smudging ritual


Needed: Sage, sweet grass, cedar, or tobacco, singly or in combination, or other herbs; a shell or a natural-made bowl (clay, pottery); a feather or fan; matches; sand or fine soil.

Estimated time: 5 minutes if alone, more time if with a group.

1. Mix together the plants you will be using, placing them in a shell or sturdy bowl, and light them. Some mixtures of herbs do not stay lit well. You may need to put a charcoal briquette in the bowl first. Before lighting either the charcoal or herbs, make sure there is some soil or sand in the bottom of the bowl or shell. This will keep it from being too hot to hold.

2. When the herbs are lit, use a fan or feather from a domestically raised bird* (chicken, turkey, pheasant or duck) to fan out the flame. Throughout the ceremony you will need to fan the herbs to keep them smoldering.
*Non-Indians are not permitted to possess eagle feathers.

3. Once the herbs are smoldering, draw the smoke (not the bowl, just the smoke) to your heart, then over your head, down your arms, and down the front of your body. Now move the smoke over the back of your body toward the ground. If you need special balancing or healing in some part of your body, you can emphasize by pulling the smoke to the area.

4. It is your responsibility to cleanse your own energy field. The plants help. They do not do it for you.

5. Next, offer smoke to the six directions: up to the Creator, down to the Earth, and then to the north, east, south and west, in that order. 6. After you have smudged yourself and offered the smudge, you can hold the bowl while others smudge themselves, or you may smudge them. They should draw the smoke to themselves, first to the heart, over the head, down the arms, down the chest, and down the back.

7. You may now walk around the area you will be using, wafting the smoke as you go. If you are inside, smudge around the walls of the room, paying particular attention to the corners. 8. Smudge any medicine tools you will be using during ceremonies.

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