Friday, January 30, 2015

Smudging: A Cleanse for New Beginnings


Much has happened to me in the past couple months, most very painful and difficult to talk about. With these trials there have been silver linings but they were only there if I  was willing to see them. One of the two I found is my new apartment which I share with two roommates. More than the apartment itself my room has become a safe haven. A place where I feel healthy, alive and inspired. It is truly a beautiful space and eventually I will post some pictures of it, but I wanted to write this post first in light of a new year, new beginnings and spiritual cleansing in order to accept all these changes.

Smudging is the ceremonial burning of a bundle of dried sacred herbs, typically sage and cedar though other dried herb can be used. The stick itself is called a smudge. This is a native american ritual, which resonates deeply with me and my Choctaw ancestry and my love of nature and oneness with the earth. It is also a deeply healing process, it helps clear negative energy and research has shown that when burned certain herbs are linked to more positive moods through the release of negative ions. Of course we see similar practices in many religious rituals such as priests burning incense. It is a very releasing and purifying experience to be surrounded by and breathing in an herb as sacred as sage.

Different types of wands (White Sage also called Sacred Sage, and Lavender Sage)
I use a mix of lavender and sage as I find the scent more soothing. There are very specific ways to go about smudging and while I encourage you to do it whatever way fits you I also would encourage you to experience it in the traditional way at least once. You can purchase smudge wands online or even at Whole Foods and I strongly recommend going with a brand that is sustainably harvested and supports Native American agriculture.

I smudged my new room to dispel any negative energies and to recharge my space with positive forces. Sage and Cedar are known for their clarifying and strength inducing essence. Lavender is refreshing, soothing and grounding. These herbs have been used for centuries in medicinal and culinary recipes and for certain never go out of style.

Smudge around doorways, windows and other entrances 
 Before you begin, crack open a window or door (  I chose window so as to avoid smoking out my  roommates) Be aware that the scent could raise  questions so explain what you are doing if you  think someone will be offended. Place your  herbs in a ceramic bowl or abalone shell, light  the tip with a wooden match and then gently  blow out the flame, allowing the herbs to  smolder. Breath in some of the smoke and allow  it to waft over you, metaphorically cleansing  yourself in it.  Begin on the left side of your door  and work your way around your room staying to  the left. Say a prayer, set an intention or simply  focus on the cleansing process as you allow the  smoke to surround the important places in your  home. I go around all window sills, my bed, desk  and other places that I spend time in. Finally  arrive at whatever window or door you left open  and allow the smoke to flow outdoors, expelling  the negative and allowing the positive to enter.  You can dip the smudge in some water or allow  it to burn out. Once done take the ashes and  place them on your front doorstep or windowsill to protect your home, you do not want to keep the ashes as they are the leftovers from your cleanse (it would be like keeping dirty bath water) once you are content with your ritual return the ashes to the earth. At this point you can either continue with your day or, as in traditional practices, you can have a feast to celebrate your home and all that is good in it. And who doesn't love an excuse to feast!



0 comments:

Post a Comment