Along with my anthropological work and experiences shared with many indigenous communities, the Sacred smoke created from burning medicinal or sacred plants is an aspect of many cultures and religions the world over. In Shamanic Traditions, it is a practice common to Indigenous Peoples and is called smudging. Many, but not all, Indigenous cultures smudge but may have different beliefs associated with the smoke, and different approaches, also it’s given by the environment and weather. For instance in Colombia is well known the “Copal” Frankincense.
In this article, I am giving a general definition, intentions, intention of each one of the sacred plants, bouquet preparation, and smudging practice for cleansing, learnt along the years on the shamanic sacred path.
Smudging is traditionally a ceremony for purifying or cleansing the soul of negative thoughts of a person or place. There are four elements, following most of the cosmovisions of many indigenous cultures with the medicine wheel.
The container, traditionally a shell representing water, is the first element. The four sacred plants (cedar, sage, sweetgrass, tobacco), gifts from mother earth, represent the second element, and many more explained below. The fire produced from lighting the sacred plants represents the third element. The smoke produced from the fire represents air, the fourth element.
During a smudge plant leaves or stems are placed in the container and ignited (preferably with a wooden match). The flames are then gently blown out and the smoke, which heals the mind, heart and body, is wafted over the person, either by hand or with an eagle feather. The person being smudged pulls the smoke to them and gently inhales the smoke. The ashes traditionally are returned to mother earth by disposing them outside on bare soil – it is believed that the negative thoughts and feelings have been absorbed by the ashes. A person can smudge themselves, or, someone can lead a smudge by holding the container and directing the smoke over others.
Smudging is also used to clear negative energy from rooms and homes:
If you have moved into a new place, or have had an argument in your home, you might want to give it a smudge to cleanse the air. To prepare the room, cover mirrors, close windows, open doors (including cupboards), and turn off all electronics……..You start on the left side of the door and you stay to the left all the way through the house or apartment, while praying the whole time. With the smoke, you ask for the good spirits to stay and the negative spirits to go away,” “When you get to the front, you shoot the smoke out the front door and then you wait a minute or two.
🌿Burning white sage, to transmute the energy of the spaces.
🌿Burning Juniper, to energize the body and mind.
🌿Burn Mugwort, to have lucid dreams
🌿Burning Cedar, to bless new houses or spaces
🌿Burns rosemary and lavender, to remove all viruses, bacteria or disease from the environment.
🌿 Burns Rue (Ruda), to ward off bad energy.
🌿Burn Cinnamon, to give you calm and tranquility.
🌿Burn Mint, to calm your thoughts.
🌿Burning Bay Leaf, to attract abundance and economic prosperity.
🌿Burns garlic peel, to drive away all bad vibes and envy.
🌿Burning Rock Palm, to harmonize and bring sweetness.
🌿Burn Tobacco, to purify your spirit, cleansing spaces, harmonize energy..so much more for this GrandFather Tobacco.
🌿Burning Copal ( Frankincense), to purify and protect
Remember you are your own medicine, turn on your (Sahumador ) Incense Burner.
How to make a Bouquet? ( There are so many but its they way I do , I know some beautiful people add rose petals and so much more..
We bless the plant that we are going to cut and we are grateful for the service it will provide to work in our cleaning and harmonization.
We cut the plants that we are going to use from the base. It is better if we choose equal parts of all species to match the aroma. If we feel like we want to intuitively add a new species, welcome it, our intuition doesn’t fail!
Group the herbs so that the lengths are similar, making an even bouquet.
Make a knot at the base and then begin to wind the entire bouquet with a thread that will keep the herbs together while we burn them.
Wind the entire bouquet with the thread, tight. It is important to make it fairly closed so that the leaves do not leak or fall off.
Almost ready! Now you have to resist the urge to use it and let it dry in a dry and dark place, or in the sun (the important thing is that it does not get moisture). When you use it, light the tip with a match preferably, let the herbs burn for a moment, and then blow the fire. It will start to smoke, which will be the one you will use for cleansing. Bring a seashell or clay dish with you when you stop by the house to collect the ash the herbs will leave behind when burned.
With your hands or a pen guide the smoke towards the body, the object, or the area that you want to purify. Clean anything you feel you need, including rooms and objects. If other family members agree, you can clean up people and pets.
Keep your purpose in mind while cleaning. Focus on healing and cleansing and invite positive energy to come into your home.
Establish and maintain a schedule for cleansing. Many people clean four times a year, when the seasons change, to keep energy positive and beneficial. In addition to regularly scheduled cleanings, you can clean your home when someone becomes ill or depressed, or immediately before any ritual or ceremony in your home.
Let the herb bouquet burn and bury it outside to get rid of the dense energies back to Mother Earth
LOVE & BLESSINGS
Alex -Active member of the ( “Muisca” Indigenous Tradition Colombia)