SMUDGE TO CLEAR THE AIR
Whether it’s Frankincense and Myrrh being burned at Sunday Church or incense in a Buddhist Temple, to sage and Palo Santo in your home – smudging has been around for centuries. Smoke has been used in Native American tradition for dispelling stagnant and negative energies and bridging oneself to the higher realms. Smudging is a ritual used to burn herbs, resins and plants in an Abalon shell (or clay bowl) as you put your intention towards cleansing yourself and your space. It is used in the ceremonies of Indigenous peoples for cleansing or health purposes.
Surely you’ve heard the phrase, “Clear the air”? Where do you think it comes from? Clearing the air means to discuss or otherwise confront a troublesome issue, usually with the goal of alleviating tension or confusion. It can also mean to smudge and cleanse the air and begin your discussion from a place of clean and heart centered energy. Imagine having an argument with someone and being left feeling unhappy or angry. It’s time to clear the air.
We smudge our clinic space often especially when we sense the energy within it shift. It brings us back to neutral and a clean canvas to build from. We smudge our home space often, esp. when we first move in to clear the old energy, after a big gathering of many energies in our house, before important events, and whenever we feel energy become stagnant. I use Palo Santo and a little bit of sage weekly. I also use them before my bathing ritual to cleanse the energy of the water and set my intentions to cleanse my energy from the week I’ve had.
AS PART OF YOUR SMUDGING RITUAL, YOU NEED THE FOLLOWING FOUR ELEMENTS:
- The shell or clay bowl represents water
- The herbs and resins represent earth
- The feather and smoke it creates represent air
- The flame used to ignite the sage, palo santo and herbs represents fire
THE MOST COMMON HERBS USED FOR SMUDGING IN NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICAN TRADITIONS:
- White sage
- Sweet grass
- Palo Santo
HOW TO SMUDGE
When you walk around to smudge your space or yourself, wave the smudge stick in a clockwise manner, starting with the top of your head, working your way down your body. Lift each foot and smudge underneath your foot. If you are with another person, take turns smudging one another and don’t forget to smudge the back of each person. Lift your arms up and smudge underneath them. Smudge the crown of your head, smudge your third eye, your heart, your solar plexus and root chakra.
Walk around your house and smudge your house. Don’t forget the corridors, the doors, the windows, TV’s, the mirrors, bathrooms, underneath the sinks, around the toilets, the drains, underneath your bed, you get the idea. Anywhere energy can linger- smudge it! It’s always nice to air our your home afterwards as well and get some fresh air circulating through your home.
Make sure to use your abalon shell or clay bowl underneath your smudge stick to hold the flames and embers that fly from the sage or other plants. You can also use a feather to fan the smoke. If the embers start to fade, blow on them to keep the smoke going. Be careful when you are smudging, esp. when close to your skin or someone else’s. Tie your hair back if necessary. Just be mindful.
The smoke is used to bless, cleanse and heal the person or object being smudged. Sage is most commonly used to ‘wash off’ the outside world when one enters ceremony or other sacred space. Every day you interact with other people and energies. It’s very important to be mindful of how these energies affect and interact with you. Before you go into your next meeting or meet up with a friend, check in with yourself and see how you feel. Are you happy? Are you in good spirits? If during your meeting you start to feel off then become aware of that – it’s likely you are taking on other people’s energies. You are a cosmic being and within you are a lot of different energies – some yours, some your family’s, some societal, other ancestral. To be grounded and clear means to differentiate what is yours vs. what is others’.
Have you ever felt like everything in your life is going great and for some reason you feel off even though you don’t know why in the world you feel off when all is going so well for you? Perhaps it’s time to smudge, cleanse and ground. Today we are bombarded with homes that are stacked one on top of the other, we are constantly interacting within tight spaces, very seldom can we put our phones away and immerse ourselves in solitude with our own energy in nature and wide open spaces.
Smudge away Indigo Insiders and feel lighter and brighter each day! We have more important things to do than to carry other people’s gunk!
Pair your smudging ritual with this bath ritual and you’ll have yourself a true cleansing ceremony.
- The Art of Smudging – A Shamanic Cleansing Ritual. Accessed 8 August 2018.