Smudging is as ancient as your first primordial ancestors – no matter what civilization or continent your familial roots have grown from. The world over in many cultures; we can trace back the sacred ceremonies and traditions that included some form of smudging to honour the Gods, Goddesses, Deva’s, special days or occasions, Rites of Passage and so on, as well as everyday use of keeping the environment (lodge, room, home etc) and the energetic Soul Body cleansed and free of anything that may be ‘weighing’ us down.
There is a large amount of sacred herbs, roots and resins that can be used in smudging. They each have their own unique energy pattern that assists us in some way. Some of the properties do over-lap but if you begin a regular smudging practice, building your relationship with them, you will experience and start to recognise the differences, eventually simply reaching for what feels right.
So why would you want to smudge on a regular basis? I think of it as part of my spiritual hygiene. Just like I would take a shower or vacuum my house. The sacred smoke will pick up any stubborn or stuck energy that is not serving the greatest or highest good (this also includes if I am smudging a space, home or object) and carry it away to be released or recycled into something else. It can also help by bringing in certain energies to help you, guide you, and support you.
For example, White Sage when burned as a smudge, is known for cleansing, meditation and divination. It is useful in clearing a space of negative vibes or energies that may linger around while at the same time it attracts good vibes and positive energies in to the space. Juniper as another quick example has been used in centuries past, in “sick rooms” throughout Europe as it purifies the air (which by the way, science has caught up and is now proving that burning smudge does indeed cleanse the air). Juniper is also known to dispel negative forces creating a more sacred space. Perfect for meditation, healing, detoxification and grounding.
Sacred smudge can come in the form of sticks (bundles of herbs tied together), braided, loose, granules or powdered. They are burned as the stick, in a fire bowl or on a charcoal for the most part. Remember that you are building a relationship with the life force of these herbs, roots and resins…a mutual respect is key.
And for those moments or places when we can’t burn smudge….there is liquid smudge! All is not lost for those who cannot be around, in or near smoke. There are even some liquid smudges specially made for people who are supersensitive to fragrances.