the help of other smudging tools like bundle of feathers.
While smudging the intent of a person is very important. The intent behind the ritual is also considered important along with the actual constituents of the smudge sticks. While smudging one must take note of the time of day, month, or the year. While making the smudge sticks also it is important to take note of the time for example: at dawn or evening or at certain phases of moon or according to yearly cycles. It is necessary to take the permission of the plant before collecting the herbs. It is necessary to take the permission as it shows respect towards the plant. It is said that the sage varies in potency in different parts of the year. Many people collect the sage in the month that contains the letter ‘r’ or only full moon periods. One must carefully collect the crinkled leaves. The smudge stick ceremonies are quite significant at aphelion, perihelion, equinoxes or in solstices.
There are many indigenous American people who use smudge sticks in different ceremonies. The Cree and Ojibwa ceremonies include smudges of sage, or juniper for cleansing. Smudging with coal underneath can provide a lot of smoke and they can also be used to repel mosquitoes and other insects.
In Native America where the smudge sticks were used traditionally to purify people, places and objects, it is said it also helped in cleansing and repel evil influence. It also has medicinal as well as religious correlations to the spiritual beings. It is a kind of object that can be used before or after a prayer.
The use of smudge sticks is a great way to cleanse sacred spaces and most of the people use smudge sticks made of sage and sweetgrass. They are available commercially and are also inexpensive. But one can also make them at their own by growing different herbs in their garden. If they have space any place near their home then they can go for wildcrafting.
• Scissors or garden clippers
• Cotton string
• Plants such as sage, mugwort, rosemary, lavender, or juniper
The herbs should be cut in pieces of about 6-10 inches. For the leafy pants one can make the pieces even shorter. But it is good to use longer pieces for the plants that have few leaves.
The use of smudging tools is part of many Native American practises. The burning of herbs is done for psychic, emotional, and spiritual purification. Using a smudging tool is part of many Native American traditions.
The burning of herbs is done for emotional, psychic and spiritual purification and is followed among various healing and spiritual groups. The ritual of smudging can also be defined as “Spiritual cleaning.” The smoke produced by smudge sticks attaches itself to the negative energy and as the smoke clears away it takes away the negative energy with it, then the positive energy is regenerated.
Smudging is defined as a ritual for cleansing a person, a place, or an object that is supposed to bring negative energy. This ceremony involves burning of sacred plants, special or herbal resins. After which it either passes through an object through the resulting smoke or the fanning smoke around a person. After all this gets over the spirit of plant is said to purify whatever gets smudged.
Generally there are two known ways in which smudging is done. One of them and the simpler one are by the use of a smudge stick. A smudge stick is a wand which is made up of plant leaves or some mixture of several plants tied together and then dried for the use. In order to use a simple method of lighting it up and extinguishing it after the smouldering is done. When the person who gets smudged he is made to stand in front of the wand which is then used forth and back through the person’s aura which starts from his feet to his head. After reaching the head the person is asked to turn around and the wand is again scrolled down till his feet. A recommended process is to pay attention while around the heart area as it is said to purify the heart further.
In order to cleanse a room or a house one needs to carry a lit smudge around the house and rolled clockwise in every quarter of the room. The second way for smudging is of using self igniting or incense charcoal as a source of heat. The charcoal is then lighted up and placed in a heat proof container. After this one needs to sprinkle about a half teaspoon of smudging herb over the charcoal and then fan the smoke towards an object which is intended to be smudged. It should be kept in mind that the process is carried forward in the right manner as by this one is asking the spirit of sacred plants for assisting and healing with their supreme powers.
Some of the plants that can be used for smudging along with their spiritual properties are:
Desert Sage: A plant which is known to drive out the negative energies influences and spirits is used for purifying people and places before any sacred ceremony commences.
Cedar: Scientific name is Libocedrus descurrens, Thuja occidentalis. It is a plant which is also popularly used for the purifying purpose especially for healing negative emotions.
Sweetgrass (Hierochole odarata)- Another kind of smudging plant which is also used by many for attracting positive energy after negative energies get banished by use of any sage.
White Sage (Salvia apiana)- A sage similar to the desert sage is preferred by many people while carrying out the smudging ceremony due to the sweet aroma it leaves behind after being used.
