Just for the Smudge of It

27 Oct

Do you ever feel bogged down with negativity, stuck in a rut, depressed, anxious, sick, or fearful?  Of course!  We all have experienced these draining emotions from time to time.  In the interest of coming up with something interesting, new, and perhaps a little mysterious as Halloween approaches, I wanted to focus on a ritual I find very helpful from time to time, in order to clear the space in my home, drive negative forces/energy out, revamp the positive energy, rejuvenate, and cleanse the environment.

Many of us appreciate the benefits of a soothing bath or a vigorous shower to cleanse and refresh our body.  Equally as effective, but on the psychic energetic level, is the practice of smudging.  Smudging is a powerful cleansing technique which Native Americans have used for centuries; however, the burning of herbs for emotional, psychic, and spiritual purification is common practice in many religious, healing, and spiritual traditions.

Smudging is a ritual way to cleanse a person, place or an object of negative energies or influences.  The theory behind smudging is that the smoke attaches itself to negative energy and as it clears it takes the negative energy with it, releasing it into another space to be regenerated.

There are many ways to smudge.  You can smudge any space, person, animal or thing, so long as they are receptive.  There is no wrong way to smudge.

The first time I smudged, I was experiencing some negative energy with my spouse.  We were going through several big transitions, including a pregnancy and a move.  I felt weighed down by all of the pressure and some perceived negativity.  One of my cousins told me I should smudge.  I researched it on the Internet and although slightly skeptical, I thought I’d give it a whirl, seeing as I certainly didn’t have anything to lose.

I purchased a sage smudge stick from Central Market.  I opened several of the windows and began at the front door.  When I lit the stick, it smelled a little like marijuana, and I became slightly paranoid the neighbors would smell it and call the police on me.  Fortunately, they didn’t and all was well!  I said a prayer of protection and proceeded to smudge the environment.  I like to work counter-clockwise.  As I enter each room, I wave the stick slowly throughout the entire space, top to bottom.  It is a good idea to do closets and open all cabinets and drawers too.  In each room, I say something aloud, along the lines of “Clear this space of everything that is not helpful to the home or the people living inside of it,” but really, you can say anything that comes to mind.

It is a good idea to carry a glass or ceramic plate or a bowl of water with you when performing the smudge ceremony to catch any falling embers.  It can also be helpful to turn any ceiling fans on as well.

When the cleansing is complete and all rooms have been cleared, some people like to extinguish the flame and bury the stick, cementing the idea that with that stick, all of the negativity will disappear.  I am a huge fan of recycling, so I save my stick to use again.

I have smudged my mom’s house, my children, myself, my mom, my mom’s dog, the girls’ playhouse, and our new house twice.  Once I have completed the ceremony I feel so much better, knowing that my home has been cleansed.  Initially, I think my husband thought I was a little crazy.  The last time I did it though, he came home from work and said, “I’m so glad you smudged!”

If you believe in ghosts or spirits, you can even use this exercise to drive them out of your home.

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