Aevi Rituals: The Ancient Art Of Smudging
A beautiful and simple ritual to recreate in any or all of the spaces you most regularly frequent, smudging is one of our favourite practices for releasing the old and welcoming the new. A practice that we regularly carry out in our homes and offices, smudging your environment and your body with sage is like taking an energetic shower, with the smoke from the herbs embers scientifically proven to change the ionic composition of the atmosphere it is burnt within, having a direct effect on reducing our stress response and uplifting our moods.
Most commonly referred to as a Native American Indian tradition, the use of white sage as a tool for clearing dates back as far as 2,000 years, with Native American Shamans burning dried sage plants as a ritual of calling upon ancestral spirits. It was also believed that any conflict, anger, illness or evil was absorbed by the smoke, releasing or cleansing the energy from the field of a person or space through the ceremonial process. In Native American ceremony, after the sage was burnt and negative energy released, sweet grass would be burned to call forth the energy of peace and love. Today, the act of burning sweet grass can be carried out metaphorically, simply through setting a positive intention and releasing it into a space; through mantra or meditation after smudging has been completed.
Whilst traditionally associated with the Native American people, the use of incense and other smoke and vapor to connect humans to the spirit world can be easily traced back throughout the East in parts of Asia and even to Ancient Greece, making it a universally utilised means of spiritual and energetic cleansing, and one that we can most definitely still reap the benefits of today.
How to recreate a smudge ceremony at home
Gather a selection of herbs and flowers (we used sage, rosemary and a combination of flowers we had on hand), and tie together with a piece of twine. Leave to dry for 10-14 days, or until visibly dried out. Native American elders are of the belief that through practicing their ancient tradition, we must treat their medicines with reverence, dedicating an honoured place in our homes for drying out the plant medicines used, such as a reserved space in a bookshelf or sacred space.
Before you begin your smudge ceremony, open a door or window. Place the herbs in a clay or stone bowl, before lighting your sage stick with a wooden match. Let it begin to burn, before gently blowing out the flame, letting the material continue to smoulder as your smudge stick is prepared for the commencement of ceremony.
Grace the smudge stick, or wand, gently over the aura of your body, from your feet up to your head and back down again. As you do this, visualise the smoke cleansing your body of any pent-up negative energy that may be lingering.
Once you have smudged your body, begin to move through your space, waving the smoke into all corners, doorways and behind furniture to ensure all areas are graced by the sage’s presence. As you do so, continue to envision any negative energy dissipating. If you find this difficult to do, visualise the smoke casting a vibrant white, healing and clearing light over all areas it has encompassed, visualising any areas of stagnation changing colour – from black to white as the wand washes through. Once the space has cleared, allow your wand to continue to burn in the bowl until it has gone out. It is important to dispose of the ash, by either burying it or releasing it into a body of water. This signifies the completion of the cleansing ritual.
Stay tuned for more rituals, coming soon to the aevi journal.