The sacred art of smudging
Warding off evil spirits, sometimes takes extra effort and sheer will power. There are various different rituals which are performed to cleanse a particular location. Not always, but sometimes even a medium or a communicator of the spirits is brought into a place—that needs warded or purified in some way. Just because we can’t see it with our own eyes, doesn’t mean it isn’t there. There are many different forces which ravage our world, some of them are good while others are quite destructive.
For some people, they may have witnessed or even have partaken in ceremonies using myrrh or frankincense. Incense is used at Buddhist Temple locations or perhaps the spiraling tendrils of bukhoor during mosque. All of these practices, involve the burning and use of smoke to rid the area of whatever may be lurking there. Some ghost hunters, even try to appease the spirits by using practices such as this.
The entire process, dates back many years and connects people with a primordial notion. Through the use of burning and the smoke released from it, this represents clarity and a peace of mind. From the Earth to the Heavens above—the ceremonies share the same goal. Surprisingly, there are quite a few people who choose to partake in such practices.
Native Americans have used these practices as a bridge way to higher realms. They believe that smudging dispels the negative spirits and brings forth the good spirits. Many cultures in the western hemisphere have used the same or a similar type of practice previously. There are spiritual benefits believed to be bestowed upon those who dwell in these lost arts.
While performing these type of rituals, it is best to not be distracted from other things. You will need a sound peace of mind. Complete concentration is required with the relaxation of the body. Afterward, the mind will follow.
For beginners, starting with your home is probably best. It is at the home where one can find out whether or not a negative energy was lingering there the entire time or not. If so, it would be best to try and cleanse your home—transforming your living space into a positively spiritual sanctuary once again.
With regards to a Native American smudging ceremony, here is what you will need as an example:
– Sage Herb
– Bundle of dried white sage
– Bundle of dried cedar
– A braid of Sweet grass
– Stone or Earthen bowl
– Small amount of sand
– A large feather
– An open mind and heart
To begin with, start with smudging both yourself and those around you, before the home itself. Put roughly one inch of sand in your stone or earthen bowl. Now, light the safe bundle. This bundle shouldn’t actually be burning but smoldering instead. Do not blow on it to keep it burning. This is considered putting negative energy back in. Place the sacred herb bundle into the bowl and begin using your feather.
Start with your left foot and then fan the smoke around your body working your way up covering yourself. After this, fan the smoke over your head and down the right hand side of your body down to your right foot. This will form the closing circle. Do this to others and then to the home.
At the end of the ceremony, light the sweet grass braid for completion. If the spirits seem strong, say a prayer for peace, harmony and love to replace the turmoil and to release any negative energies. It may or may not be required to perform another ceremony. Best practice is to do this every few months to keep positive energy flowing. Perhaps these practices may help those who are suffering from various difficulties in their lives. It is wiser to keep an open mind and open heart to things around us all.
A Native Prayer that can be used while smudging:
Creator, Great Mystery
Source of all knowing and comfort,
Cleanse this space of all negativity.
Open our pathways to peace and understanding.
Love and light fills each of us and our sacred space.
Our work here shall be beautiful and meaningful.
Banish all energies that would mean us harm.
Our eternal gratitude.
– The Medicine Wheel Garden, E. Barrie Kavasch
“Sweet grass grows high in the Rocky Mountains. A gift from the creator, it is said this grass never dies. It is one of the great smells reminding us of the mountains and open air. Sage is the cleanest smell of the desert. It is also a present from the Creator. Tobacco is another gift. Our thoughts and prayers are carried on its smoke. It carries the two great smells of the mountain and desert. It is a visual representation of our thoughts and prayers being transported.”
– John Joseph, Chinook Shaman