What is Smudging?
- Generally negative
According to The Sage Goddess' Athena Perrakis, Smudging is critical to begin and complete any sacred ritual, even if that ritual is simply meditating. Smudging clears low vibrations and offers us a vehicle to connect with ancient lineages. But before you Smudge, it is important to understand that this practice should be done with reverence to those lineages.
How to Smudge
Grandmother Wapajea Walks on Water who descends from lineages of the Choctaw, Creek, and Cherokee tribes explains Smudging and the proper process as follows:
"The goal of Smudging is to make a place clear of lingering energy that is different from what you may be intending for that space. You want to prepare the space for ceremony the way you would clean your house, cook, and decorate when your family comes for a holiday. We are welcoming Great Spirit, angels, and ancestors to come and share clean space with us as well."
For indigenous people, Great Spirit is in all of nature and creation, each thing representing a different aspect of divinity and sacredness. Therefore, they honor the elements and all things natural, from plants and minerals to animals and people.
Because of these beliefs, it is important to respect some basic protocol for this sacred ritual:
- Choose a designated shelf or area specifically for your sacred herbs and implements that is above waist high. You may also consider using a birch basket to store these things in.
- Physically clean yourself and your space before you begin, remember you are inviting and welcoming positive energies into your space. It is recommended that you begin the process by smudging yourself before you smudge anyone or anything else.
- Do NOT blow out the flame! You see this step suggested in a lot of other instructions on Smudging, but it is considered disrespectful to the Fire Element (think of it like blowing in the face of an elder). Allow the flame to go out on it's own, then equally important is treating the resulting ashes with intention. A proper way to dispose of them is to return them to the Earth. Do NOT keep them in your space or hold onto them, as they contain the residual energy of the ritual.
What you will need:
- Sacred herbs such as Sage, Palo Santo, and/or Sweet grass
- A clay or Abalone Shell to contain the ashes (a shell is preferable as it represents the Water element)
- A feather or Smudge Fan to direct the smoke (and also represents the Air element)
- Lighter or Matches (some say wooden matches are preferable to represent the Earth element and more natural choice)
- Optional: sacred Drum (represents the beat of the heart) to incorporate singing, dancing, and drumming into your ritual to assist in raising the vibration
The Smudging Process:
- Physically clean your body and your space
- Open a window or door where the unwanted energy can escape
- Set your intention and prepare your prayer or mantra
There are different ways to Smudge, here we offer a couple of options but the core concept is always the same: to work in the same direction (counter-clockwise to remove negative energies), repeat your prayer or intention as you go, and before you smudge anyone or anything else, it is important to start with yourself. You can smudge your entire body/energy field, or use a simple traditional method: to waft the smoke up over your head three times. To do this properly, begin with your hand palm facing up to capture the smoke at chest height, begin to sweep the smoke upwards then slightly bow your head. With intention, direct the smoke up over your head and behind you, repeating this last step three times consecutively.
Basic protocol according to Cat Criger:
- Smudge yourself and anyone else present in the space
- Start on the Left side of the main door and continue to the left (counter-clockwise), praying the entire time.
- Waft the smoke with your feather(s), using the smoke to carry your prayers or intentions to the heavens
- Ask the good spirits to assist you in clearing this space and invite positive energy in
- When you return to the door, shoot the smoke out of the door and wait a minute or two
- Step outside and empty the ashes on the doorstep to protect the entrance
- Celebrate with a ceremonial feast!
Four Direction Ceremony according to Grandmother Wapajea
- Smudge yourself and anyone present
- Begin in the East, where the sun rises and the direction that represents the opportunity to begin anew
- Go to the South, the direction that honors creativity, hope, and children and represents the Earth element
- Then go to the West, where the sun sets and the direction that represents darkness and introspection, as well as the element of Water
- Proceed to the North, where rest awaits us and the direction of knowledge and the Fire element
- Use your feather(s) to fan the sacred smoke in each direction, chanting your prayer or intention as you go. One can also drum, sing, and dance until we circle back around to the East
- Hold sacredness and respect when connecting with the Plant People as you pray.
