The Native Americans practiced the ancient art of smudging for centuries, and it is a procedure that involves bundling herbs together with string, usually sage, to form a smudge stick that is afterward ignited.
It is practiced as a purifying and cleansing ceremonial act, like a ritual alchemy which is believed to be changing and shifting the air element and transforming our current experience into a mystical one.
The certified “spiritual hygiene” proponent Colleen McCann, who trained with shamans in Peru, claims:
“Burning sage is one of the oldest and purest methods of cleansing a person, group of people, or space and of getting rid of unwanted spirits.
The practice dates back to prehistoric times and it’s been documented as having been used in every corner of the world by our ancestors.”
“The Latin word for sage salvia stems from the word heal, so sage burning is also associated with “wisdom, clarity, and increasing spiritual awareness”.”
The herb bundle releases smoke that is thought to cleanse the negative energy and purify the individual, living space and objects. It also emits negative ions which offer numerous benefits, such as improved mood.
The negative ions also purify the air from odors, bacteria, viruses, mold, pollen, dust, and other harmful particles, by attaching the positively charges particles in large numbers in order to become too heavy to remain airborne, so they fall on the floor or attach to a surface close to them.
Our homes are full of positive ions due to the multiple gadgets we use daily, so these negative ions neutralize their damaging effects.
Therefore, this method will provide effects just like you have been out in the mountains all day, breathed fresh air and relieved stress, or took an energetic shower.
As explained in For Heaven’s Sake:
“Smudging is considered as one of the purest, oldest methods of cleansing a person or a group of person. It is a means of dispelling the mind and spirit of negative energies.
It also helps change the energy when you’re depressed, unwell or angry. It is not just people who are smudged.
It was believed that even objects and spaces have a spirit, and are often smudged to invite peace and harmony to your home or office.”
The website continues:
“The effectiveness of this theory is based on the theory that smoke is a purifying agent. The smoke is directed onto areas that are in need of protection and clearing. Negative energy is released as the smoke clears.
Smudging is also a great way to cleanse your mind, body, and aura. You can either do this on your own or ask a friend to help you perform the ritual.
Light the smudge stick and motion the smoke around your body. Don’t forget to set your intention before you begin with the ritual. “
The Native Americans believe that smudging is a way to connect to their culture and roots.
In the words of Cat Criger, Aboriginal elder-in-residence at the University of Toronto:
“To understand the protocol means you have to learn something about aboriginal people. So in a sense, the medicines are working in a kind way, saying ‘learn about me and we can respect each other and we can walk together.’ ”
The effects of smudging have been confirmed by science as well, and the authors of 2006 research published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology entitled Medicinal Smokes, reported:
“The most frequent medical indications for medicinal smoke are pulmonary (23.5%), neurological (21.8%) and dermatological (8.1%). A very large list of pathogenic bacteria was shown to be absent in an open room after a remarkable 30 days following treatment.
We have demonstrated that by using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space.”
Therefore, here are the beneficial effects of smudging:
-- This method has powerful relaxing effects that relieve stress and tension, lower blood pressure, prevent free radical damage and premature aging, and normalize the breathing rates, as the negative ions are directly absorbed in the bloodstream
-- Researchers have found that the negative ions produced improve mood and improve focus, due to the increases serotonin levels
-- The smoke has powerful anti-depressant effects and increases the serotonin levels
-- Smudging clear the air of dust, mold, bacteria, allergens, pet dander, and pollen
-- Since it regulates the production of serotonin, smudging naturally improves sleep patterns
-- Smudging boosts the mental focus and the sense of well-being
-- The released smoke changes the molecular structure of the energy and the air and thus eliminates the negative energy, anxiety, depression, anger, and fear
-- Smudging cleanses objects as well and neutralizes the accumulated negative energy on antiques and older objects
Smudging is an entirely safe, simple, and easy ritual that you can practice in order to enjoy all these benefits. However, according to Cat Criger:
“To understand the protocol means you have to learn something about aboriginal people. So in a sense, the medicines are working in a kind way, saying ‘learn about me and we can respect each other and we can walk together.’
Native American medicines must be treated with reverence, so once you’ve acquired the herbs, clear out a bookshelf or an honored place in your home that is above waist height to store them. You may want to find birch baskets to keep them in.”
Devashree Manta, a creative director by profession, but pursues spirituality as a hobby maintains,
“Each type of herb has a different reason or value for use. I’ve found California White sage (Salvia apiana) to be one of the most powerful cleansers.
It removes all negativity from the aura and uplifts the mind, body, and spirit. Minutes after the smudging, you can instantly feel calmer and blissful. This feeling usually pervades into the rest of the day or even for days after.”
Yet, you can combine sage with lavender to get numerous benefits and a fantastic experience. The Native Americans also used cedar, which possesses powerful “spirit” or energy.
Sweetgrass can also be used for smudging, and its aroma promotes a very meditative, open conscious awareness.
Additionally, copal attracts positivity and good spirits, and myrrh promotes youthfulness, enlightenment, and truth.
Now, we will provide all the needed instructions for you to smudge with full awareness and in the proper manner.
First of all, you will need loose dried white sage or any other herb mentioned above that you combine sage with. If you grow the herbs at home, just bundle them with a string, tie it and hang it upside down in a cool, dark space to dry it out.
Then, you need a lighter or matches, and a heat-proof burning surface, like a clay bowl or abalone shell.
Before you ignite it, open up the windows and put the herb on the fire-proof surface. Light it, and blow out the flame. You can even shake the bundle a bit until it turns to embers and smoke.
When it starts to create a good amount of smoke, direct it over the body with the hand, moving from the feet all the way up to your head and back again. Try to visualize the smoke purifying your body and eliminating the negative energy.
You can repeat the following incantation: “Air, fire, water, earth. Cleanse, dismiss, dispel.”
Now, you can start smudging the home. You should start at the front door, and move clockwise around the house. Wave the smoke into the air, focusing on the corners, cabinets, and closets.
Smudge all the rooms, the garage, basement, laundry room, and be aware of the smoke as a powerful purifier of the space.
Move into the next room following the floor layout along the walls, and try not to forget any vents, window, closet, or door.
You should actually push the negative energy out toward the front entrance, and as soon as you are finished, leave the bundle to burn out. If you have a garden, you can bury it there.
Smudging is a beneficial ceremony after moving into a new home or after having an argument a well.
In the new home, cover the mirrors, close the doors, turn off all the gadgets, and open the closet and cabinet doors. Then, smudge all the rooms.
Start on the left side of the front door, and go on to the left throughout the home while breathing deeply and staying focused on eliminating the damaging energy from the home.
When you return to the front door, direct the smoke outside and wait for a few minutes. Then, go outside and place the ashes onto the doorstep.
Perform this procedure at least a few times annually, or whenever you feel the effects of negative energy in the house.
If your projects keep being delayed, you feel fatigued and blue, and your goals are looking impossible to reach, you suffer from frequent headaches and you face sleeping difficulties, or you suffer from serious health issues, you should know that it is the right time to smudge the place you are living in.