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Resins, Gums, Burnables - Smudging

Smudging or the burning of sacred herbs is a common practice in many healing ceremonies and shamanic traditions. Its a way of purifying and cleansing a space, person or an object of negative energies or influences. Burning certain herbs gives access to the power of the plants and the fragrance releases a high vibrational energy which protects the physical and spiritual bodies. Sage is the most commonly used herb in ceremonies. Some of the other herbs used are – Copal, palo santo, sweetgrass, cedar, tobacco. The herbs used for smudging are tied into a bundle and allowed to dry to make a “smudge stick”. In traditional societies the herbs used for smudging are considered sacred and the smudge stick is treated with great respect. Smudge stick is fanned around the person’s body several times with the intent to cleanse the energy fields.

Smudging has been a ritual and ceremonial practice used by cultures around the world since humans have existed. The Native Americans have used the earths plants, both fresh and dry, for healing. Plants are known to carry their own energy, just as our bodies and surroundings do. The art of smudging, with burning dry sage herbs and focusing on our own ritual and prayers, helps to clear negative unwanted energy where ever we focus. Smudging cleanses, rebalances and opens fresh energy and spirit so our life and chakra energy continues to flow much like an open river so we can move forward. Stagnant old energy holds our spirits and self back from living an energetic authentic life! 

Smudging is a personal ritual as well as the prayers that we say. For smudging one generally will use an abalone shell or clay bowl to hold the sage. Matches made of wood from the earth, not a man made lighter. Much like a bonfire, sage needs air to burn .A sacred smudging feather from Mother Nature to send air and wind to the burning plant as well as the sage you would like to burn. Feel connected to your smudging feather and sage.

Different tribes use different plants for their rituals and prayers. Juniper and cedar and sweet grass are very powerful for moving out negative energy in your life, home and surroundings. Then use California white sage, Desert, Sacred sage, Sacred Feather, Blue, Yerba Santa, Dakota Black, and Mugwort, Lavender and Rosemary are some of the popular smudge sages used to bring balance, peace and fresh energy to your life. Resins such as copal, amber and frankincense may also be added in to a smudge blend to be burned in the bowl. One may use a charcoal tablet to burn mixed herbs in a shell or one may choose to smudge with a smudging stick or wand.

When smudging, light your sage and fan the sage with your feather as you move around a person or space. The smoke represents prayers going out in to the Universe. Speak your prayers or wants as you smudge. The medicine wheel is an important part of the smudging ritual. There are 4 points of the Medicine Wheel. North, South, East and West which stand for a Strong Spirit Animal Guardian- the White Buffalo, Coyote, Eagle and Grizzly Bear – all connected to the four elements- Earth, Water, Air and Fire. You can call on the energy of the 4 guardians when smudging, in these 4 patterns. Face or move around a person or surrounding from each direction, calling on the Spirit Animal and Element.

North direction aligns with the Animal Spirit of White Buffalo. It is grounding, protective-gives knowledge of life and death. It also aligns with the Earth element.
South direction aligns with the Coyote which represents clever, quick minded and governs the emotion and the Water element.

East direction aligns with the Eagle which represents Inspirational, far- sighted, fiercely protective- clarifies. It aligns with the Air element.

West direction aligns with the Grizzly Bear which represents energetic, strong, powerful, determined- cleanses and the Fire element.

As you smudge you will cleanse the energy. The more you smudge the more clear your life will become and you will move forward. Smudging is a personal ritual and prayer which belongs to you. Face each 4 direction and embrace the meaning of the animal, element and attributes of choose your power direction. Cleansing you and your space is very powerful for your life and warrior spirit in connecting to life and earth.

Smudging Feathers

Smudging feathers are gifts from Mother Earth and the winged animals of nature. A smudging feather is an honorable possession and should be treated with respect. Bless and smudge it to honor it. Different species of birds, colors, added jewels and the honorary wrapping from another animals leather hide brings power to the owner and smudging ritual. Our Native American artist Tom Ashley makes many of our feathers. He can make a special one for you. Just ask!
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
Outside of spiritual preparation, there are many reasons to smudge. Below are some of the reasons why people smudge to clear their space or person:

Sending prayers and offerings to the Heavens

Have you ever smelled the incense burning at Easter in certain Christian churches? That’s usually frankincense and it’s burned to purify and send prayers to God. Many practices and cultures send their intentions through smoke as the avenue to the gods.

