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The Sacred Art of Smudging

For me, it's been a long and challenging winter so I am extremely happy that Spring has finally arrived! To usher in the new season and drive away any negative energy that might be lingering in my home I'm going to cleanse my house with dried white sage, also known as The Sacred Art of Smudging. Smudging has been used for thousands of years and is a part of Shaman practice, used by Native Americans. The teachings of Shamanism focus on the connection to nature and promote the well-being of all creation. Similarly to yoga and meditation, smudging allows you to effect the subtle spiritual energies that exist all around us. My goal and intention when performing this ritual is to wash away all of the emotional and spiritual negativity that has gathered both within me and my space over the last few months.

You might be super curious right now and want to know how exactly to master the sacred art of smudging. Don't worry, I've got you covered.

Now, before you get started, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Be open. This is very important, actually the most important part of this whole process. Your mind, heart and soul must be open to change and positive energy.

  • Tidy up the area you are planning to smudge. Clutter can block the flow of positive energy.

  • Have proper ventilation. All doors (including closet doors) and some windows should be open, allowing clean air to enter, ensuring the entire space is cleansed of negative energy.

What you'll need:

  • Dried sage. Sage represents the earth element and when burned, the smoke from it represents the air.

  • Candle and Lighter. Which represents the fire element.

  • Fireproof container. To hold your sage. Traditionally an Abalone shell is used but you can use a regular shell or any fireproof container. The shell represents the water element.

Optional Items:

  • Drum(s) or sacred drumming music, which represents the beat of the heart

  • Feather. This represents the air element

What to do:

Step 1

Set an intention. I do this when I go to yoga and the same rule applies when it comes to smudging. Remember, there is no tool more powerful than the tool of intention. Use the intention to create a 'mantra'. Focus on clearing out the negative energy. It is extremely important to repeat your mantra (either in your head or out loud) throughout the ritual, without doing this you are simply just waving smoking herbs around your house. Your mantra can simply be Om, which is the most basic, universal and powerful mantra you can chant. I use Om both when smudging and when practicing yoga, it creates positive vibrations in your lower abdomen and is said to be "the sound of the universe". You can make the intention and mantra as simple or complex as you wish.

Step 2

Make yourself an alter by placing the above items listed on a surface. You can simply just use a table or you can dedicate a specific surface for this to make it more ceremonial.

Step 3

Light the candle and focus on your intention and repeat (in your head or out loud) your mantra.

Step 4

Now, light the tip of your sage stick with the candle flame. Wave the sage in the air until it begins to smoke. You might have to re-light your sage bundle a few times during the ritual process.

Step 5

Use your fireproof container or shell under the sage to catch any ashes or material that might fall as it burns. If you have a feather (or using your hands) disperse the smoke making sure to get into all corners, across doorways and into shadow spaces, including closets and laundry rooms. Traditionally smudging involves a 4 direction ceremony, North, East, South and West. I don't generally do this but it's something you can totally do if you want to stay true to the Shaman ceremony.

Step 6 Continue reciting your mantra. Don't lose your intention and stay connected to the ritual.

Step 7

Once the space has been successfully cleansed, you can let the rest of the sage burn as incense or you can snuff it out using dirt or sand. If you can, bury the remnants in your yard or garden.

Step 8

After the ritual is complete, make sure to fill your space with love and positive energy.

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