What is Smudging?

Smudging is traditionally a ceremony for purifying or cleansing the soul of negative thoughts of a person or place. This ceremony is comprised of burning sacred herbs or resins. Throughout history many different cultures have partaken in smudging practices. Smudging in North America has widely been used by the Native peoples. Each herb or resin is known to be burned for specific purposes. During a smudging session or ceremony, the intention is to connect to the energy and spirits around us to cleanse or bring benefits into our lives. 

Whether you're smudging for the very first time, or just want a quick refresher - these foundational elements are the key to any great smudging ceremony or session.

Foundational Elements

Every smudging session should be conducted with a few basic elements on hand. The first of these is the medium with which you are smudging. This medium can take many forms like aromatic sweetgrass, Peruvian palo santo, traditional white sage, or any other sage variety. Additionally, the sage can be in a bundle/stick (the traditional method) or burned in loose leaf form.

After you have chosen the medium with which you will be smudging, it is important to consider safety. Most people smudge indoors, so it is especially important to consider your container. This container is what you will use to lay the sage in during and after smudging. The traditional Native practice is to use an abalone shell as your vessel, but any ceramic bowl will also do. As long as the bowl isn't plastic or glass (glass can heat and burn your hands on contact), then it will be able to hold the sage and embers safely.

The third element to consider is how you will be fanning the embers. Did you notice that I didn't say blow? It is passed down knowledge that blowing on the smoke will blow away the spirits that are trying to help you. Therefore, when you are smudging use an instrument like a smudging feather, cloth, fan, or even your hand to waft the embers. If your sage burns out that is completely fine, simply relight your smudging medium with a match or lighter. 

The fourth and most important basic element of smudging is your Blessing or Intention. Energy is everything here. If your energy is nervous, sad, angry, or distracted - it's best to wait to smudge until you are in a calm, focused state of mind. When we smudge we are asking the Great Spirit or other spirits to guide us in our lives, it is very important to set our intention for the session or say our Blessing with purpose. There is a free smudging guide included with every order, but you are welcome to set your own intention or say your own Blessing before your smudging session.

There are many variations to smudging: using multiple sticks to activate multiple purposes, the location & duration of your sessions, smudging a space vs. your own body or the body of a loved one, and much more. However, by including these four main elements - you will ensure you're receiving the greatest benefit. Happy smudging!

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