Here is some helpful information to understand one of the sacred spiritual beliefs in traditionalists lives.

The Importance of Praying and Visualizing when Smudging

The smudging ritual utilizes the smoke of burning incense for cleansing, purification, and healing of a person, space, or object. Praying and visualizing while smudging is a very important part of the ritual in order to get the most benefit from it and take full advantage of the magical and spiritual energy and properties of the burning herbs and botanicals. The plants and herbs used during smudging each have their own electromagnetic frequency and energy that interacts with the energy of the person smudging. These energies can either merge to bring balance or imbalance, which is why it is important to perform the Smudge ceremony with a positive and respectful attitude.

Each plant can be thought of as having its own aura and soul and should be treated with respect and gratitude, for the plant is giving up its life for your benefit. This should not inspire guilt, but rather gratitude for its sacrifice, for one day you will give your body for other beings of the Earth. As you light the Smudge incense stick on fire, you should thank the plant for its sacrifice. You should also thank Father Sun, from where all fires arise, and thank the spirit of Fire for coming to help you with the Smudge ceremony. If you are using an Abalone shell, you should thank the life that created it.

Once the smudge is lit and smoking, you should visualize the smoke absorbing all the sickness and negativity out of the room or person being smudged and then carrying it away. If you can see auras, look for discolored places in the aura and direct the healing smoke towards those places. Feathers and wing fans aid in the cleansing process and have the effect of combing the human aura, therefore adding to the cleansing. Particular feathers bring in the qualities and medicine of the bird of origin. Some would insist that the movement of the fan should be in keeping with the movement of the particular bird’s wing in flight.

In addition to visualizing, you should also pray while performing the smudge. Different tribes have different smudging prayers that program the smoke to do a specific action, such as cleansing or aiding in divination. You can say the prayers silently but it is recommended to say them out loud to make them more powerful. You may also chant them. Saying or chanting your prayers will release their energy into the universe so that the universe can hear them and respond to them. An example of a chant you can use is “Light Invocation” by Dael Walker, which he recommends repeating three times. The chant is below:

I invoke the light of the God within
I am a clear and perfect channel
Light is my guide
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What is the Smudge Ceremony

The Smudge ceremony is an age-old tribal tradition which has been used for centuries to bring harmony and peace. During the Smudge ceremony, smoke from burning herbs or incense is rubbed over a person, space, or object for cleaning and purification, protection of physical and spiritual bodies, and banishment of negative energies. This article will describe how to perform the Smudge ceremony on a space.

Why to Smudge Your Home, Office, or Other Space

Homes and Offices can often be places of arguments, stress, and other negative influences. Smudging these spaces will carry away negative energy and bring in positive energy. Smudging your home can also help protect you and your loved ones as burning certain Smudge herbs is believed to bring protection. Some types of incense are believed to bring prosperity and using those to smudge an office may help a business prosper. Smudging a space can also be done to make it into a sacred space for saying prayers and performing other rituals. Finally, smudging any space will leave it feeling and smelling cleaner and fresher.

What is Needed to Smudge Your Home, Office, or Other Space

For the Smudge ceremony, you will need smudge sticks (herbs that are tied into a bundle for easier handling), braided herbs and botanicals such as sweetgrass, or loose incense and charcoal. You will need a proper container for the burning smudge such as an Abalone shell or a fire proof bowl or pot. You will also need a lighter or candle to light the charcoal and/or Smudge incense. Optional items are a feather for fanning the smoke, a paper plate or other means of catching stray ash as you carry the Smudge pot or shell around, and any other sacred or magickal items you may wish to include in the ceremony such as crystals or pendants. Last but not least, you should have a pot of sand or ash nearby to extinguish the burning herbs as well as easy access to water or a fire extinguisher just in case.

When to Smudge Your Home, Office, or Other Space

Smudging your home, office, or other space can be done at any time and as frequently as you wish but there are certain times that definitely call for smudging. It is very traditional to perform the Smudge ceremony whenever moving into a new home or office. Smudging is a great way to bless the new living or work space, bringing protection to it, banishing negative energies, and attracting prosperity. You may also want to smudge your home or office before moving out as it will leave it feeling clean, fresh, and vibrant, thereby attracting more potential buyers or renters. It is also traditional to smudge whenever there is a new moon or a change of seasons. Other times you should definitely smudge your home or office are whenever there is an argument, an illness, a death, a robbery, job loss, money problems, stress, or any other event or situation that fills the space with negative energy.

