Thought this was an excellent article on smudging! Love me some palo santo and sweetgrass!
by Andye Murphy
Clearing our spaces isn’t simply an act of protection, but is a way to invoke ceremony, to invite the magical and other worldly into our homes, to let them know they are invited guests.
Clearing ourselves and our spaces is necessary from time to time. If the environment feels off, if there has been a fight or illness or even when there are periods of great change and uncertainty, smudging (or burning with smoke) will move these energies out so we can keep our spaces free and clear for our own expansion. Just as you take a shower, wash your sheets and clean your home, addressing the “energy” of your space should also receive some attention.
Sage is unquestionably the go to… it is trusted to be an ally which can help move energies. Used by healers globally, sage can purify, cleanse and heal most any situation. Burning the bundled leaves in any space will create a smoke that permeates the room and moves unseen and unwanted energies out.
*As with all ceremony, be mindful of others, as sage allergies are quite common.
For more persistent (i.e. heavy, stubborn or seemingly more “negative”) energies, sage may not be enough. Consider instead Palo Santo or Copal which tells these energies you mean business. Copal resin comes in 3 varieties – which also equate to their level of intensity – use White for blessings, Gold for manifestations and Black to clear out even the darkest critters. Burning any of these, with a prayer of cleansing and release, can do wonders.
Sage and Palo Santo may be lit and burned easily with a fire proof container under it. An abalone shell is often used, though any heat resistant container that feels special to you will be grand! For the resins, a charcoal tablet (in a fireproof, heat resistant container) will be necessary to keep the resin lit.
In a space where you can’t use fire?? Not to worry, Sage Spray which is an excellent alternative. If you want to change up your clearings and invoke greater sacred healing, sound is also an excellent mover of energy. Use bells, tuning forks or singing bowls to shift the frequency of your space. Coupled with clear intention, these pretty sounds can be incredible energetic cleaners.
Lest nothing be mundane, Full Moon and New Moons are a perfect time to synchronize with the natural worlds to clear our space and honor the rhythm of our universe. Routine clearing will ensure a sanctity of your space and will keep you in communion with the spirits of your home and land. By allowing ourselves to step into this place of clearing, we are creating a path of communication which invites our spiritual selves to better embody our physical environment.
As with all clearing, we do not engage in these activities out of fear, nor the need for protection. Own your power and let your space be a manifestation of your sacred self. Our thoughts will only attract more of these vibrations into our reality. We instead recognize each clearing as a sacred ceremony. An honoring of our space which awakens the invisible realms, the nature beings and Spirits, and invites them into our everyday.
Clearing to invite
Smoke is a messenger to the deities. Just as candles are used in churches, the smoke of sacred plants sends our prayers to the beloveds in the invisible realms. Don’t just rely on smudging to clear the way, but use it also in times of celebration, ceremony and manifestation.
Sweetgrass is an excellent starting point as it is a revered herb relied upon by the Native Americans to attract benevolent spirits. (My soul ancestry is Mayan, so I tend to prefer Copal in almost any ceremony.) As you light it, be clear in your intent and direct your prayers toward the Spirits who can best assist you.
Let curiosity be your guide and explore different elements in your sacred spaces. As you grow more familiar with the ritual use of smoke, you may begin to specify your intention and match it with incenses to strengthen your ceremony. Just as each plant has an identified Spirit, so too does each resin, incense and bundle. Remember that ceremony is spirituality in action and you can’t do it wrong!
Be mindful of where you live and when possible use native plants known to the ancestors and spirits of your region. You may alternatively choose to use resins and plants specific to the tradition in which you are working. Shaman’s Market offers a list by region which can easily help us all locate which smokes are best.
As in all sacred ceremony, pure and clear intention will carry you the furtherest. Far beyond the “otherworldly” haze smoke adds to an environment, it invites Spirit, the mystical and unseen, into our spaces, sanctifying them as places of connection and reverence.