Eliminate unwanted spirits

For millennium, cultures have used smoke to rid their space of unwanted spirits. With the veil so thin these days, even more people are having spirit encounters, using a smudging ritual as a tool to clear their space of these unwanted visitors. Personally, I’ve never encountered a spirit that intentionally wanted to do me harm. Certainly some have been inappropriate with their timing, impatient, confused or frustrated, but so was my ex-husband. You should never be afraid if you encounter a spirit. It could just be grandma dropping in to say hello, just like she has for years. It’s you who are awakening to finally interact with her.

Ridding a person or space of negative energy

Have you ever had someone in your home who was less than positive? I think we all have spent time with that negative Nate or Nancy, feeling a little off, down or exhausted whether the interaction was in person or via phone. Smudging yourself after these encounters gives you an energetic lift.

Releasing energetic attachments

We build relationships in our life with our family, friends, work associates and roommates. They do not call these bonds or ties for no reason, because that bond is actually an energetic connection to that person that strengthens over time. If I’ve learned anything in life it’s that nothing is permanent. As part of our continued journey, we both build new relationships while severing old ones. Whether the relationship was of a romantic nature, friendship, roommate or work related, smudging will assist in breaking those energetic bonds so all parties can continue to move forward.

Smudging Materials

When people today think about smudging, they typically envision leaves bound with string into a small bundle, called a smudge stick. Depending on your intentions and culture, there are many plants, herbs, resins and oils used to clear and cleanse, including:

White Sage – From the Latin root salvare, which means to save, rescue, safeguard, protect and defend, this is the most common sacred material used in Native American rituals. It is known best for driving out lower vibrational energy, negative emotions and thoughts. It’s become more mainstream in western culture and is most commonly used in the smudging ceremonies that we’re now all familiar with.
Cedar – Used in Native ceremonies, it represents the harmony between the Earthly and the Spiritual planes.
Juniper – Coming from the cypress family is believed to purify and create safety.
Palo Santo – Known as a mystical tree, it’s related to frankincense, myrrh and copal and is known for its grounding properties as it raises vibrational frequency for deeper connections to Source.
Sweet Grass – Referred to as holy grass, it has an undeniable sweet aroma and is usually braided together and generally used in ceremonies to give thanks and show gratitude, fill spaces with positive energy and in healing sessions. Some also use sweet grass to summon positive spirits.
Preparing to Smudge

Below are the essentials for the many different smudging ceremonies performed.


Sacred plant or herb
A shell or dish to hold the plant and retain the ash
Anointing oil
About Himalayan Salt

Salt is a powerful absorber of energy and helps with purification. Himalayan salt is pink, which symbolizes unconditional love and comes from the great Salt Range of the Himalayas, an area estimated to be about 800 million years old. The energy vibration of this salt amplifies vibrational frequency and helps bridge the gap between our physical, mental and spiritual selves.

Prepare the Space

Open all windows and doors including the closets. Adjust your furniture allowing you to easily move around the home.

Preparation of Self

Take a few minutes to meditate to find balance and center
Ground yourself
Anoint yourself with the oil and say a preparation affirmation or prayer to raise your vibration as you ask for protection.
Basic Smudging Ceremony

The steps for a basic quick smudging ceremony:

Say an opening affirmation or prayer.
Face east and light the materials (plants, resins or smudge stick)
Fan out the flame so the materials are smoldering.
Close your eyes and become one with the smoke, fanning it toward you with your hand or feather, letting the smoke wash over you.
State your intentions to clear the location of negative energy.
Starting in the farthest room from an exit door, fan the smoke in the location, smudging each corner, all walls, closets and window frames thoroughly, while continuing to recite your intention of love and light in your space.
After you complete an area, sprinkle salt in the center of the room and around the window frames and doorways.
Move clockwise through the location.
When you have completed smudging all rooms, say a closing prayer of gratitude.