How to Smudge a House and Honor Indigenous Cultures
Wellness Smudge Tutorial

How to Smudge a House While Honoring Indigenous Cultures

By
December 20, 2023 at 2:55 PM PST
Wellness Smudge Tutorial

How to Smudge a House While Honoring Indigenous Cultures

By
December 20, 2023 at 2:55 PM PST

Smudging is an indigenous ceremonial practice that has garnered attention recently in the world of wellness for its perceived capability of clearing negative energy from spaces. Its ability to bring about a sense of tranquility and purification for those who do it is only strengthening its appeal. Smudging involves the burning of sacred herbs in Native American/Indigenous communities to cleanse and purify a space, object or individual. Here is how to smudge a house for those who are interested in trying it respectfully and genuinely.

Respecting Indigenous Culture

This sacred indigenous ritual has been adopted by Western wellness culture into a growing trend. Ethics surrounding the use of sage for smudging by non-Native people are highly questionable. Oglala Lakota spiritual leader and wisdom keeper Warfield Moose Jr. for Women’s Health said sage is more than just a plant to Lakota culture. It is about taking the life of the sage and welcoming good into one’s life. This makes sage more like medicine than just a plant.

Beyond not treating the practice with respect, the growing trend of sage smudging in the west has led to overharvesting of sage according to Hannah Peedikayil for California State University Long Beach. This is making white sage less available for indigenous communities and putting it at risk of being endangered.

For these reasons, it is important that those who engage in smudging do so with good intentions and honor the indigenous cultures that the practice originates from. Additionally, the best place to get sage is from Indigenous communities or businesses that are aware of and want to protect the sacredness of sage.

What Is Smudging?

Smudging is a ritualistic act aimed at dispelling negative energies, restoring balance and inviting positive energy into a space. The practice typically involves the use of various dried herbs, with white sage being one of the most commonly known and used. Other herbs such as cedar, sweetgrass and Palo Santo are also utilized. Each carries its own symbolic significance and cleansing properties.

How Does Smudging Work?

The process of smudging may seem relatively simple but it is profound and involves prayer. It begins by lighting the dried herb bundle or loose herbs until they produce smoke. The smoke is then fanned using a feather or hand, allowing it to permeate throughout the space. The individual conducting the smudging ceremony typically moves clockwise around the area, paying particular attention to corners, doorways, windows and areas where energy might feel stagnant.

How to Smudge a House

1. Preparation

Gather your supplies: a smudge stick or loose herbs, a heat-proof container (such as an abalone shell, like that used in original practice, or a ceramic dish), matches or a lighter and a feather or fan for spreading the smoke.

2. Set Your Intention

Before you begin smudging, set a clear intention for the ritual. This could be a simple prayer, affirmation or focused thought expressing your desire to cleanse the space of negative energy and invite positivity. Now is also a great time to appreciate or show respect to the culture in which you have adopted the practice from.

3. Lighting the Herbs

Light one end of the smudge stick or herbs and let it catch fire for a few seconds. Once it begins to smolder and produce smoke, gently blow out the flame, allowing the herbs to smolder and emit smoke.

4. Smudging the Space

Starting at the entrance of your home, move around the space clockwise, wafting the smoke into the air with your hand or a feather. Pay attention to corners, closets and areas where energy might feel dense. Use your intention to guide the process, focusing on clearing negativity and welcoming positive energy.

5. Closing the Ceremony

Once you have covered the entire area, return to where you started and extinguish the smudge stick or herbs. You can do this by pressing the lit end into the heat-proof container until the smoke subsides.

Again, while smudging has gained popularity in modern practices for its purported spiritual and energetic cleansing benefits, it’s crucial to approach it with respect, understanding and cultural sensitivity. Remember it serves as a sacred and meaningful ritual deeply rooted in cultural traditions for many that is now spiritually and physically dying. Engage in smudging a house with the most pure intentions and respect for the best result and for the people it was adapted from.




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