Smudging is a powerful practice! But why is smudging so powerful? The answer lies in the world of spiritual energy. Homes and bodies are not just made of just the physical matter; they also vibrate with quiet, invisible energy. Cleansing a space or ourselves with techniques such as smudging helps cleanse away all the emotional and psychic ‘trash’ that may have gathered over the last few days, months, years or even hundreds of years. In a very real way, it is a form of spiritual spring cleaning! Additionally, smudging can turn any space, no matter where, into a calming sanctuary – a place of renewal and increased happiness by clearing the energy of the space.
Smudging and Blessing Herbs
The use of sage is for healing. The smoke is used to bless, cleanse and heal the person or object being smudged. Sage is used to 'wash off' the outside world when one enters ceremony or other sacred space. Objects are likewise washed off with sage medicine smoke to rid them of unwanted influences.The plants that are called sage can come from very different families of plants. True sages are in the genus of Salvia; this includes Salvia Officinalis (garden sage) and Salvia Apiana (White Sage), also called California White Sage and Sacred Sage. Many of the herbs called sage come from a completely different family of plants, the Asteracea family. This family brings us the genus of Artemisia from which come New Mexico Sage (Artemisia tridentada), and the sage from the Dakotas (Artemisia ludoviciana), also called Grey sage, Prairie sage, Dakota sage, Lakota Sage and mistakenly sometimes called White sage. All of these sages (Salvia and Artemisia) are used for healing and cleansing. More can be learned from the book Sacred Sage, How It Heals.
The act of smudging is also done with a smudge bowl or Abalone Shell with the appropriate herbs directly lit or burned on a coal or Charcoal Tablet. When using charcoal tablets, the bowl or shell should be filled with sand or a flat stone to prevent overheating the container. Smudging is also done with herbs tied in bundles called Smudge Sticks. In either case the smoke is 'washed' over the person or object with a Feather or by fanning the smoke with one's hand.