Preparation for Smudging Your Home, Office, or Other Space

In order to prepare for the Smudge Ceremony, you should first open all windows, doors, closets, cabinets, and drawers within the room or building you will be smudging. Opening the closets, cabinets, and drawers is so that you can direct the smudge smoke into these spaces as you walk around with the Smudge bowl. Opening the windows and doors is so that the smoke can be purged from the interior and fresh air and chi can flow back into your living or work space. The idea is that the smoke traps all the negative entities and energies and then carries them out the windows and open doors away from your home or office.

How to Smudge Your Home, Office, or Other Space

For smudging your home or office, first offer cedar smoke to the four directions outside the building. Do this by first facing East with the Smudge bowl in one hand and use a feather or your other hand to waft the smoke towards the East. Then turn to the South and waft the smoke towards the South and so on until you are facing the North. Then go around the outside of the building in a clockwise direction starting on the East wall and wafting the smoke towards the building walls as you walk around it. You always start in the East because in Native American culture the East represents the beginning cycle of life since the Sun rises in the East.

After smudging the outside of the building, you should begin smudging the inside starting from the uppermost level of the house. For the inside of the house it is recommended to use Sage Smudge. For each room, start at the doorway and direct the smoke completely around the door frame. Then enter the room and go around the edges of the room wafting the smoke against the wall up to the ceiling and down to the floor. Pay special attention to the four corners and also be sure to waft the smoke into closets and into any drawers and cabinets in the room. After going around the walls you can work your way towards the center of the room wafting the smoke towards the open windows and doors.

As you go around the house smudging each room, you want to make sure to get the smoke into every nook and cranny and then direct it out the open windows and doors. The mental image you should have as you smudge is as if you were fumigating the property for bugs, except instead of getting rid of bugs, you are getting rid of negative entities and energies. You should also say prayers either silently or out loud as you smudge each room, thanking God and your spirit guides for help and blessings and asking to bring positive energy, protection, and prosperity. If you want to really bring in the Native American traditions, you can also dance like a powerful animal and sing power songs as you smudge, but be very careful with the burning herbs.

When you are finished smudging, extinguish the burning Smudge sticks by tamping them in a pot of sand or ash. This is preferable to using water because it is less messy and also some tribes believe that the use of water during the Smudge ceremony is disrespectful. For any leftover ash, you should give it back to the Earth, so that it can be soil from which new life arises. You can show respect for Mother Earth as you sprinkle the ashes on the ground by thanking the herbs and the fire. As a last step to the Smudge ceremony, you should walk through the building with a white candle to “light up” the space.

Note that this description of the Smudge ceremony is merely a guideline and you are free to modify it as you see fit. You may leave certain parts out or change certain elements. The most important parts of smudging are that you do it when the time calls for it, show respect to all the elements of Mother Nature, pray to your Gods and spirit guides, and visualize the smoke cleaning and purifying the space and carrying away all the negative energy within the space.

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September 25, 2008

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What is the Smudge Ceremony

The Smudge ceremony is an age-old tribal tradition which has been used for centuries to bring harmony and peace. During the Smudge ceremony, smoke from burning herbs or incense is rubbed over a person, space, or object for cleaning and purification, protection of physical and spiritual bodies, and banishment of negative energies. This article will describe how to perform the Smudge ceremony on a person.

Why to Smudge Yourself (or Someone Else)

Smudging yourself can be used to restore physical, mental and emotional balance and to shield against negative energies. Smudging yourself on a daily basis can be very helpful in keeping yourself balanced and maintaining a peaceful state of being. After smudging yourself you will feel cleaner, lighter, calmer, and happier.

What is Needed to Smudge Yourself (or Someone Else)

For the Smudge ceremony, you will need smudge sticks (herbs that are tied into a bundle for easier handling), braided herbs and botanicals (like sweetgrass), or loose incense (burned on charcoal or in a fire pit). You will also need a proper container for the burning smudge (such as an Abalone shell or a heatproof bowl), a lighter or candle (to light the charcoal and/or smudge incense), and a willing participant (yourself or someone else). Optional items are a feather (for fanning the smoke) and any other sacred or magickal items you may wish to include in the ceremony (such as crystals or pendants). Some people like to listen to an appropriate mood setting music while smudging so you may also want to have a music player nearby. Last but not least, you should have a pot of sand or ash nearby to extinguish the burning herbs as well as easy access to water or a fire extinguisher just in case.