Lavender (Lavandula officianalis) – Another popular brand of the herb which is popular for restoring balance and creating peaceful atmosphere in a place and is ideal for drawing loving energy and spirits.
Mugwort (Atemesia vulgarus)- Popularly known for its ability to stimulate psychic awareness and prophetic dreams is used for burning and making the bad spirits sick so that they move away.
Copal (Bereseru microphylla) – This is said to be used from the times of the Mayan Civilization for offering as food to god. The belief while burning is that as the smoke of this raises it reaches the ears of god. It is still used for divination or purification ceremonies.
Juniper (Juniperus ssp.)- This is a herb that is also used for purifying and creating a sacred and a peaceful environment. It is also used as medicine pouch or as a pocket of protection.
Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon californicus)- This plant reflects the nature it is used for purification and protecting boundaries. It is used as a sacred herb too.
Osha (Ligusticum porteri)-The root of this plant is used for burning as an incense and carrying good luck. It is also used to stay protected from bad influences. The root of this plant can be burned as incense or carried for good luck and protection from bad influences. Among the Native Americans it is also used as a form of gift among the elders.
With the use of the above smudging tools and herbs the cleansing smoke bath for purifying people and certain areas or carrying spiritual ceremonies can be conducted. Many differing cultures and people use these as per their own customs and beliefs.
Around the area populated by the Native American Indians variety of smudging mixtures in their own preferred ways. The principle herbs used are cedar, sage, juniper, sweet grass, lavender, etc. Some of the plain tribes also use pure tobacco in the south and Central American region.
Depending on the traditions of the different cultures and societies the herbs are burnt with their own specified mixtures.
The herbs are burnt on their own or in mixtures, depending on tradition and required effect. Sage (Artemisia tridentia) is an indigenous object for the Americans but is not the same used by the Europeans. Throughout the world there are several cultures and so are the techniques to use these sages for the process of purification. It is a sacred process popular for the healing effects it has on the individuals, area and objects. The prime thing to be kept in mind is to perform the process in the most appropriate manner to get the best out of the process.
Almost all the religious and spiritual traditions around the world practice burning herbs. Smudge sticks are native to the Americans. These sticks are made of different kinds of herbs. It is said that burning these herbs helps in purifying a person, place, or an object. It can heal the emotional and psychic parts in humans through spiritual purification. The Native Americans mainly use the smudge sticks to cleanse a person, place, or any object. It is said that these sticks help in removing the negative energy and brings positive energy. Smudge sticks can be used for following purposes:
- You’ve been feeling depressed, angry, resentful.
- You’ve had an argument with someone.
- You’re going to have a special ritual or ceremony.
- As part of a general spiritual housecleaning.
- To clear your crystals of any negative energy.
The smudge sticks are considered to be sacred in Native societies, as they are made of special herbs. The smudge stick should be given due respect as they are used for the respectful act of smudging and spiritual cleaning. It is particularly centering to have an intention in mind. For example: if someone is stressed then he should visualize that the smoke is carrying away all the feelings of depression and if there is an argument with a person then we should visualize the person with whom we argued and being in with peace with him.
One must always remember to thank the crystal and the smudge stick for helping him in realising his goals. While smudging a house or a room people should think that their home is like temple for the body.
Smudge sticks can be lit with flame of a candle. Once there is a flame then we should blow it away so that smudge stick just smoulders and not burns away. The main idea is to get smoke and not burn the smudge stick or set it on fire.
If someone is smudging an object then he can hold it in the smoke and if they are smudging more than one object then they should fan the smoke on the objects. The room should be smudged by walking around the perimeter of the room and special attention should be given to the corners of the room. One can also fan the smoke in the room with the help of large feathers. If a person is being smudged then we should fan the smoke over the person properly and make sure that it touches the whole body. People should specially focus on the areas where they think there is some kind of blockage. It helps in healing spiritual, emotional, and psychic pain.
We should always have a fire proof receptacle to put the smudge stick in them when we are finished. It is ideal to put the stick in sand or use small amount of water. We should always keep in mind that the smudge stick is out of the room before we leave the room.