Below is a list of common herb,
plants, grasses and resins that are commonly used in smudging
ceremonies. You can light these substances yourself and carry
a bundle of the substance around your home in a counter-clockwise
circle to cleanse your space. I highly recommend cleansing the
body outside, however, as I have found that sage can burn very
fast and create a lot of rapid whirling smoke that easily sets
off the fire alarm.
Sage Sprigs - the most common
substance used for cleansing is sage. The word sage comes from
the Latin word Salvia which means, "to heal." There
are also varieties of sage, which are from the Artemisia family
of plants. This includes mugwort which s used for cleansing and
protection. White sage is used for cleansing and protection.
Combining branches of pine and white sages together and burning
them is used to attract prosperity.
Cedar and Juniper branches -
These evergreen boughs have historically been used to help cleanse,
purify and protect ones belongings. Sometimes brooms are made
from them to use the smoke "sweep" to cleanse a home
during a house blessing.
Sweetgrass - This musty smelling
grass is used to drive out bad influences and draw good influences
into the home. It is often used after a prayer or ritual to "hold"
the magic" in its place.
Copal - this aromatic plant
resin is mainly used in South American rituals. The touch of
the strongly scented smoke from burning copal is thought to cleanse
and purify any object or person.
Frankincense and Myrrh - these
"biblical resins are used in Africa, the Middle East
and Europe for ceremonies and rituals. Burned together they are
thought to balance yin and yang, or the masculine and feminine
energies in a place or dwelling. Either is thought to draw blessings
into a home.
Tobacco - Tobacco is burned
to float prayers upwards to the Creator where they will be heard
and answered. Burning a tobacco along with sage, cedar or sweet
grass is thought to enhance the magical intentions of the smudge.
Smudges and resins can be bought
commercially from occult, new age and gift shops. I usually put
the branches, plants or resins in the bowl and blacken my hands
and face with it. While doing this I pray for protection, purification
and blessings from above. If healing another person or purifying
a room I will sometimes use a feather or a branch to waft the
smoke in the desired direction.
Smudging is not all hooey and
voodoo. The practice is also thought to created negative ions
in the air that remove static and create a positive atmosphere.
Not only do people usually feel good afterwards, it also creates
a space for the free flowing of positive energies and prayers.