A Smudging Ceremony

A week or so ago, at her east-side Tucson home, a very good friend held a smudging ceremony — a custom common to Native American and other indigenous cultures. Smudging, essentially a cleansing smoke “bath,” is used to remove negative energy, to restore balance by shifting energy, or to purify a person, a specific place such as a home or work area, or certain personal articles.

Dried plants or mixtures of plants (the element of earth) are burned (the element of fire) in a shell such as abalone (the element of water) or other fire-proof bowl. The smoke is then directed over the object, person or place with a feather (the element of air). Dried plants tied into bundles are called smudge sticks.

Plants are chosen according to their efficacy. Sweet grass for positive energy, beauty and calmness; sage for removing negative energy; cedar to ward off sickness; lavender for spiritual blessings and a peaceful atmosphere. Tobacco is the main activator of all plants.

Smudging may first pay homage to the cardinal directions. Here’s a beautiful example from Grandmother Wapajea Walks on Water, an elder with lineage in the Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee tribes.

“We start in the East where the sun rises, and brings us the opportunity to begin again with each new day. (Air) We go South and honor our creativity, our children, the child in us, our playfulness, joy, and hope. (Earth) We go to the West where the sun goes down, and the blackness of introspection begins when the day is done. (Water) We go to the North where our rest awaits us. Knowledge, stamina, compassion, silence. (Fire)”

For indigenous people, the Great Spirit is in all of nature and creation. Each thing represents a different aspect or manifestation of the Divine.

A Smudging Prayer

May your hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.

May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where you most need to be.

May your heart be cleansed, that you might hear its messages clearly.

May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed.

May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of the world.

May this person and this space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants.

And may that same smoke carry our prayers, spiraling, to the heavens.”






One Response to “A Smudging Ceremony”
  1. Dan Beeaff says:

    Really nice. How do I reply?

    Sent from my iPad



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  • Copyright © 2011-16, Dianne Ebertt Beeaff. All Rights Reserved.
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