The Art of Smudging
I was originally going to create a separate blog under a different name, to share all of the knowledge I have on other subjects to keep this "coherent" with my photography business.
This was more because it was an assumption of mine that I had to separate my interests, so I seemed more professional... (aka. being an adult), but I decided NO WAY!! My photography business is just a part of who I am, and I crave to share all of the things I know.
So I guess I am using this opportunity to express that this blog will continue to be filled with photo stories, but also to branch out into other things that I love, so you can gain a more in depth understanding of how I move through the world as a creative, a visionary, a witch and clarity of consciousness seeker.
To start the ball rolling on that front, I wanted to tap into the art of smudging.
Burning herbs and herbal resin, is something that is common practice in cultures all over the world!
Asiatic Incense, traditional Frankincense in Church, deep woody tones of the Middle East, Sage of the Native Americans, Paolo Santo in South American, to the native plants of Australian Aborigines, this modality is a practice deeply steeped in ancient tradition.
The use of smoke has been used for ceremonial practices to either purify, heal and protect, or to honor a deity, or invoke a particular energy for a person or sacred place. Depending on the tradition, different herbs, plants or resin are utilized for specific purposes.
I remember when I had first moved into my house, the main bedroom had a really heavy feeling that I could only describe as that denseness that you can feel, when you've entered a room that people have just been arguing in.
I straight away got to the smudging of the entire home, I used sage and also a glass bell (similar to old school dinner bells).
I believe that the high pitch sound of the bell chimed in the corners of rooms, can help dispel any stagnant energy that is trapped there. I decided to use sage from a bush I had found a few years back on a Native American reserve I was blessed to be on. It was the strongest I had ever used, so I was keeping it for only the most important times!
On that note, I suggest that if you are picking from a fresh plant, you should try to come into a quiet place in your mind before you begin, where you can then ask the plant permission to use it's energy for ritual, and if you allow yourself to open to the plant, it will tell you yes or no.
Try never to take more than 3 sprigs, or only take as much as you really truly need.
Always remember to give Thanks!!
When smudging, be careful not to breathe in the smoke directly, and not to fill the area too thickly with smoke. It is not a fumigation, just a cleansing, so no need to choke yourself out!
Once you have lit your herbs, slowly walk around where you are and take the smoke to each area you would like to cleanse. Concentrate on gateway areas, such as windows, doors, closets, as well as hallways.
Also concentrate on the corners of a room. Most importantly, use your intuition.
If you allow it, your space will usually inform you as to which areas need to be cleansed the most. I usually speak out loud what my intention is for the space while I'm walking around, and I ask to release all old energy that is in the way.
If you choose to use the plant of White Sage, try burning incense immediately after the session. Sage has a more masculine/yang aspect and is nicely coupled by the feminine/yin aspect of floral incense.
A weekly session of smudgtasticness will set you and your space up for constant good vibes!!
Here is a list of different herbs for you to try, make sure that if it's a dried plant you use a fireproof bowl (I use a bear paw clam shell with some sand to trap heat), and if you are using resin you will need charcoal tablets to light and place into your bowl/dish/shell... WARNING! do NOT hold the charcoal as it will burn your fingers.
Have fun :)
- White Sage – purifies you of negativity within your personal space as well as a room. As sage has highly cleansing, purifying and protecting properties, it will cleanse away bad spirits, negativity, bad emotions, and also protects the space for ceremony.
- Eucalyptus – is a sacred native of Australia and is used in the same way the white sage is used. It is purifying, cleansing, and assists in bringing good health.
- Rosemary – an ancient European herb used in smudging ceremonies for purification. It also is said to bring clarity and increase ones memory.
- Palo Santo – is a sacred wood used by Incan /Andean medicine people for purification, healing, and protection. As it itself has undergone the full cycle of life, and a metarmorphosis before it is used in ceremony and before it is classified as Palo Santo it is powerful to assist death/rebirth transitions and transformations in a persons life.
- Mugwort – used to induce dreams, and to support your dream work. It is said to support psychic work and astral traveling.
- Sweetgrass – it is also known as holy grass. This is only burned after you’ve burned something like sage, eucalyptus, or cedar, or resins such as frankincence or myrrh beforehand. Sweetgrass brings in the good spirits.
- Cedar – very powerful especially when releasing trauma, and dark entities. It also banishes bad dreams, and is particularly important in using on people exposed to death and brutality, such as soldiers, or victims of crimes. Please make sure you use this in conjunction with the sage.
- Lemongrass – burn lemon grass to uplift the energy, but also to enhance your psychic awareness.
- Lavender – creates a peaceful atmosphere, and as such will support love and relating positively with one another.
- Lotus flower – in the sacred traditions of the east, lotus is burned as a sacred offering to the goddess. With the pleasing of the goddess it is said that it can attract good fortune.
- Copal – sacred Mayan tradition to burn copal for purification, healing and protection. It connects you to the spirits, and enhances your spiritual and ceremonial work.
- Frankincense – used for purification and also creating a space for spiritual growth.
- Myrrh – Allows you to access higher realms and therefore enhances your meditation and contemplation. Key resin used to honor the goddess Isis. It was also equal if not higher of value than gold which is why it is one of the key offerings from the three wise men.
- Dragon’s blood – used for bringing in love, protection and good luck.
- Sandalwood – when powdered down and burned on a charcoal this is not only grounding, but assists psychic development, and meditation.
- Nutmeg – burn nutmeg powder or shavings when you wish to bring in abundance, and fresh energy.