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  • Tara Link, LCSW, CADC

An ancient practice & a practical tool

Looking for a quick practical way to energize your spirit, your space, and clear out negativity?

Put SMUDGING in your kit of self-care tools!

Growing up, my family embraced their Native American roots and I remember waking up to the earthly aroma of burning cedar moving through our home but never thought too much into it. I later understood the significance behind this practice and that the sacred act my father was performing was called smudging.

So what exactly is Smudging?

Smudging is an ancient spiritual practice often used during ceremonies or as part of a ritual that involves burning a small amount of herbs or resins for energetic cleansing of a person’s aura, health purposes, and space purification. Smudging is a daily practice for some but is especially useful when you’re feeling depressed, anxious, negative, struggling with low energy/vibration, wanting to set a new intention/goal, and after a major change to let go and move forward with positive energy.

This practice has been around for hundreds of years but was often discounted as “woo woo” or “witchy” until recently with scientific research proving all the enormous health and spiritual benefits.

There are various forms of smudging rituals depending on the culture and tradition. Most often in Native American tradition, Sage, a perennial plant revered for centuries for its medicinal value, is used due to its strong ability to not only cleanse our emotional and energetic body but also for its powerful health benefits which includes purifying the air of harmful bacteria (keep infectious bacteria, viruses, and fungi at bay!), boosting cognition (concentration, focus, attention; now proven to help with Alzheimer’s symptoms!), and strengthening the immune system.

The plants below are also used for smudging and each one carries a specific purpose:

Cedar: To let go of fear and enhance courage during difficult times

Rosemary: To release heartache and sadness

Sweetgrass: To connect with ancestors whom have passed; connection to spiritual world

Pine: To protect from negative energy

Mugwort: To develop clarity and confidence

Lemongrass: To remove obstacles and challenges

Lavender: For stress reduction, inner peace and relaxation

How to smudge?

You will need:

  • A sage bundle (bundle of chosen herbs) or smudge stick already made (can purchase at local health or spiritual shop)

  • A seashell or ceramic bowl to extinguish fire

What do I do next?

With clear intention and a focused mind, light the smudge stick to catch fire, quickly and gently blow out the fire (or extinguish in ceramic bowl) and let the smoke billow from the stick. Direct the smoke around all areas of your body then walk into each room of your home or space while doing the same. Using a large feather can help direct the smoke. While allowing the smoke to move around you, it is helpful to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and connect to your heart. Make sure to extinguish the smudge stick entirely into your ceramic bowl and check to ensure no embers are burning.

Most importantly, treat this ritual with respect & gratitude.

Happy Smudging 2019!

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