There is nothing more effective, other than living a genuinely truthful, spiritually-centered and loving life, than smudging to purify the energy field of a person, place or thing. Smoke from a proper smudging clears the air. It removes bad energy, negative vibes, spirit haunting, heavy feelings, and deflects evil intentions. The proper use of smudge amounts to a good scrubbing of the auric body!
Although many different plants can be used for smudging, indigenous American tribes consider four plants to be especially sacred: sage, sweetgrass, tobacco, and cedar. Each plant is considered to have a special function and this can vary by tribe and tradition. While sage is used for purification and spiritual protection, sweetgrass is used to summon positive energies, and like tobacco, its smoke is considered to carry prayers to the Creator.
Before you engage in a smudging ceremony, however, there are things you should know and practices to adhere to so that you will receive the cleansing you seek. This article covers the use of sage for spiritual cleansing and negative energy removal.
Smudging with sage is a deeply spiritual practice and so prepare yourself to treat it as such. Fact is, modern people are habitually rushed and generally irreverent. When you supplicate the Creator of life, don’t be impatient or in a hurry. Be attentive to what you’re doing, be reverent, and be completely focused. Don’t chat, don’t have the television turned on or be talking on your cell phone. Create a quiet space before you begin.
Get in touch with your heart before doing this ceremony…this is not a head thing. It’s a heart thing. Muster up some love. Some trust. There is a great and very deep goodness inside of you; this is the time to let yourself feel that. You are stepping onto sacred ground, where wonderful things happen. Let the awe of the immensity of life have a place at your side as you conduct this ceremony. You are turning your back on the darkness of this world and turning into the Light of the Divine.
When to Smudge:
- When you are feeling down, negative, stuck, or in a spiritual low place;
- When your house, property, or any place or space has been exposed to heavy and negative energies or painful experiences and even illness;
- When you move into a new location, to cleanse the psychic imprints of previous occupants;
- Prior to invasive medical procedures;
- If you feel the presence of bad energy in living quarters or if a solitary room makes us uneasy by being in there;
- To create a protective barrier against outside negative influences, such as neighborhood issues, escalating conflicts, etc.;
- When you want to make prayers stronger and feel more connected to Spirit;
- After an accident or a close call in your car, smudge the vehicle inside and out to remove negative energetic imprints that can attract more negative experiences;
- To cleanse second-hand items to remove psychic imprints of previous owners;
- Prior to engaging in any psychic contact, using mind-altering substances (even medically prescribed medicines that alter consciousness), entering an altered state of consciousness such as channeling, mediumship, deliberate OBE’s, or engaging in other spiritual ceremony;
- For a state of spiritual clarity and personal guidance
What You Need:
- You will need a smudge stick sage bundle or loose-leaf sage. Sage, sweetgrass, and cedar combination can be purchased in a smudge stick but a plain sage stick will do (try desert sage or white sage), or loose sage if that’s all you have. What follows here will refer to a “sage stick” or “sage smudge”. If you have none of these, you can temporarily smudge with burning tobacco although I strongly recommend that you purchase sage and keep some on hand for a proper cleansing ceremony.
- You will need a fireproof bowl. (Traditional use dictates that this be an abalone shell but this is entirely optional.) You will use this to hold under the smoking sage stick to prevent accidental burns from loose embers, or to hold the loose, smoking sage.
- You will need a cigarette lighter, or wooden matches (longer kitchen matches are best), or a lighted candle.
Before You Begin:
- Open a good-size crack in the windows on each side of the dwelling you are in, if possible. If not on opposing sides, then open at least one window anyway. If you cannot open a window, then open the doors wide enough for some airflow. This allows the evacuation of negative energies that will flee the sacred smoke.
- Create a sacred space around this ceremony. Turn off the phone and all electronic noise. Tell others you cannot be interrupted. Clear a table of all clutter. Place the bowl and sage upon the cleared table, along with a lighted candle, if you want. Stand quiet and offer a prayer to the Divine Creator to assist you in your intention to purify the energy. You may certainly call upon angelic helpers and Divine Guides to be with you. Offer thanks to this very special plant. Focus on the cleansing, purification, and protection of the energy field around you, the dwelling, or whatever the object of your smudging ceremony happens to be. Don’t rush, and open yourself to trust in Divine Spirit. You may not understand this undertaking but it works and it works best when undertaken with respect.
How to Smudge:
This is an abbreviated ceremony for average people, not familiar with this spiritual practice or not trained in the shaman’s way. What matters most is that you are focused, prayerful, and reverent.
1. Holding sage stick over a fireproof bowl, light the end of the stick until it starts to flame. Blow out the flame and continue to blow the embers until they begin to smoke. At all times keep the stick over the bowl and pay attention to any embers that may fall outside the bowl. (Obviously, you want to be sure they have gone cold before you turn your attention elsewhere.)
2. You will want to hold both the bowl and the smudge stick in one hand if you can, so you can fan the smoke with your other free hand. Practice this technique a bit before lighting the smudge stick.
3. If you are smudging a dwelling, begin at the front and work your way to the back. You will want to smudge all rooms, attic and basement, cupboards and closets, and especially all corners. Be sure to include the bathroom(s). Holding the bowl under the smoking stick, blow on the stick as needed to keep the smoke rising, and re-light the stick when necessary. You need to have a visible trail of rising smoke as you work. As you walk through the dwelling, use your free hand to fan the smoke in each room, high and low, paying special attention to all four corners. (Negative energy collects in tight places and tends to “hide” there as well.) Say a verbal prayer to the Creator, asking for the area to be cleansed and purified of negativity. While you are asking, also give thanks that that you are receiving this help.
4. If you are smudging yourself, begin by holding the bowl and stick in front of your heart/chest area. Continue to pray that any negative energy be removed and that you be cleansed and protected, helped and healed. As with cleansing a space or thing, also give thanks that you are receiving this help. Wave the smoking stick up from your heart, over your head, down your face and neck, down shoulders, arms, to the ends of your fingers, top and bottom. Beginning again at the heart area, swirl the smoking stick around your tummy, pelvis, both legs and under your feet. Turn yourself around in the smoke so that your back side is also completely bathed in this sacred smoke.
5. When you have finished, give thanks to the Creator and to the plant for the cleansing. This is also a good time to give thanks for all the good things in your life. Please don’t forget to sincerely express your gratitude.
6. Crush and grind the tip of the smudge stick into the fireproof bowl to extinguish the embers. As an extra measure of safety, when you are finished, feel the end of the stick to make sure it is thoroughly cooled. Set the stick, inside the bowl, in a safe place away from anything flammable for awhile. (A porcelain stove top in the kitchen is a good location to place the bowl until you are sure the stick is cold.)
7. Now you can close the windows and/or doors, and begin to enjoy the blessed and purified energy. You will feel the difference immediately.
And finally, when you empty the bowl of smudge ashes or get down to a tiny stub of the stick and want to toss out what’s left, please do not dispose of the sacred plant remainders into the the garbage. Instead, scatter the ashes and left-over smudge bits into a flower bed or under a tree, or another suitable earth spot, offering it back to the earth with sincere gratitude.
This age-old sacred ritual is a precious gift handed down for you to take into your life, to use it to keep spiritual darkness at bay. Learning the reverent and proper way to smudge will bring purification into your spiritual body and surroundings, as well as bring spiritual help into your life. Done frequently and reverently, it will serve as your guardian and reliable connection to the Divine.
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