“Cleansing a space or our bodies with techniques such as smudging clears away all the emotional and psychic ‘garbage’ that may have gathered over years or even hundreds of years. It’s like spiritual spring-cleaning.”
— Jane Alexander
Good morning! I’m very excited to share one of our most popular articles at SoulfulLiving.com with you today, entitled “Smudging,” by author Jane Alexander.
Smudging is a powerful ritual for space clearing, used for cleansing our homes, our bodies, and our sacred space, and Jane tells us exactly how to do it — in great detail. She also tells us about all of the wonderful benefits of smudging, as well its fascinating history.
Jane is the author of the best-selling book, “The Smudging and Blessing Book: Inspirational Rituals to Cleanse and Heal,” among many other best-sellers.
by Jane Alexander
Smudging is wonderful. Truly. Try it and you’ll become a convert, I’m almost willing to bet. I love it because it’s the simplest yet most incredibly effective form of space clearing available. It takes just five minutes to learn the basics and you’re off. Obviously the more you do it, the more sophisticated you become, but it really is entry-level metaphysics, esoteric practice condensed into a few fool-proof actions. Most importantly it really works.
My most powerful experience of smudging came when I visited shaman Leo Rutherford in London. I had moved out of the city quite a while before and had totally lost the “street savvy” sense you have when you live in a big city. Consequently I was feeling pretty nervous about stepping out into an unknown (and slightly rough) neighborhood on my own at night. Leo must have guessed my apprehension, because he said, “Hold on, Jane. Just need to give you a quick smudge before you go.” I stood, in my coat and with bag in hand, in his hallway while he wafted smoke around me with a huge eagle’s feather. It felt like having an energy shower – tingles ran all over my body in waves. I breathed deeply and it was as if someone had fired up every one of my chakras. I gave Leo a hug and walked out, totally forgetting my fears. I walked through the dark streets feeling totally invincible. It was as if I had a cloak of power surrounding me.
If you’re not familiar with it, smudging is the common name given to the Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing, a powerful cleansing technique from the Native American tradition. Smudging calls on the spirits of sacred plants to drive away negative energies and put you back into a state of balance. It is the psychic equivalent of washing your hands before eating – and used as an essential preliminary to almost all Native American ceremonies.
I use smudging to cleanse myself (particularly if I’ve had a lousy day or have had to deal with difficult or unpleasant people). I use it as a prelude to all kinds of spiritual and magical work (it’s like a kind of spiritual power shower). I use it to cleanse my home and office. I use it to mark the seasons and as part of other rituals. Basically I use it all over the place, at all kinds of time – it is totally adaptable and practical, a really user-friendly soulful tool.
But how does smudging work? The answer lies in the sub-atomic world of subtle or spiritual energy. Homes and bodies are not just made of purely physical matter; they also vibrate with subtle, invisible energy (you might know it as qi or chi, prana, quwa etc). Cleansing a space or our bodies with techniques such as smudging clears away all the emotional and psychic “garbage” that may have gathered over years or even hundreds of years. It’s like spiritual spring-cleaning.
These ideas are not new-fangled nor are they airy-fairy New Age waffle. Native American tradition dates back millennia and most traditional cultures, from the Zulus to the Maoris, from the Chinese to the Balinese, have age-old forms of cleansing and blessing ritual. Even the West retains relics of it, although we have long forgotten the true purpose behind many of our rituals and ceremonies. The incense wafting through a church or temple is cleansing the atmosphere just as surely as the medicine man’s bowl of sacred smoke, or smudge. The bells that ring out on Sunday morning were originally intended to purify the whole parish through sound and lead the community from everyday space into worship – just as the shaman’s drum can lead us on sacred journeys into the world of the spirits…
Copyright Jane Alexander. All Rights Reserved.
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on Jane’s article! Please scroll down and leave your comments below.
Wishing you a cleansing and healing day!!