Smudging 101

Negative energy can make your home feel dense and heavy. Smudging is the practice of using an herb or combination of herbs to create a cleansing smoke that will allow these energies to be removed. The smoke attracts and absorbs this energy. As the smoke dissipates, the energy dissipates as well.

Drumming circles and other events often begin with a smudging ritual before in order to purify and cleanse both the space and the people occupying that space.

“It has been scientifically noted that the smoke from the practice of Smudging has the potential of seizing the positive ion in the air molecule and extracting it.

The positive ion in the air molecule is the electric charge that is harmful to your health. You come across it in places that are heavily polluted or that have been closed for a long time without air. On the other hand, the negative ion is beneficial for your health. After an electric storm it exists in abundance, because flashes of lightening free thousands of millions of negative ions into the air. This is why the air is so invigorating following a storm.

Burning Sage, Cedarwood and/or Sweetgrass remove the positive ions and leave only the healthy negative ions.” American Indian Secrets of Crystal Healing by Luc Bourgault

A word about White Sage

The practice of Smudging has become more commercialized than ever. You can find white sage bundles, wands and loose leaf in many metaphysical shops and new age stores. Due to this commercialization, white sage is not as plentiful as it once was, nor is it used in the way it once was. The respect for the white sage has been diminished. It is harvested far faster than it can be replanted and grow.

The Native American teachings tell us that medicine is alive and should not be misused, overused or squandered. We all need to respect this and understand white sage’s true purpose.

As such, using one leaf is just as effective and responsible. Do not take more than you need (which is really a good lesson to use for anything at all!). Honor and respect is paramount to all of Mother Nature’s gifts.

How to Smudge Step by Step

Use this simple technique to smudge and cleanse your area of Negative energy.

You will need an herb such as Sage, (Grandfather White is my favorite) Sweetgrass, (either in a braid or loose pieces), or Cedar (Northwest Cedar is lovely). You can choose one of these or combine. If you have another favorite, feel free to add some of that as well.

Next you will need a container to hold your smudging material. Abalone shells are very popular for this purpose. If you do not have an Abalone shell, a small ceramic or clay bowl will do. Metal will heat up too quickly and has a tendency to burn the fingers. Add some sand to the bottom of the shell or bowl in order to insulate from the heat and allow the smudge to be fully extinguished once you are done. A feather or fan (not the electric kind) is handy to fan the smoke out into the areas where it is needed.

Some suggest that before you begin the smudging process, you should always open a window (even just a crack) otherwise you will not be able to remove the negative elements completely.

In the Abalone Shell or bowl, place the Grandfather White Sage (or other loose material you have chosen). Light the sage until a flame appears, then allow it to smolder and the smoke to flow freely.

Take the feather or fan you have chosen and gently fan the smudge so that you are moving the smoke in the direction and area you are smudging. Continue to move through the area, pushing the smoke out with the feather/fan. Some herb combinations or smudge sticks (a combination of herbs that is wrapped tightly in a bundle) tend to go out rather easily. Simply relight and continue.

The Process

When I smudge, I start the process by smudging myself, making sure that I have moved the smoke over and around me. Then, I begin my ritual by moving clockwise, whether around a room or the entire house. I am right handed, so that seems natural enough. I honestly think you should just go with the flow. If counterclockwise seems natural, then that is fine.

The intent is to clean each area, including the corners with the smoke. I have this idea that those denser energies tend to congregate in the corners, so I make sure to go from the bottom of the floor to top of the ceiling in each and every corner. Starting at the front door, I say,

“Please cleanse this house and remove all negative/dense energies. May the energy in my space be filled with love and for the highest good of all”.

Then I slowly side step to the right holding the smudge bowl and moving it around in a zig zag pattern from floor to ceiling. I continue until I come to a corner of the room. When I hit a corner, I stop, say the same thing, then start at the floor and slowly move the sage up the wall and to the ceiling. Then I continue to move right.

When I arrive at the next corner, I do the ritual all over again. I also make sure to cleanse all around a doorway, left to right, from the floor, up the side, over the top and down to floor again. I repeat all around the house (or room if I am only doing one room). When I get all the way around and end up back at the front door, I thank the Universe/Divine/Source for cleansing my space and filling it with positive energy, love and joy.

Of course, you will find that you will get into your own groove and may just make it up as you go. Which is perfect, as it becomes your personal ritual led by your intuition.

Original article written by Kristi Hugs 2017 All Rights Reserved

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