Smudging Ceremony for Cleansing and Purification
Native Americans have taught us that before a person can be healed or heal another, they must be cleansed both physically and spiritually of any bad feelings, negative thoughts, or negative energy. This helps the healing to come through in a clear way without being distorted. Native people throughout the world use herbs to accomplish this. One ceremony is to burn certain herbs and use the smoke to purify and carry prayers. This ceremony is commonly called “smudging.”
Smudging is a simple ritual whenever or wherever you feel the need to cleanse, balance or purify yourself, others, a room, or an area. To smudge, light a small bundle or a pinch of herbs or incense in an abalone shell, a pottery bowl or an incense burner. Rub your hands in the smoke as if washing them and then gather smoke in your hands and pass it over your face, head and body. To cleanse an area, purify yourself first and then carry the smoke and your container throughout the area gently moving the smoke with your hand, a feather or a feather fan. As you do this, clear your mind of any negative thoughts and say simple, sincere prayers. This is the time to express your intentions.
Today, the three plants most frequently used in smudging are sage, cedar, and sweetgrass. You can also use your favorite incense if you prefer.
Sage: Used to drive out bad spirits, feelings or influences and to keep bad spirits from entering an area. The Plains Indians cover the floor of the sweat lodge with sage and rub their bodies with it while in the sweat. Some Indian Nations wrap their pipes in sage as sage purifies objects that are wrapped in it.
Red Cedar: Prayers, silent or aloud, rise with the smoke to the Creator. Cedar branches are brushed in the air to cleanse a home during the House Blessing Ceremony in the Pacific Northwest. It is used to drive out negative energy and to bring in good influences.
Sweet Grass: Also called holy grass is one of the most sacred plants for the Plains Indians. It is a tall wild grass with a reddish base and a perfume-like smell. It grows mainly east of the Rockies. It is usually braided like hair and is burned by shaving little bits over hot coals or by lighting the braid and waving it slowly through the air. You may need to relight your sweetgrass during the ceremony to keep it burning. It is used for purification when burned and is also woven into baskets that retain their sweet fragrance for years.
This ceremony can be performed by anyone who wishes to bring harmony and order to a place or person. As long as you are sincere, you will find this ceremony brings immediate positive change. Smudging supplies are available at Silver Eagle in Highlands, NC or Naples, FL.