Okay, I’ve decided to keep the blog going so I’ll be posting here more often.:-)
Spiritual Fumigation (smudging)
Ask a handful of people and you’ll get a handful of different answers...that’s my thought on spiritual fumigation. People call “smudging” many different things. I have always called it “spiritual fumigation” or simply “spiritual cleansing”. In a nutshell, smudging is purification by smoke no matter what name you give it.
Spiritual cleansing can take on many forms and different tools can be used to accomplish the same task. You can give a spiritual cleansing (limpia) with different tools such as raw eggs, crucifixes, brass, lemons, limes, fresh herbs, tobacco, special herbal liquids, smoke and several other methods. So I thought I would write up something to help those of you who are new to smudging.
When smudging certain plants are dried and burned. The smoke from the burning plant is used as spiritual hygiene to clear away unwanted clutter from your mind, body and spirit. The smoke bath is used for restoring balance and to purify your entire being. It also helps you to connect with the spirit and for protection purposes. Different cultures and belief systems have their own methods for accomplishing this. People, homes, businesses, objects, indoor, and outdoor spaces can be spiritually cleansed by this method.
When you take a smudge bath the smoke absorbs any negative energy and releases it away from you. Many Curanderas and other healers use this method to clear away spiritual illnesses and the remains (energy) of real illnesses. This is even used as a complimentary system to healing physical illnesses as well, to enhance the person’s regular medical treatment. It isn’t uncommon to see a smudging ceremony taking place after an event such as an argument, a long trip, and even a death.
Smudge sticks are a form of incense. They are made from a bundle of a single herb or a combination of herbs tied together and left to dry. Once the plant material is dry it ignites creating a scared smoke. These sticks come in different sizes and different widths.
Some of the most common plants for smudging are Sage, Cedar, Lavender, or a combination of these. To burn a smudge stick you will need a heat proof container to hold the burning plant material and to catch the falling embers. Some people just use a simple heatproof plate, others use a heatproof container filled with sand, and others may opt to use an abalone shell (my favorite). Just keep in mind that the container will get hot. When using them never all allow the stick to burn with open flames. You just want it to smolder.
To use a smudge stick do not unwrap the string that is holding the herbs together. Light one end of the stick and blow the flame. It should begin to smolder, if not you may have to relight it. Once you see that it’s releasing some smoke hold the stick firmly in one hand over the container that you are holding in the other hand.
If you are cleansing a person try to allow the smoke to come in contact with the entire body. You can either pass the smoldering stick all around the person (holding the container underneath to catch the embers) or hold the stick in one spot and use your hand to direct the smoke towards the person. If you are cleansing a home or business begin at the back part of the building and work your way towards the front entrance. Fumigate every single room and pay attention to the corners. If you are cleansing an object you can either set the smoldering plant on a heatproof surface and pass the object through the smoke, turning it over and around until the smoke has come in contact with all sides of the object. When you’re done extinguish the smudge stick completely.