The Sacred Act of Smudging



Energy governs this world and every object within it, including our bodies and the environment around us. Sometimes we may feel uneasy or depressed due to negative and stagnant energy. These blockages can eventually manifest into physical ailments and disease. Clearing energy blockages from the human body with healing techniques such as Reiki is a great practice, yet we tend to forget the significance of clearing the energy of spaces.

We've all heard the saying, “You could have cut the tension with a knife!” Have you ever walked into a room and sensed that things were just not right? Feeling as if maybe there had just been an argument in the space? Sensing lower vibrations in a space is your spirit's natural defense mechanism. Positive ions can build up when there is tension, stress or anger in a room. When they are released, the energy that surrounds us becomes stagnant. This is when a thorough cleansing is in order.

Smudging is the common name given to the act of burning specific plants for energetic clearing and purification. The smoke can transform positive ions back into negative ones, purifying and cleansing the atmosphere. When you perform a smudging ritual you are plugging in to an ancient, powerful line of spiritual tradition that has existed across history, regions and cultures. However, the same herbs that are burned by one culture may be taboo to burn in another, or they may be used for a completely different purpose. When specific herbs are burned ceremonially, this may or may not be called "smudging", depending on the culture.

People all over the world have been using plants to generate smoke that seems to produce beneficial effects. Smoke was often used to drive off insects and to prevent disease. Science supports that burning sage for one hour removes 94% of bacteria in the air thus improving air quality. The smoke is antimicrobial and can reduce various types of infection. Chinese Moxibustion (the burning of mugwort) is used to strengthen the blood, stimulate the flow of qi, and maintain general health.

“Nature understands fire and smoke better than words.” - Alfred Savinelli. Smoke also is deeply symbolic - it ascends to the heavens, as if bringing any prayers and intentions up to God(dess) with it. From the sage and cedar of the Indigenous Americans to the frankincense burning of the Catholic church, the smoke generated by plants has a primordial history of use as part of spiritual practice.

Smudging was believed to be used as a powerful cleansing technique with origins as far back as 1500 BC. Evidence of ancient Egyptians using herbs burned in religious ceremonies were inscribed on tablets. The most commonly known form of smudging involves the burning of White Sage (Salvia apiana), a shamanic practice developed by Indigenous Americans.

Today, individuals choose to smudge for various reasons. Whether it be to clear a space for meditation, ritual or as a part of a cleaning routine, what you use to energetically clear a space depends on your location and what plants you have access to. Regardless of your cultural or spiritual background, it is extremely important to show gratitude and honor to our ancestors for the gift of this ritual, with respect to the various cultural contributions to the act.

In my own practice, I choose to intuitively select seasonally available plants to hand-assemble into smudge bundles. I combine herbs and flowers after lengthy research of each plant's physical and spiritual properties, then pray for divine guidance throughout the creation process. Crafted and charged during the new moon, I pair each bundle with a curated crystal to amplify its clearing effects.

I encourage you to develop a smudging practice that helps you to establish positive environments where you can thrive. As always, I'm here to help! Handmade Crystal Smudge Bundles will be added to our collection next month!

With love and gratitude,

Maureen


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