Friday, July 9, 2010

Why and How To Smudge

It seems many people are hearing about the wonderful effects of smudging and I am constantly asked to explain the process and results. While most are hearing about it now being used by many high end clients to help sell their homes, it has really been around for many centuries and used by cultures from all over the world. Yes, it is a long time traditional ceremony used by Native Americans, but the people of India, China, and many other cultures have been using the smoke from herbs, plants or incense for centuries also.

There are many reasons why you might want to have a smudging done on yourself and your home. It can help remove negative energy, bad spirits, spiritual cleansing and many other reasons we will look at in this article.

Before moving into a new home, I always suggest doing a complete smudging to remove any negative energy left behind by the former occupants. This will assure you’re starting out in your new home with good energy. While many feel they don’t have negative energy around them, that is just not the case. I’m sure we all know people that always seem to be angry and refuse to see any good things in their lives. These are the type of people that can leave negative energy where ever they go, including your normally peaceful home. A good smudging after they leave will bring that wonderful feeling back to your home. Actually you don’t need a reason to smudge, it can just be something you do on a regular basis. Just as you do your regular cleaning and dusting, a cleansing of your body and environment is a good habit to follow.

You don’t need anything expensive or elaborate to smudge, however, I would suggest buying your herbs from a reliable source. While most people use white sage, you can also use western red cedar or sweet grass. I see a lot of places on the web suggest you use an abalone shell for burning, but in most of the Native American teachings I’ve read, they feel the shell is from the ocean and should only be used in water ceremonies, never burning. Instead, you should consider using a stone, clay or glass bowl. I don’t use the separate leaves, but use a smudge stick. Some I have are just the white sage, but I also have sticks that contain white sage, red cedar and sweet grass all combined. Although I use the sticks, I find that sometimes the lit ash tends to drop, so I always put my stick into a large glass ashtray filled with dirt. This also serves as a way to extinguish the sage when I’m done with my smudging.

Before you begin smudging or doing any type of ritual or ceremony, it’s very important that you first ground yourself and invoke protection. There are many ways to do this, but I’ll try to give you an easy method for both. For the grounding, standing with your eyes closed, imagine you are a tree and feel the roots coming down into the floor. You can protect yourself by picturing a safe white light coming down to surround you, as you ask whatever higher entity of your belief to protect as you smudge.

Light the sage leaves or stick, then blow out the flame so you have a nice strong plume of smoke. As you recite prayers asking to help you remove the negative energy, use your hands to first surround your body in the smoke. Continue with this until you have cleansed your entire body. To begin the cleansing of your home, start in the farthest left corner from where you enter your home. Using a clockwise circular motion, walk through each room, making sure to cover the entire area including the corners, until you have completed the cleansing of your entire home. When you are finished, make sure to completely extinguish the sage and remember to say a thank you prayer for the help provided during the cleansing.

For me personally, after I have finished my smudging with the sage, I go back and do it again with a calming herb to help bring a relaxing calm feeling back to the whole house. You can burn calming herbs, such as lavender, chamomile, or valerian. If you don’t have the herbs, you can use candles, incense or any type of aromatherapy scent like lavender, sandalwood, vanilla, ginger or cinnamon. You can also just boil a little water on the stove and drop in a few lavender buds or cinnamon sticks to achieve the same results.

In older homes, especially after major renovations, you might have stronger energies or spirits that refuse to be removed. If you are having major problems or a lot of negative energies surrounding you, a simple cleansing may not be enough. In these cases, it might require a professional to come in to do a more through cleansing. I do this type of cleansing in my immediate area, but if you need someone in your area, please contact me and I would be happy to help you find a trusted professional to help.

If you have any questions or need further guidance, please contact me through my blog and I’ll be glad to help where I can.

Smudge Sticks

Another great article on smudging from a trusted expert, Azzrian Visions.
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