The Smudging Ceremony
Smudging is a ritual way to cleanse a person , place or an object of negative energies, spirits or influences. The smudging ceremony involves the burning of special, sacred plants and herbal resins, then, either passing an object through the resulting smoke, or fanning the smoke around a person or place. The spirit of the plant then purifies whatever is being smudged.
There are two ways of doing a smudging ceremony. The simplest way to smudge is to use a smudge stick. A smudge stick is a wand made of the leaves of a plant or mixture of plants tied together and dried. To use, simply light the end of the wand and extinguish the flame once it has a smoldering end. Have the person being smudged stand facing you and pass the wand back and forth through the person’s aura starting at their feet and moving upwards. When you reach their head, have them turn, clockwise and pass the wand down their back.Sometimes it’s a good idea to pay close attention to the heart area. To cleanse a room or house, carry in the lit smudge stick, clockwise around the area, making sure to smudge in the corners and behind doors. The second way of smudging is to use self-igniting or incense charcoal as a source of heat. Light the charcoal and place it in a heat proof container. Sprinkle about a half a teaspoon of smudging herb on the charcoal and fan the smoke toward the object being smudged as above.Remember that when you smudge, you are asking the spirit of sacred plants for assistance and you must pay proper respect to their healing power.These are some of the plants that can be used for smudging along with their spiritual properties.Desert Sage (Artemesia tridentata). This plant will drive out negative energies, spirits and influences. Use this as a smudge to purify people and places before any sacred ceremony.Cedar (Libocedrus descurrens, Thuja occidentalis). This plant can also be used to purify, especially for negative emotions.Sweetgrass (Hierochole odarata) This is one of the most sacred herbs used for smudging. This herb is used to bring positive energy in after negative energies are banished by using sage.White Sage (Salvia apiana) This sage is used just like desert sage, but many people prefer White Sage because of the sweeter aroma it gives off.Lavender (Lavandula officianalis) This herb will restore balance and create a peaceful atmosphere. It will also draws loving energy and spirits.Mugwort (Atemesia vulgarus) This herb can used to stimulate psychic awareness and prophetic dreams. The Lakota also believe that when Mugwort is burned it “makes the bad spirits sick”, and they move away from it.Copal (Bereseru microphylla) This resin was used by the Mayans as a food for the Gods. They believe that as the smoke of the Copal would rise, it would carry their prayers to the ears of the Gods. Copal is used in divination and in purification ceremonies. Copal is the Frankincense of the Western Hemisphere.Juniper (Juniperus ssp.) This herb is also used to purify and to create a safe and sacred space. Juniper was often carried in a medicine pouch or a pocket for protection.Yerba Santa (Eriodictyon californicus) This herb can be used to purify and to set and protect boundaries. The name of this plant reflects it’s nature. Yerba Santa means sacred herb.Osha (Ligusticum porteri) The root of this plant can be burned as an incense or carried for good luck and protection from bad influences. Osha is also a preferred gift for Native American elders.
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