Smudging is the process of burning plant materials to energetically cleanse a space, inviting in positive energy while clearing out negative energies.
It is believed that not only is there an energetic benefit to smudging, but also scientific health benefits such as antimicrobial properties, and the release of negative ions into the room. Smudging has been linked to helping alleviate stress, enhancing intuition, improving mood, relieving stress, aiding in sleep, enhancing cognition, and increasing energy levels.
Many cultures implement smudging into their traditions, and many different plant materials are used depending on the tradition and the effect one wishes to achieve. Some of most common plants for smudging are:
- Sage- White Sage, and Prairie Sage are the two main varieties that are used for smudging. While having very different aromas when burned they both have a similar effect. They are noted for their effect on energetic and health levels, Sage contains thujone, which is mildly psychoactive and is said to help enhance a person’s intuition. It also contains antimicrobial properties which help purify the air from bacteria, pet dander, and other allergens.
- Cedar- The cedar tree is often referred to as the Tree of Life. It has been used for thousands of years to drive out negative energies and bring in good influences. Cedar is one of the four sacred medicines used by the indigenous people of North America, the other three being sweetgrass, sage, and tobacco. When using these medicines it is important to give them the respect and reverence they deserve.
- Sweetgrass- Sweetgrass helps to clear negative energy, but also attracts good spirits and positive energy.
- Palo Santo- Palo Santo wood comes from the Palo Santo tree in South America. It has a warm and sweet aroma when burned and is used more for blessing, healing and consecrating a space, rather than cleansing and purifying. It works well with sage.
What You Will Need
- Plant material of your choice
- A small bowl with sand, a shell, or other fireproof receptacle to catch ash and embers and to extinguish your smudge when you are done. (As with burning anything, an unattended smudge can cause a fire.)
- A match or candle preferred, lighter ok.
- Feathers can be used to work with the smoke and direct the smoke blessings, feathers aren’t necessary.
How to go about it
First you will want to set your intention. It is good to not feel rushed. Smudge yourself, bring the smoke up over your heart , head, to your back and down to your feet into the earth. Giving thanks for all the great divine feminine mother earth provides for each and everyone of us.
Two-Five minutes of meditation before focusing and ground will help optimize the effects of the cleanse. Light your smudge. If you are cleansing your home or other indoor space start with the front door, moving mindfully in a clockwise direction throughout your home. Make sure the smoke is allowed to drift into the unseen spaces such as corners and closets. When you return back to your front door say a prayer or mantra and visualize the space encompassed in white cleansing energy. If you are smudging an object, hold the object you intend to cleanse in the direct stream of the smoke. There is really no right or wrong way to smudge so long as you do it with intention and reverence. These plants are powerful, so above all, however you go about things, do so with respect.
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