Cleansing and Clearing
From ancient traditions, herbs and plants are used to perform the sacred smoke blessing. It is a ritual of cleansing and purification for the physical and spiritual bodies. Smudging calls on the spirits of scared herbs and plants to drive away negative energies and to restore balance.
Smudging is used to cleanse and balance the auric energies of people, and used to clear space energy within home and work environments. Smudging is also used to cleanse and remove negative energies from crystals, gemstones and other natural and healing objects.
Originally, native traditions used mixtures of sacred herbs and resins burned in a special bowl or shell. Smudging sticks are now available, which are made from dried plants and herbs tied in a small bundle. Smudging is viewed as a way of shifting between the levels of the material, physical, and spirit realms. There are many methods of smudging. The most common method is by lighting the herb or plant, extinguishing the flame, and wafting the rising smoke around the person, area or object, while sending out a prayer or blessing.
Herbs most often used in smudging are sage and sweet grass. Sage drives out negative thoughts, energies, spirits and influences. Sweet grass is used to attract positive energies, after the negative energies are banished.
The herbs are burnt on their own or in mixtures, depending on tradition and required effect. Here are some other herbs and plants that may be used in smudging along with their spiritual properties:
This plant can also be used to purify, especially for negative emotions. Cedar needles are also used to cleanse and bring balance to the emotions and to the male/female (yin/yang) elements. To clear one’s actions and to promote forgiveness.
This resin was used by the Mayans as a food for the Gods. They believe that as the smoke of the Copal would rise, it would carry their prayers to the ears of the Gods. Copal is used in divination and in purification ceremonies. Copal is the Frankincense of the Western Hemisphere.
This plant will drive out negative energies, spirits and influences. Use this as a smudge to purify people and places before any sacred ceremony. The powerful cleansing vibration it emits when burned, is used to purify the subtle energies of one”s aura, as well as personal and ceremonial space or healing and ceremonial tools, such as pipes and crystals, and cards.
This herb is also used to purify and to create a safe and sacred space. Juniper was often carried in a medicine pouch or a pocket for protection.
This herb will restore balance and create a peaceful atmosphere. It will also draws loving energy and spirits. Lavender flowers can be added to the mixture to bring the quality of spiritual blessing.
This herb can used to stimulate psychic awareness and prophetic dreams. The Lakota also believe that when Mugwort is burned it “makes the bad spirits sick”, and they move away from it.
This is one of the most sacred herbs used for smudging. This herb is used to bring positive energy in after negative energies are banished by using sage. Sweetgrass, which comes from the northern swamps, is dried and braided into fragrant-smelling plaits. It may be added to the mixture of herbs burned, but it is often burned alone after the sage or smudge mixture has been used. Sweetgrass brings sweetness and beauty into one’s life and surroundings. One can offer a prayer to this effect as the braid is lit.
The root of this plant can be burned as an incense or carried for good luck and protection from bad influences. Osha is also a preferred gift for Native American elders.
This sage is used just like desert sage, but many people prefer White Sage because of the sweeter aroma it gives off.
This herb can be used to purify and to set and protect boundaries. The name of this plant reflects its nature. Yerba Santa means sacred herb.