When to Smudge Yourself (or Someone Else)

The Smudge ceremony can be performed on a daily basis and is a great way to start the day feeling relaxed and full of positive energy. Smudging on a daily basis would be a very healthy habit to get into but you can still achieve benefits from it by doing it less frequently or only doing it when you feel you really need it. You should definitely smudge yourself after being around people who are ill, depressed, fearful, angry or generally emotionally unbalanced; when you’re feeling blue or depressed; or when you’ve been under a lot of stress. It’s also a good idea to perform the Smudge ceremony before meditation. Many people perform the Smudge ceremony as the first step before performing other rituals or ceremonies as it is the psychic equivalent of washing your hands before eating.

Where to Smudge Yourself (or Someone Else)

As a sacred and spiritual ritual, the Smudge ceremony should ideally be performed in a quiet, private place. Many people will have a separate room, or at least part of a room set aside for the Smudge ceremony. This space will often have an altar or table set up to hold all the items used in the ceremony, as well as to say prayers at before or after smudging.

How to Smudge Yourself (or Someone Else)

The first step in smudging is to choose which types and forms of incense you want to use for the smudging. Traditionally, smudging is performed with herb bundles known as Smudge wands or Smudge sticks, which can be made from several different types of plants such as Sage, Juniper, or Cedar. However, you may choose any type or form of incense, including loose incense burned over a charcoal.

After you have chosen which types and forms of incense you will use to smudge yourself, the next step is to get the smudge incense lit. Smudge sticks are most easily lit with a candle as it may take some time to get them burning. If you choose to use multiple plants so as to combine their properties or energies, you should make sure they are all burning before performing the smudge so that the smoke contains all their energies.

Once the Smudge incense is burning, you can begin wafting the smoke over your body with cupped hands, a feather, or a wing fan. You should try to rub the smoke over every part of your body, paying special attention to the Chakra points and areas that feel sore, wounded, or generally unhealthy. When you’re done, you may want to inhale a little of the smoke to purify your insides.

Techniques for Smudging Yourself (or Someone Else)

As a tribal tradition, the Smudge ceremony is performed in many different ways depending on each tribe’s beliefs and rituals. For example, one tribe may believe in rubbing the smoke over the body in a specific order or fashion, while another tribe may use an entirely different order or fashion. One way would be to start at the left foot (left being the receiving side of the body) moving the smoke up the left leg with the use of Peyote (feather), then proceeding up the central chakra line and around the top of the head, back down the center of the body, moving the smoke outwards to the sides and around the back, and finally finishing off by wafting the smoke down the right leg (right being the giving side of the body) and out and away from the right foot. Some traditions would do this four times, as four is the number of balance and harmony.

For someone not attached to a particular tribe or tradition, the techniques and rituals used while smudging is a matter of personal preference and many individuals add their own elements to the Smudge ceremony. Some people may chant specific prayers out loud during the smudge while others will simply say a silent personal prayer before or after smudging. Some may use a feather or wing fan to waft the smoke over their bodies while others use their cupped hands. Some people listen to music as they smudge while others prefer total silence. Some put the Smudge bowl on the ground and stand over it while others hold the bowl and move it around their body. Some people even smudge in the nude!

The specific techniques used for performing the Smudge ceremony are not important and are up to you. What is important is the act of actually doing it. Praying and visualizing while smudging is very important as well as the Smudge ceremony should be a spiritual experience. Smudging yourself should leave you feeling healthier both physically and spiritually!

