Smudging ceremonies are a traditional means of purifying people, a place or objects. Sage, cedar or juniper are burned in an abalone shell (pictured above) and allowed to smolder until smoke appears. The smoke is then passed around a person's body or room, using one's hands or a feather.
Smudging ceremonies can be used to purify:
A new home
A place of business
A space before important meetings
During sacred ceremonies
In health centers
Spaces where difficult or negative events have occurred
According to tradition, it is recommended to offer the smoke to the four directions, beginning to the North or the East and to say a prayer while holding the shell. Native spirituality teaches us that the smoke of the sacred herbs brings our prayers into the spiritual world. As it vanishes into the air, the smoke goes directly into the world of perfect forms called «Ungawi», in Cherokee, this sacred place where all Spirits live. Not only does this smoke brings our message to the world of the Creator, Great Spirit or Great Mystery, the One with so many names in so many languages, but it is also a offering for which the good Spirits are grateful.
Smudging being a holy act, the remaining ashes are sacred and consequently should be given back to the earth in a respectful manner. (In some nations, these ashes are accumulated during the year and buried during a special ceremony.)
To purify your house, first open a door and a window in all rooms. Starting from one side of the door, follow the wall with the shell, sending smoke everywhere, even in cabinets and closets. When you are arrive on the other side of the door, your house will have been entirely purified.
To purify someone, stand before that person and allow the smoke of the shell to come in contact with all parts of its body, starting with the feet and going up. Do the same thing again in his or her back.
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