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SMUDGING – THE WHAT, THE HOW, THE WHY

Smudging

Table of Contents

What is smudging? How do you smudge? What is a smudge stick? Where is smudging from? What’s the purpose of smudging? When should I smudge? All these questions answered here!

THE ORIGIN OF SMUDGING

Smudging is an ancient ceremonial tradition. While the practice of smudging is most widely known to be associated with many Native American tribes, it is a tradition that is widespread throughout human history in tribes across the world. Smudging, smoke and burning plants for spiritual and medicinal purpose have been recorded in ancient Egypt and in other African countries including South Africa, Europe including Greece; France; the Celtic nations in Britain and Europe; far north traditions in Europe and in Ireland, in India; Nepal; Japan and other asian countries, and Australia.

The word ‘smudge’ dates from late middle English ‘smogen’ around 1400-50, to ‘soil, stain, blacken’. In 1860, ‘make a smoky fire’ and ‘smudge-pot’ (medicinal) in 1903. (Douglas Harper Etymology Dictionary). It later came to represent specifically the Native American practise of burning herbs. It now encompasses the modern pagan revival of this ancient tradition as well.

Antique brass smudge pot Japan

THE PURPOSE OF SMUDGING

Ancestors would burn dried sacred and medicinal plants to raise energetic vibrations, clear negative energy and dis-ease, and bless spaces. On the physical plane, the most common herbs used, like sage, have powerful antimicrobial properties, serving to also physically disinfect, cleanse and purify spaces and people. 

"In most cultures throughout the world smoke, smudge, and incense would have formed part of ritual and ritual was seen as part of the sacred ordinary and ordinary sacredness. Smoke was used as an offering to the deities and the sacred, for meditation and ritual, to cleanse animals (including the human ones) and make them healthy, for fumigation and space clearing, to preserve food and in some places squatting over smoke was used cleanse and repair the womb after childbirth."

Nikki Darrell, Smudging - Rekindling Ancient Traditions, Network Ireland

It is generally best not to combine two opposite intents – in other words, don’t try to send away and bring in at the same time. For example, if you want to clear a space of negative energies as well as bring in protection, do this in two separate smudgings, spaced apart from each other. Or if you want to do a healing, you might want to first clear any blockages or unwanted or stagnant energies causing the state of dis-ease, before calling in healing energy as a separate ceremony.

THE FIVE ELEMENTS

Energetically, smudging also brings in the power of the five elements – water, earth, fire, air and ether.

A bowl or shell is used to catch the falling ash, or in some cases the herbs are burned loose inside it. This vessel represents the element of Water.

The dried herbs and plants of the plant kingdom represent the element of Earth.

The act of lighting the smudge stick calls in the element of Fire.

The smoke released represents Air, as well as the feather often used to wave the smoke over a person or space.

The Ether, or ethereal realm or aether, is known as the energetic plane and the fifth element, considered by some to be the source of magic. The act of smudging, the transformation of sacred plant to waving smoke, the energy being transformed in the process by being cleared, purified or a channel opened, represents the Ether.

WHEN TO SMUDGE

Smudging has many, many uses – here are some examples of when you can use the power of smudging:

  • You can smudge to clear the energy of a room or place of old, stagnant or negative energy

  • To bless a new home, a person or a space

  • To consecrate a sacred space by purifying it 

  • To bring in protection and sealing in the positive energy you want to be surrounded with

  • To release illness or dis-ease or negative emotions

  • To dissipate the energy after an argument or unwanted guest

  • To remove blockages and allow positive or healing or light energy to flow

  • To cleanse the residual energy of an object

  • To purify your energy before doing an energy working, meditation, etc.

  • To connect to your spirit guides, guardian angels, animal totems, or ancestors

HOW TO SMUDGE

Smudging is a really easy and accessible, yet powerful tool that any energy worker can quickly learn to use today. Simply light the smudge, being respectful of the plant medicine, the elements being called and the ceremonial tradition of the act. Hold your intent in your mind, focusing on what you want to achieve through this process. You may want to visualise your intent, feeling and imagining exactly what it would feel like when your intent is achieved. Wave the smoke slowly over a space, person or yourself, using your hand or a feather. To end the smudging, give thanks and respectfully put the smudge out using the inside of the bowl or shell, or the bare earth outside. Sprinkle any ashes in the bowl on the bare earth to return to Mother Nature.

MYSTIC CAT SMUDGE RANGE

We are very excited to share with you our brand new smudge range, grown right here on the Mystic Cat Farmstead! Our first smudge sticks will be available for you to purchase in the next few weeks.

OUR SMUDGE RANGE IS:

  • Exclusively from organically grown plants on & around our farmstead.
  • Consciously harvested by hand using the moon & seasons as guidelines, our intuition & connection to the plants to determine plant prime, when the plant is full of life force, maintaining vibrancy and peak essential oil levels.
  • Naturally sun dried with zero carbon footprint.
  • Wrapped in natural unbleached hemp twine.
  • Handcrafted in small batches.
  • 100% Natural, free from artificial fragrances, colourants & preservatives.

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