the art of the smudge

There is a full moon eclipse on its way and today also happens to be April 4 (04/04-- a potent day for Universal support and guidance...) and that means its a powerful time to focus on letting go and embracing the new. With Divine support and guidance on your side, it is the ideal time to release anything toxic (things you may be holding on to from the past (physically or emotionally), old beliefs systems, habits and things) and/or to let go of things you have completed in your life.  

Personally as of late,  I have been drawn to cleanse my world through this almost obsessive urge to organize and declutter my world while simultaneously experiencing a heightened awareness of certain behaviours, thought patterns and beliefs which no longer serve me and that I feel I am ready to and need to release. Although the transition between the old and the new can be uncomfortable, I know I am being guided to let go and the timing feels pretty perfect for all of this to be happening. So, alongside the season of renewal, under the full moon energy and with the Universe on my side, I'm focused and ready to release and cleanse my world both physically and emotionally; to help my efforts I will do some smudging!

...a traditional white buffalo sage smudge stick (left), a loose leaf smudge mix with rose, cedar & sage in a shell burning pot (middle), and a traditional eagle feather wafting stick (right).

What is Smudging? 

"Smudging" is the common name given to a powerful cleansing technique from the Native American tradition; however, the burning of herbs for emotional, psychic, and spiritual purification is a common practice among many religious, healing, and spiritual traditions. It is a ceremonial way to cleanse a person, place or an object of negative energies or influences. It is also an effective method for energizing or blessing a person, place or object.

Smudging can be useful when you're feeling depressed, angry, resentful, unwell or after you have had an argument with someone. You can smudge any space-- your home or work space as part of spring housecleaning (I like doing this at every change of seasons), and you can also release all kinds of objects of any negative or lingering energy with smudging.

Herbs For Smudging

There are many ways to smudge and many different herbs that you can use; Sage is probably the most popular herb for smudging, followed by Sweet Grass. When the herbs used for smudging are tied into a bundle and dried they are called a "smudge stick". TO smudge, you can use a smudge stick, loose leafs or smudge spray (see links on where to buy below). I personally like a loose mix with white buffalo sage, rose and cedar however, there are wide variety of herbs that will support different intentions. 

Sage can be used for general purposes. The word sage or salvia comes from the Latin word salvare, which means "To Heal.” Sage has long been used for smudging to promote purification, protection, longevity, and immortality. Studies have shown that the smoke of burning sage literally changes the ionization polarity of the air. Its element is air.

Cedar was offered to the fire to smudge the lodge and people. Its smoke is wafted to ward away sickness

Rose flowers and petals are used for meditation, divination and increasing intuitive abilities and communication. Traditionally the rose is associated with attracting love, conferring peace, stimulating sexual appetites and enhancing beauty. The element is primarily water. The scent is heavy, warm and aromatic with a hint of sharpness that lasts a long time after burning.

Getting Started...

Set an intention before you smudge and hold it clearly in your mind. Smudging should be done with care, with reverence and in an attitude of love. 

To light your loose smudge mixture or smudge stick, it is recommended to use a candle flame, as it may take a little time to get the stick or mixture smoking. Once the smudge is lit, blow it out so that it is smoldering, not burning --be careful not to blow ash everywhere. 

Smudging Yourself, Another or an Object.

To smudge yourself or another, fan the smoke around your body from head to toe. For this I use a traditional Native smudging feather however, using your hand is just as effective. You may want to especially focus the smoke toward areas where you feel there are blockages or where there has been or is physical, emotional, or spiritual pain. As you fan the smoke toward these areas, imagine it lifting away all the negative thoughts, emotions and energies that have attached themselves to you. If you are feeling depressed, for instance, you could visualize the smoke carrying away all your feelings of depression.

You may want to speak an intention or a suggestion for the smudging as you do it. 

For objects, fan the smoke over the object holding or stating your intention as you do. 

Smudging a Room or Space

Light the smudge stick or smudge mixture as suggested above, and walk about the perimeter, giving special attention to the corners and the places behind doors. You can also use your feather here to fan the smoke throughout the room. For doorways and windows, start from the bottom right and make your way up and to the left. If you are amenable to the notion, you should state a prayer of gratitude for the cleansing and keep in mind your intention of removing any negatively inclined energy from the area during the ritual; I usually say out loud "cleanse this space of the negative energy it holds and let it be replaced with love and light" 

Smudging is very simple, affordable and quick and yet holds lasting positive effects. It's a great cleansing activity for full or new moons (to help clear the old and make way for the new), to incorporate into your seasonal cleaning activities and a great way to get rid of "weird vibes" on any given day, as they come up. I smudge my home with each change of season and whenever I feel like it needs a little more light and love infused into it. I keep a spray smudge on my desk at work which I use almost daily to cleanse my office and to rid of any weird energy I feel within or around me (lets face it, the corporate world holds alot of weird vibes). 

You can buy your smudge supplies at a variety of new age specialty boutiques in and around the city. Some of my favourites are Spirit of the Earth in Canmore, Fallen Angel Creations and The Divine Mine.

I wish you all an amazing 04/04 full moon eclipse! I hope you all take advantage of the energy that is available for you for cleansing and releasing. Remember to be kind to yourself while these energies are present and to be patient and kind with those around you- stay hydrated, stay positive and stay focused on all the wonderful things to come! 

With Love & Light, 

.cjd