Making Sense of Smudging...
A Little Smudge History...
If you visit our shop early in the morning any given day, you might find us walking the perimeter of the shop, waving plumes of fragrant smoke into the corners and rafters of the shop. We get it- to a newcomer, and someone unfamiliar with the ritual of smudging, or smoke cleansing, it seems a little odd! Even people familiar with the practice often have questions about what to burn and why. So, we'd like to take a few minutes to take some of the mystery and guess work out of the smudging process!
While smudging seems like a new-age, hippie fad, it is anything but! Incense and smudging dates back thousands of years in Asia, Europe & the Americas. We associate it most with the indigenous Americans, who had practiced this act, also called the "sacred smoke bowl blessing".
So why have we smudged for so long? Smudging essentially hits an energetic reset on an area, objects, or even a person. It raises vibrations, clears negative energy, and assists in reducing stress and establishing a peaceful environment.
How to Smudge...
Smudging is simple, and easy to do, but standard safety precautions must be followed. As with any burning item, never leave your smudge stick unattended. Always use a heat-proof dish under your smudge stick as you burn it to catch the ashes. Burning your house down due to a tiny ember is not going to promote a peaceful environment.
So let's get started!
1. Light one end of the smudge stick and allow to burn for several seconds once the flame extinguishes.
2. Blow on end to fan the embers burning inside the stick. You don't need huge flames coming off the end of your smudge stick. This is not a tiki torch, and a bad way to invite the neighbors over for burgers.
3. Lay stick on a heat proof dish or abalone shell to catch ashes as it burns.
4. Here's the critical part- this is more important than any other part of the process. Focus on your intentions. Want to clear negative energy and cleanse you space? Envision the caustic energy rising on the smoke and disappearing, and the clean energy moving in. Focusing on healing an injury? Close your eyes and watch the smoke cleanse the affected body part. See it in your mind.
5. Now, with the intention in mind, start moving the smoke over yourself and throughout your space, using you hands or a fan. I'm going to say there is no "wrong" way to do this, but many cultures do follow the cardinal directions in this process- moving smoke to the East first, then the South, West, North, and finally East again. This is the perfect time to incorporate your prayers, chants, or invocations.
Stumped on what to say? For myself, I remember Psalm 66:19 that says "But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer." I know He understands the words of my heart, when my lips won't form them. Some smudgers favor a phrase like this: "Into this smoke I release all energies that do not serve me, all negativity that surrounds me, and all fears that limit me."
When to Smudge
Yes. Smudge anytime you feel like it's needed. Half of the time, I smudge because I love how it makes the room feel. I smudge the shop after someone with heavy energy has been in. You can smudge anytime you want.
What to Smudge
The answer to that question is as varied as the individual practices of smudging itself. Whether you put herbs together in a stick, loose over a charcoal round, or formed into cones and incense sticks, choose your herbs intuitively based on your needs at the moment. Here's a quick list to get you started:
1. Allspice- uplifting, increases energy & determination.
2. Amaranth- healing, protective, supportive to the vulnerable and broken-hearted.
3. Aspen- ascension, protection, overcoming fears.
4. Cedar- banish fear & enhance intuition.
5. Chamomile- purification & protection.
6. Frankincense resin- distress, ease tension, prayer.
7. Lavender- relaxation.
8. Lemongrass- cleansing & purifying.
9. Myrrh resin- grounding & healing.
10. Mugwort- clarity, intuition, calming, lucid dreams.
11. Palo santo- deep healing of physical body, clear home after ailment.
12. Pine- cleansing & purification.
13. Sage- clear negativity from people, places and objects.
14. Sweetgrass- attracts positive energy.
15. Thyme- release.
16. Rosemary- removes negativity after illness.
As always, we're available to answer questions, and help you choose from the selection of organic dried herbs at our storefront!