Smudging is a universal practice known to religions throughout the world. Buddhist temples use incense sticks, Catholic churches use Frankincense, Indigenous peoples use sage and other herbs to centre and focus. The smoke is ‘washed’ over the person or space. It can be a practice of mental and spiritual connection, an aid in the process of healing, or a method of cleansing and blessing.
Although a simple physical process, smudging is a deeply rooted mental and spiritual practice. Below are some of the most commonly used herbs and tools during the ritual:
- Sage bundles, Juniper, Sweetgrass or Cedar (any combination of these things together)
- Abalone shells
- Large feathers
- Charcoal tabs or candles
I think, therefore I amYour mind must be focused. Make sure you centre yourself to properly smudge. This is a ritual where you need to be as present and in the moment as possible. It can sometimes take intense mental and spiritual connection to successfully smudge.
Set the moodAttention to your surroundings and senses is key. Setting the right scene to create a feeling of ceremony can help prepare mind, body and soul. Barry Manilow may not be the best music to play, but sounds can stimulate the senses. Keep in mind mental power is strong, concentrate on the reason why you are preforming this ritual.
Let's begin!Place the charcoal tab into the abalone shell
Place the smudge stick on top of the charcoal
Prior to lighting the charcoal, say a prayer or intention, keeping in mind the purpose of the ceremony and your energy.
Light it upIgnite the charcoal tab. Light the tip of your smudge stick or bundle on the charcoal tab and gently wave the bundle until the tip begins to burn subtly. Place the burning herbs in the abalone shell.
Smudging yourselfThis is the best place to start before smudging a space; the difference being you waft the smoke onto your person.
To do a blessing of a person, begin by looking into their eyes for a moment to ‘greet’ them. Gently breathe in the essence of the smoke and focus on your body, your breathing and your thoughts. Fan the smoke first at their heart and then clockwise around the body; head to toe and front to back. The energy you are aligning is reflecting your thoughts and intentions. As your session comes to an end, complete the cleansing by holding the stick/bundle or feather in front of the body, aligned with the heart. Repeat your intention. Come to a close by focusing on your breathing; slow, calm and purposeful.
Smudging a spaceAs the herbs are burning and smoke is wafting begin to walk around your space clockwise. Ensure the smoke washes over all areas. Take your time. Do not rush.
Keep your state of mind in a positive frame, focus on your intention for the ceremony. Essentially, what you are thinking during the process becomes the energy that is being transferred out into your home. Pace yourself and connect as deeply with your breathing (and thoughts) as you can.
Once you feel the smudging is complete, wait for a day or two. If you feel you need to smudge more, perform your ceremony again. You may then want to smudge with sweetgrass. A general rule of thumb is sage is for clearing and healing, sweetgrass is for attracting new energy.