California White Sage
The purpose of this cleansing ritual is to clear away anxieties, sadness, impurities, dark thoughts or unwanted energies that may have attached themselves to a space or an individual.
Smudging is traditionally a ceremony for purifying or cleansing the soul of negative thoughts of a person or place. There are four elements involved in a smudge:
- The container, traditionally a shell representing water, is the first element.
- The four sacred plants (cedar, sage, sweetgrass, tobacco), gifts from mother earth, represent the second element.
- The fire produced from lighting the sacred plants represents the third element.
- The smoke produced from the fire represents air, the fourth element.
During a smudge plant leaves or stems are placed in the container and ignited (preferably with a wooden match). The flames are then gently blown out and the smoke, which heals the mind, heart and body, is wafted over the person, either by hand or with an eagle feather. The person being smudged pulls the smoke to them and gently inhales the smoke. The ashes traditionally are returned to mother earth by disposing them outside on bare soil - it is believed that the negative thoughts and feelings have been absorbed by the ashes. A person can smudge themselves, or, someone can lead a smudge by holding the container and directing the smoke over others.