Smudging & Herbs

Smudging is a simple way of thanking the earth and purifying or preparing a meeting space. Variations of smudging are found in diverse cultures throughout the world. Simply consider the widespread use of incense. The smudging ceremony we describe here is similar to those used among the Indians of the Great Basin and high desert of the American West.

A ball of dried sage is placed in an Abalone Shell and lit with a wooden match. The flames are quickly blown out and the burning bits of ash fanned with a large feather so the smoke rises pungent and strong into the air. In a group smudging ceremony, the shell containing the burning sage is carried around to each celebrant by another who holds the Smudge Fan or Feather. With a wafting of the feather, the silvery smoke is sent up against each person’s body to mingle with the air they breathe to purify the “aura” or “body halo.” Sometimes the person reaches out and draws the smoke into the circle of themselves, symbolically embracing the sweet, healing power of the sage.

We carry a variety of Sages and Other Smudging Herbs, including sweetgrass, cedar, copal and pinon. Sage (Salvia genus) has been traditionally used by native peoples for a variety of uses from culinary seasoning and medicine to ceremony. Sage clears the energy of a space or person and is useful for removing negativity from the home or work environment as well as assisting to create a clear state of mind within those who smudge with it. It is frequently used in conjunction with sweetgrass, which is used to attract positive energy into the space cleared by the sage. Sage comes from many different regions of the country, with white sage from the Southern California area proving a popular choice because of its fragrance and ease of use.

Different herbs are used in different geographic locations for the same purpose. For example, in the Pacific Northwest, the traditional cleansing herb is cedar, which grows here in abundance. In Central America, copal resin is used for cleansing. Each type of herb can be used alone or together (for example, sage & cedar together are an effective and aromatic choice.)

Many herbs have both sacred and medicinal properties. We carry Traditional Native Herbs such as Bear Root, Bitter Root, Bear Berry, Red Willow Bark and Kouse. Incenses can be used either for specific energetic purposes or just to make your space more fragrant.

There are a few Other Herbal Products that we recommend. For example, Shea Butter is excellent for your drum and your skin, while incense charcoal is helpful for burning copal and other resins.

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