- Remember and honor ancestors with good deeds.
- Honor the Divine by caring for what the Great Spirit has created.
- See the Divine Mother in everything. Women are the embodiment of Great Spirit's creation on Earth through the gift of birth, so women are considered holy. We are all from the same womb.
- Everything is related to everything else, nothing is random.
- Caring for creation is everyone's responsibility.
- This will is not religion, this is love!
May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where most need to be.
May your heart be cleansed, that you might hear its message clearly.
May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed.
May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of the world.
May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these sacred plants,
And may that same smoke carry our prayers, spiraling to the heavens.
Alfalfa – associated with psychic abilities, and attracting animal spirits.
Allspice – for uplifting and increasing energy, and determination.
Amaranth – for healing, protection, vulnerability, especially healing of broken hearts.
Amber - for love, comfort, happiness and healing.
Aspen – for ascension, protection, and overcoming fears.
Basil – for attracting love, happiness, peace, and money; steadies the mind.
Bay Leaves – for psychic power, divination, success, and money; invoking wish magic.
Blue Spruce – the symbol of pure intentions, generosity, and giving.
Calendula – for love and constancy.
Catnip – attracts good spirits and great luck. For love, beauty, and happiness.
Cedar – banishes fear and enhances psychic powers.
Chamomile – for protection and purification.
Cinnamon – when burned raises high spiritual vibrations and aids healing.
Cloves – for protection and exorcism; attracting opposite sex.
Coastal Sage or Artemisia Californica – for clearing negative energies and healing holes or tears in the aura.
Dandelion – for divination, spirit calling, and wish magic.
Deerstongue - for psychic awareness.
Dill – for protection, luck, money, and lust.
Dragon’s Blood - for protection, strength and extra energy or power added to a working; to dispel negativity, exorcise evil supernatural entities, courage, purification, attract love, and restore male potency
Eucalyptus – for healing and protection.
Frankincense resin – reduces stress, eases tension, and connects you with Source energy.
Gardenia - burn for peace, love and healing.
Ginger – adds power to any magical activity, speeds things up; brings passion.
Hibiscus Flowers - burned to attract love, lust and also for divination.
Honeysuckle - burn to attract money, happiness, friendship and healing.
Jasmine - burned to attract love and money, and also to induce dreams of a prophetic nature, purification, wisdom and astral projection.
Juniper - for protection, purification, and healing.
Lavender – brings peace, relaxation, and restful sleep; purity and love.
Lemongrass – for cleansing and purifying, removing obstacles, and opening doors.
Lilac – for protection and exorcism.
Mugwort or Artemisia Vulgaris – brings clarity and develops/deepens psychic abilities.
Myrrh resin – for physical healing and grounding.
Palo Santo – for deep healing to the physical body; can be used to clear a home of energies associated with illness; removes and protects against malicious entities.
Patchouli - burned to attract money, love, growth, mastery, sensuality and also to promote fertility.
Peppermint – for purity, protection, release, and renewal.
Pine - for healing, purification, protection, physical and magical energy, and money.
Pinon Pine resin – protective, healing, and nurturing.
Rose - for love, peace, sex, and beauty; it is burned to increase courage, induce prophetic dreams, house blessing, fertility, healing and to attract love.
Rosemary – for removing negative energies associated with sickness, and clearing; use for memorial purposes (rosemary for remembrance); it is burned to purify, aid in healing, prevent nightmares, preserve youthfulness, dispel depression, attract fairy folk, and promote restful sleep and pleasant dreams.
Sage Flowers – for cleansing and releasing negative energies; brings wisdom and purity.
Sandalwood - for general spirituality, meditation, sexual purposes, and healing; it is burned to exorcise demons and evil ghosts, conjure beneficial spirits, and promote spiritual awareness
Thyme – excellent for releasing ceremonies; allows us to recall the past without pain.
White Sage or Salvia Apiana – used to clear negative energies from objects, space, or people.