Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Spring Time Smudging

Hi to all, A friend ask me about smudging the other day so I thought I would post about it. Spring is a great time to do this as a yearly event. Also when you remodel a home or apartment. So happy smudging !!



Smudging is the common name given to the sacred smoke bowl blessing.
Saging is a powerful cleansing technique from the Native North American Tradition. Smudging calls on the spirits 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.

A Tradition From The Mists 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. Now a days modern science has proven that certain herbs do indeed have cleansing powers, acting as strong pesticides.
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 idea of purification through smoke is certainly not the sole preserve of the Native North Americans.
Most rituals have some element of cleansing, and incense or herbal smoke mixtures that are burned. Around the world - from China, India, and Southeast Asia, to Europe and the Western world- many countries have used some form of smoke or smudging for ritual and clearing.

How to Smudge

An abalone shell is the accustomed Native American vessel to use for holding the sage. However, any small, flat, heat-proof container will do.

Leave the sage as is, tied with the string in the bundle. Light the sage and let it flame for a minute or so. Extinguish the flame so the sage is smoldering and smoking.

Take the smudge container and using circular clockwise movements, encircle yourself with the smoke. The Native American custom is to use a very large feather from a poultry bird, such as a turkey. Using the feather, fan the smoke all around the room going around windows and doorways. I always say a prayer as I do this asking for all negativity be released, opening up for all that is good and holy. If possible, open some windows and doors to allow the smoke to leave.

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 sage permeate throughout. Try and finish off the smudging process by ending up at an open door. You should have come full circle around your home.

Bee’s Way

Sweep the whole house( besome broom if you have one). The goal here is not to clean the floors, but rather to imagine 'sweeping' the house of its negative energy.
Techniques vary, but I like to combine the swept material from each room into one pile, and sweep the full bunch outside. And, I do recommend sweeping the material outdoors, rather than into a dust pan. This process has a more 'ceremonial' cleaning feel to me; pushing the old dirt and energy outdoors is very liberating!
Light a white candle, then use it to light the sage stick. Before 'smudging' the room, fan the smoke over yourself first. Then, walk through the room counter-clockwise, fanning the smoke over the walls, windows, toward the ceiling etc. Stay focused on your intention - to clear negative energy.
Continue this through every nook and cranny of your home. When sufficiently smoky, extinguish the sage in a fire-safe receptacle, and follow the same instruction for the sweet grass. While smudging with sweet grass, remember to visualize your intention - you're inviting positive energy into your home.
Now's a good time to open those windows. If you have one, hang a wind chime near the bedroom window. Nothing moves stale air like the soft song of a wind chime.
note: If you must speak while performing the clearing, keep your voice at a whisper, speaking only positive phrases. Also, I recommend clearing a home regularly, especially after an argument, during life transitions like breakups or divorces, or after unpleasant guests leave.

“I burn sage first, and follow up with sweet grass."

Whenever I have done this, it has never set off any of my smoke alarms, which I have found very strange indeed. 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.

I say a little prayer over and over as I do my smudging, asking the 'powers that be' (Spirit of the sage) to remove all negativity and unwanted energies.

"Sage is the most potent herb for smudging but you can also use cedar and sweet grass. "