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Smudging is the common name given to the indigenous American tradition known as the Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing. This is a powerful spiritual cleansing technique which calls upon the spirits of various sacred plants to drive away negative energy and to restore balance to an individual, a group, a space, or all three. This tradition has been a part of the spirituality of indigenous Americans for thousands of years, and now this cleansing ritual is available to anyone who is willing to give it a try. The ritual is very simple and very empowering, and you don't need a lot of expensive equipment to start doing it in your own home.
Perhaps you are wondering why smudging is effective? It is because it allows you to effect the world of subtle spiritual energies using the spirits of various powerful, healing plants. If you have ever worked with yoga or meditation, you will understand that your body, and indeed, the spaces that you occupy, vibrate with invisible energy currents that can be strongly effected by outside forces, both physical and spiritual.
Smudging allows you to wash away all the emotional and spiritual negativity that gathers in your body and your space over time. It's a little bit like taking a spiritual shower! The effects of smudging can be very effective, often banishing stress almost instantly and providing energy and peace. Smudging can also help your body and space to adjust to the healing rhythms of the seasonal cycle. More than anything, though, smudging can turn your space, and your body, into a peaceful, beautiful temple in which you can rejuvenate yourself and fine happiness.The History of Smudging
Smudging has only come into the general Western consciousness in the past few decades, so it may seem strange and "new age-y" to some. However, smudging is a traditional that goes back thousands of years. In a way, it is like the indigenous American form of incense use. When you perform a smudging ritual you are plugging in to an ancient, powerful line of spiritual tradition.
Indeed, peoples the world over have been using plants to generate smoke that seems to produce beneficial effects. Smoke was often used to drive off insects and to prevent disease. Smoke also is deeply symbolic - it ascends to heaven, as if bringing any prayers and intentions up to the gods with it. From the incense of Asia and Europe to the sage and cedar of the indigenous Americans, the smoke generated by plants has a primordial history of use as part of spiritual practice.North American Smudging
Originally, herbs and resins were placed in a special bowl and burned, or were burned over the smoldering coals of a fire. Smudge sticks allow for an easy and portable way of cleansing that is just as effective. Smudge sticks are composed of bundles of dried herbs tied together with colored thread. Traditionally, sage and sweetgrass are used. Sage drives away negative energies and influence, and sweetgrass attracts positive energy to the space from which the negative energy was banished.
Smudging is a way of connecting the material plane to the realm of the spirits. And, in fact, any sort of fragrant, medicinal herb can be used in smudging. Some tribes use cedar as a way of carrying prayers up to heaven. Lavender can provide a calming and soothing energy in a chaotic situation. These days, it is possible to purchase very high quality pre-made smudging bundles
so that you can easily begin practicing this powerful ritual, or you can create your own smudge bundle from fresh herbs that grow in your area. Through exploration and practice you are sure to come to understand the powers and uses of different types of plants, and by connecting to this ancient tradition you are sure to benefit fully from their power!