Smudging is an ancient practice that is quickly becoming popular in today’s world.
It’s a practice that I can’t imagine living without.
The act of smudging is highly varied, and can be found in many cultures throughout the world.
It's a simple way of thanking Nature for her many gifts.
It effectively purifies your home, body, mind, and sacred space.
Offering herbs through smudging releases their energy – Allowing them to heal, cleanse, purify, and replenish.
It is my experience that most teaching on smudging focuses on removing unwanted negative elements from a space, body, or home. This is only one of, what I consider (with all humility), the two important aspects of smudging.
This ancient practice is meant to deposit your personal intention in an area/being, as well as removing any negativity which may be present there. The act of depositing is a paramount part of this practice, and really should not be overlooked.
If you take a little time to research smudging, you will find a wealth of information. Much of which will focus on ‘the steps’ of the ceremony. While I find this guidance useful, it is not my focus for this blog entry.
I intend to present a bit more of an eclectic, do-it-your-way approach.
Please note: There is no disrespect or lack of reverence for ceremony intended. I'm simply presenting my way of utilizing this sacred ancient tradition.
I hold it, and it's history, in high-esteem, and while it may seem that I take it lightly - I do not.
As a matter of fact, when I practice this incredible ancient art - I find myself in an astute state of humility, honor, and deference.
I smudge my home, my sacred space, and my body/mind regularly.
I am unable to give you a time table for my practice, because its occurrence is highly intuitive.
I smudge when I feel that the space around me is becoming stagnant (lacking energy flow), harboring negativity, or just feeling a bit dull.
I smudge to purify my body/mind when I feel the threat of illness, decline of motivation, or a general lack of clarity.
I also smudge my sacred space, including my body/mind before I engage in rituals for the aforementioned reasons, or any other purpose.
Basically, smudging is a good friend of mine!
How do I convey the process of smudging to others?
I say – do what works for you!
If you are more comfortable choosing a tradition and following a step-by-step plan – go for it!
If you are more comfortable simply following your own inner voice, than jump right in – I do!
Here are a few suggestions/hints/tips (guidelines, if you must) to help you just a bit with that 'fish-out-of-water' feeling that often accompanies the act of engaging in something unfamiliar to us ...
You need a safe container to burn the herbs.
The idea is to smolder them creating smoke.
You are definitely not trying to build a bonfire here, LOL.
Any heat proof vessel for loose herbs will work – the abalone shell is often used.
I like to put some sand in the bottom of my container – it just makes sense ; )
A feather to fan the smoke is an awesome tool to have.
If you don’t have one yet, use your hand.
If you want a feather for future use, simply ask Nature to provide one for you and it will show up - likely on your next walk ; )
Don’t use something you don’t feel connected too – just to have a tool!
You likely have hands already - AND you likely feel pretty connected to them! Use them until you have the tool you prefer.
When I smudge a large space, like my home, I generally start at the main entrance and work around the perimeters of the space.
I do not ‘pay particular attention’ to closets, cupboards, and behind doors as is so often directed.
I consider this a waste of good energy.
I focus on the areas that I feel need the most attention – while still taking into consideration the space as a whole.
It really is an 'intuitive feeling'.
And no one is more connected to your body or your space than you - so go with it!
When smudging a sacred space to prepare it for a ritual – I am a bit more ‘systematic’.
I do offer smoke (fan the smoke in the direction of) to the four directions; North, South, East, and West.
I verbally seek the presence, guidance, and blessing of the spirits who reside over each direction.
I don’t believe that this is necessary.
I do believe it is an act of reverence and respect - and THAT is necessary ; )
Once I have expressed my appreciation in this way, I allow the herbs to smolder in my space until they extinguish naturally.
Smudging the body/mind is a more regular practice for me. I find it is a great way to start my day.
To do this I simply light my herbal offering, which is often carefully chosen in accordance with what I am seeking or in need of that day, and walk through or stand in the smoke it emits.
Most often I will then use my smudging feather to fan the smoke toward my face, gently breathing in a small measure of smoke.
All of these practices are accompanied by prayer, chanting, clapping, and bell-ringing.
I have found that when people first start to practice smudging they tend to be less verbal and often do not use clapping or bell-ringing as part of their ritual – and that is okay!
As a matter of fact I know that for some smudging is a quiet, serene ritual. They believe it should be that way. And that’s okay too!
Do consider the fact that 'noise', particularly that of a rhythmic nature, helps to move and dispel stagnant/negative energy.
Smudge if you like! I recommend it!
Follow a ‘step-by-step’ guide if that’s important to you!
Take a bit of time when choosing one – it matters!
Don't be too rigid to recognize that the ritual is likely to evolve over time - it will change as your experience/insight/intuition grows!
Or just dive right in and let the spirit guide you! For me, that’s the only way!
Please take a moment to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of this post ...
Travel with me on this journey we call life ...
May good fortune chase you throughout ALL of your days!
Blessings ~ Diane