Smudging is the common name given to the sacred smoke bowl blessing. It is a powerful cleansing technique from the Native North American tradition. In olden times, the end of the smudge stick or braid was lit from the central or cooking fire. Not everyone views the practice of smudging in the same way and different herbs may be used for different purposes.
Smudging calls on thespirits of sacred plants to drive away negative energies and restore balance. It is the art of cleansing yourself and your environment using simple ritual and ceremony.
For thousands of years smudging has been a part of Native American tradition but now its power of cleansing is available to everyone.
Smudging is the burning of certain herbs to create a cleansing smoke bath, which is used to purify people, ceremonial and ritual space, and ceremonial tools and objects. There are different ceremonies and rituals that can be done.
How can smudging be so powerful? The answer lies in the subatomic world of subtle or spiritual energy. Homes and bodies are not just made of purely physical matter; they also vibrate with quiet, invisible energy.
Cleansing a space or our bodies with techniques such as smudging clears away all the emotional and psychic “garbage” that may have gathered over the years or even hundreds of years. It's like spiritual spring cleaning.
The effects of smudging can be surprisingly swift and dramatic. The rituals can help you banish stress, attract love, sooth you or give you energy.
The History Of Smudging
They can bring your family closer together and let you adjust to the healing seasonal rhythms of the year. Above all they can turn any space, however humble, into a soothing sanctuary - a place of renewal and happiness.
Smudging may seem a very modern practice. We read about city highfliers using it to sell their apartments or improve their business luck, but smudging has been used for thousands of years.
When you light a smudge stick you are connecting with a spiritual tradition that originates from the depths of time. It is impossible to say for certain when smudging began. Perhaps early civilizations came to realize, through sheer trial and error, that the smoke generated by setting alight particular herbs had beneficial effects for humanity. Certainly many cultures have an old tradition of driving animals through smoke to kill off pests and diseases.
Nowadays modern science has proven that certain herbs do indeed have cleansing powers. Aside from this beneficial and practical aspect of burning herbs, humans have become aware that smoke ascends to the heavens - to the world of spirits - almost as if it were acting as a spiritual messenger.
The burning of herbs for emotional, psychic, and spiritual purification is also common practice among many religious, healing, and spiritual groups. The ritual of smudging can be defined as "spiritual house cleaning." In theory, the smoke attaches itself to negative energy and as the smoke clears it takes the negative energy with it, releasing it into another space where it will be regenerated into positive energy.
Native elders taught us that before a person can be healed or heal another, one must be cleansed of any bad feelings, negative thoughts, bad spirits or negative energy - cleansed both physically and spiritually. This helps the healing to come through in a clear way, without being distorted or sidetracked by negative "stuff" in either the healer or the client.
The elders say that all ceremonies, tribal or private, must be entered into with a good heart so that we can pray, sing, and walk in a sacred manner, and be helped by the spirits to enter the sacred realm.
The three plants most frequently used in smudging are white sage, cedar, and sweetgrass.
How to Smudge
1. Light the herb and let it flame for a minute or so. Extinguish the flame so the herb is smoldering and smoking.
2. Take the smudge container and using circular clockwise movements, encircle yourself with the smoke, asking that all negative energies be cleansed away.
3. You can do this for the whole room and even the whole house.
Start at the most northerly room and working again, clockwise, through your home, let the smoke from the herb permeate throughout.
4. Try and finish off the smudging process by ending up at an open door towards the most northwesterly part of your home. You should have come full circle around your home. (A note of interest- usually when smudging is done, it doesn’t set off a smoke alarm. Now it MAY set off yours, so be prepared to disconnect it during your smudging and be sure to re-engage it upon completion of your smudging.)
5. Say a little prayer over and over as you do your smudging, asking the 'powers that be' (Spirit of the herb) to remove all negativity and unwanted energies.
6. When first doing this on a regular basis, you may find yourself feeling agitated or uneasy and not sure why. It is because you are 'clearing' with the help of the smudging. This would indicate that there is a lot of 'negative' energies in your environment.
7. There is not a set number of times you need to smudge. You can personally smudge yourself and your room once a day or whenever you feel the need. You will find how often you need to do it for yourself.
8. Sage is the most potent herb for smudging but you can also use cedar and sweet grass.
Smudging should be done with care, with reverence, and in an attitude of LOVE.
Show your respect and honor to the plants that have been given to us for our healing, and they will return the favor by keeping us well and free from disease and negative energy.
Remember God and your spirit guides understand what you are trying to do, so THERE IS NO WRONG WAY to do it. You may want to include some of your favorite readings, or do this with a loved one.
Good luck and be well!!!!