What is Smudging?
Smudging, a fun event I explored years ago while in my Hippie Days was brought to my attention during my recent Vision Quest. Smudging was part of the ceremony. I had forgotten all about smudging and the benefits of this wonderful act. You don’t need to be on a Vision Quest or even exploring your inner self. It is a fantastic way to add some herbal scents to your living space and have a healthy benefit for mind and body. Smudging....has grown in popularity and with my more recent getting back into the Mystic, Zen, and Self Exploration steps of my path made me think more seriously about this ancient art once again.
The modern-day practice of burning sage (or sage combined with other dried herbs) in personal smudging rituals and ceremonies is based on a combination of the spiritual, medicinal, herbal and cultural teachings of the past.
The term “smudging” refers to almost any type of spiritual or energetic cleansing that uses the smoke. Essentially, a smudge ritual or a smudge ceremony is performed to correct the energy in a home, in an office, in an object, or even in a person. This is accomplished by burning sage or sage and a combination of herbs, in a focused, intentional way to cleanse out negative energy and to replenish positive, healing energy
HERBS FOR SMUDGING
White sage is commonly used and can be found as “smudge sticks” in most new-age supply stores. However, sage isn’t the only cleansing herb available. Braids of sweetgrass, bundles of dried lavender and resins such as copal and frankincense can also be used. Different plants are believed to have different energetic correspondences, so it’s important to know the “energy” of a plant before using it to smudge. For example, lavender is often thought to promote inner peace and harmony. Smudging with lavender could help “clear the air” after personal or group conflict.
HOW TO SMUDGE
- Choose your smudging herbs thoughtfully
- Place a smudge stick or loose leaves in a fireproof vessel that’s safe to handle
- Light the herbs with a match (if using a smudge stick, light the end), and blow out the flame to produce smoke
- Take a deep breath and focus on your intentions, for example “I want my home to be peaceful,” or “I want to be cleansed of negative thoughts”
- Use your hand or a feather to direct the smoke around the space, object or person being smudged
- When finished, make certain there are no remaining sparks, and place the fireproof vessel in a safe place
- Smudging is itself a spiritual ceremony that asks participants to be present in the moment, to allow a moment of communion between themselves and a higher power. Simply waving around a burning wand of sage and expecting the smoke to make things better is missing the point of this sacred act.
For more information, here are a couple of websites that I found interesting and useful. If you have performed Smudging and can give us newcomers to the art some hints, information, and suggestions... please do! We would love to hear from all.