Smudging is a ritual of cleansing and purification for both physical and spiritual bodies, calling on the sacred plant spirits to drive out bad energies and influences, inviting good spirits, and bringing balance to you and your surroundings. It's been practiced for thousands of years by Native Americans and many other tribal people (including us on occasion!).
The intention is to cleanse or lift away (and keep away) bad energies while inviting in all that is good. This simple practice connects you with traditions dating back to ancient times and produces a profound effect when performed with a pure heart. It is something you can do.
To smudge a room, light your sage or place in a clay pot, shell, flat rock, or ashtray (any non-burnable surface). Lighting the sage, let it flame for a few moments before fanning the flames out with a feather so the herbs smolder. It is the smoke you want to work with, fanning into all areas of the room(s) in a clockwise direction. Set your intentions of what you don't want, telling those specific negatives to leave while inviting what you do want in. Notice the energies in the room and continue to smudge until the space feels clean or cleared to you. You may open doors and windows to allow anything negative to be chased from your dwelling.
Need to smudge a person or object? Fanning the smoke with either your hand or a feather, look into the person's eyes to greet them and fan the smoke at their heart, up to the right side of their head (your left), moving around clockwise gently washing them with the smoke... down over their left shoulder, arm, back up to the shoulder and then down the left side of the body, leg and foot. Move to the right foot, up the leg, torso and continue until the clockwise movement is complete, then repeat as you turn them around and smudge and bless their other side (back side). If smudging an object, bless it as you move sun-wise around it.
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