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September 16, 2008

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  • The best way to light a smudge stick (also known as a smudge wand or smudge bundle) is to hold it over the open flame of a candle as it takes a while for the herbs to begin burning. A lighter will also suffice but a match will probably keep going out before the smudge bundle is burning sufficiently.
  • Once the smudge bundle is burning, fan the fire gently with a feather or your hands until it is burning enough to create sufficient smoke. Blowing on the smudge is not encouraged as it is seen as blowing one’s own negativity into the smoke.
  • Smudge incense should be burned to release its energy and fragrance, not to fill the room or your lungs with smoke. Burning excessive amounts can lead to respiratory distress or problems.
  • Avoid smudging in the room when infants, pregnant persons, asthmatic or allergy-prone people are present.
  • A smudging ceremony should be done in two stages. The initial smudging is for the purpose of purifying the space and participants and for banishing any unwanted energies. The final smudge is to cleanse any negative vibrations and energies attracted or created during the proceedings.
  • Rooms and psychic tools, such as crystals and other objects that hold energy, should be smudged/cleansed on a regular basis. It is also good to smudge oneself and one’s living space on a regular basis to maintain individual and domestic harmony.
  • It is recommended to have an altar or ritual space around which to center the smudging ceremony. The altar can be any makeshift table with candles to help light the smudge incense and create a spiritual ambience and crystals to attract positive energy.
  • The altar or ritual space should be cleansed via smudging both before and after it is used to smudge a person or object. Cleansing the ritual space is an essential part of spiritual hygiene.
  • It is advisable to pick a time for smudging when you’re not likely to be interrupted. You may also want to pick some appropriate music to play during the smudging ceremony.
  • If you’re going to be smudging with Sage, you may want to burn some good smelling incense at the beginning of the smudge ceremony to help cover the pot-like smell of the Sage.
  • Smudging should be done with care, with reverence, and in an attitude of love. Show your respect and honor to the plants that Mother Nature has gifted us for our healing, and they will return the favor by keeping you well and free from disease and negative energy.
  • When performing the smudge ceremony, you should envision the smoke carrying away any negative energy or physical injuries. You should also say a prayer and ask God or your spirit guides to assist in the cleansing and expel all negative energies and sickness. It may also be helpful to chant these prayers out loud and repeat them.
  • If the smudge looks like it is going out, fan it vigorously until it is smoking again. If it does go out, it is fine to just relight it again.
  • Sometimes smoldering pieces of ash from the smudge bundle or string that binds the smudge bundle will drop to the floor so to prevent burn spots on your floor, you should use a paper plate or something to catch the ash during the smudging.
  • When burning a smudge stick or braid, they will eventually go out on their own, but should you need to put them out quickly, you can tamp the end out in sand or soil, shaking off the excess. Using water is messy and not generally recommended.
  • Make sure the bowl/vessel you use can support the heat that will be produced so it will not crack.
    Remember that the container in which you burn your smudge may become warm enough to scorch a surface or burn your hand.
  • Never leave your smudge sticks, candles or charcoal unattended to avoid fire hazards!

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September 15, 2008

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The Smudge ceremony is the purifying of a person, space, or object by bathing them in the cleansing smoke of burning incense. The smoke is rubbed over the person, space, or object by gathering it with cupped hands or by wafting it with a feather. The 4 elements and 4 directions are an important part of the Smudge ceremony.

The 4 elements are Earth, Air, Water, and Fire. In Native American and other cultures, every incense herb and resin represents at least one of the 4 elements. Some tribes believe that all 4 elements should be represented when smudging, while others believe that Water should not be called into the Smudge ceremony because it cancels out the Fire element, hence why some tribes are against using an Abalone shell for smudging since the Abalone shell represents Water. Some incense herbs and resins can be considered general purpose and can represent all 4 elements, while other incense herbs and resins should be combined to complete the elements.

Native American medicine wheel

The medicine wheel (a circle cut into four quadrants) is a very important symbol in Native American culture. The medicine wheel represents the 4 elements, 4 directions, 4 seasons, and many other things.

Another way to look at it is that the incense herbs or resins that are burned represent Earth, the feather used for wafting the smoke represents Air (because it comes from a bird), the Abalone shell represents Water (because it comes from a sea creature), and the flame used for burning obviously represents Fire. You will need to decide for yourself what elements you would like to call into the Smudge ceremony when choosing which incense herbs or resins to burn and whether to burn them in an Abalone shell or an earthen container.

The 4 directions are another important aspect of Native American and other cultures. The 4 directions represent the stages of life. Since the Sun rises in the East, the East represents our birth and the beginning stage of life. The South represents the teenage years. Mid-life is represented by the West. Finally, we reach the North when we are old and ready to go to the Spirit World. The following is a Native American poem that pays tribute to the 4 directions:

“To the East, the Clarity of the rising Sun.
To the South, the Child where Light comes from.
To the West, the Introspection of the setting Sun.
To the North, the Wisdom where cold comes from.”

To offer reverence to the 4 directions while smudging, one should move the Smudge wand (burning bundle of herbs) or the burner holding the loosely burning incense in a clockwise motion to allow the smoke to circle around the 4 directions. For smudging a person or object, you should rub the smoke over the person or object in a clockwise direction. This could mean either going from head to right side to feet to left side while facing them or by circling around them in a clockwise direction while going up or down their body. For smudging a room, you should go around the perimeter of the room in a clockwise motion and work your way towards the center, wafting the smoke of the burning incense into all spaces of the room as you go.

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