The Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing – Smudging
The “Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing” is a powerful Native American cleansing technique. It is a ritual to remove negativity. Smoke attaches itself to the negative energy and removes it to another space.
Cleansing is the word traditionally used, but you can think of it as a shift in energy from any bits of negativity to a more positive, peaceful state.
Smudging can be used to cleanse an object, a place, or your spirit, mind or body. Native Americans often use smudging in association with other ceremonies.
Contemporary uses includes purifying a new vehicle, your work area or a room or dwelling before moving in; purifying a sacred object such as stone, book or fetish; or for self-cleansing before meditation, prayer or sleep.
Certain plants are used for smudging. Smudging is done in a particular way. The herbs are burned in a small bowl or a shell, such as an abalone shell. The shell represents Water, a gift from the ocean. The smoke is distributed with a feather, a gift from our winged friends.
For driving out negativity and for healing, White Sage is preferred.
A smudge kit contains herbs, a “bowl” or shell, and a feather to direct the smoke. The entire kit can be carried in a medicine bag.
Each part of the smudge kit and the smudging process signifies one of the four elements, that, when used, evokes the fifth element, life energy.
- The shell represents WATER
- The unlit herbs and ashes represents the EARTH
- The lit herb represents the FIRE
- The smoke represents the AIR
Before you begin, be sure the area is well ventilated because the smoke, carrying the negative energy, must have an escape route.
Take normal precautions to prevent an unwanted fire, such as placing your smudge pot or shell on a non-combustible surface.
Gather your smudge kit and a means to light the herbs. Long wooden matches are the best because a candle can add dripping wax to the process and a lighter, is well, kind of out of character.
Light the herb and when a flame appears, put the herb out so it will smolder and smoke. Before you smudge another person, an object or a place, you should smudge yourself. You can do this by bringing the smoke to you and rolling it in swirls over your head, shoulders and around your body. Send the smoke away with the feather.
When smudging a place, such as a room or car, pay homage to the cardinal directions which include the east, west, north, south, up and down.
When you are finished smudging, extinguish sweetgrass by damping the braid against the shell. For sage, you can crush it against the bowl or shell or in a bowl of sand.