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Smudging Prayer: A Complete Guide

Smudging Prayer: A Complete GuideMarch 15, 2020

Smudging Prayer

Have you been clouded with negative thoughts lately? Is the depression taking over and you can’t seem to identify the reason? Well, then it’s time to offer a smudging prayer!

Why do we say so? Because, every being, every place and everything existing in this world has its own energy: positive or negative. Both energies have a significant impact on our lives. The unwanted energies can not only affect your mental well-being but also your physical health (but so does positive energy!).

However, when the negative energies penetrate your space – mental, spiritual, physical body or the environment – it’s time for a cleansing ritual. Which brings me back to smudging prayers. Yes, you guessed it right, it’s a cleansing ritual to help you start anew and refreshed. Let’s dig in for the details:

What is Smudging Prayer?


SUMMARY
It is one of the most efficient ways of cleansing your space from negative energies. It is usually conducted by burning sacred plants so that the smoke thus emitted purifies the environment.

Smudging rituals are age-old traditions widely practiced by native Americans to cleanse mind, body spirit and environment. It is usually performed by burning plants and sacred herbs like white sage to invite positive energy and get rid of the unwanted ones. It is believed that the smoke so emitted ascends along with our wishes and intentions to mingle with the universe.

This was the basis of the smudging process. When you combine it with a clear intent and a powerful prayer, the impacts can quickly intensify – and this is what is called a smudging prayer. 

When Do You Need to Perform a Smudging Prayer?


If you go back straight to the first line, you will observe that I have already answered this question.

Here’s a recap: Whenever you feel there’s a block in your positive thoughts or it’s been greatly replaced by negative thoughts. Smudging prayer can help you overcome it and regain your peace and bliss.

The primary purpose of a smudging ceremony is to prepare a grand welcoming in the form of clean space for all the invited angels, great spirits and ancestors. Thus, if you wish to manifest on the positivity that they bring along, offer smudging prayers!

Everything You Need to Know about Smudging Prayer
Everything You Need to Know about Smudging Prayer

Ingredients You Will Need to Offer Smudging Prayers


Now that you are aware of its basic concept and the need, let’s move ahead to equip you with this procedure. But before that, you need to gather your materials. Here’s a list to begin with:  

1. Smudge Sticks

Smudge Sticks
Smudge Sticks

Smudge sticks are nothing but the bundles of sacred plants you use for burning. While there’s a list of plant materials you can use for smudging. Let me cite the most common ones in details:

White Sage

Sage is the queen of all cleansing scents because of its’ surreal spiritual powers. The sage is available in various forms but the two most common ones are White sage and Dessert sage. Since dessert sage has a strong smell and is comparatively messy, white sage is preferred for cleansing rituals.

Fact check: Science says that burning sage can remove over 90% of bacteria in the air.

Palo Santo

Palo Santo is a sacred wood and carries amazing healing properties. One of the primary reasons why it is endangered. When used for smudging prayer it generates a sweet, bright and minty energy to keep you energized and positive for the entire day.

Fact Check: The use of Palo Santo dates back to the Inca era (Andean civilizations)

Cedar

The spiritual significance if the cedar tree goes back to thousands of years. Cedar leaves are widely used as a purification agent and the smoke from burning this sacred plant is believed to attract good energies and spirits.

Fact Check: Burning cedar calms restless children and even acts as a disinfectant.

Sweetgrass

Sweetgrass comes in long braids and has a very sweet smell. It’s used by the Native Americans to promote happiness, open-heartedness, and harmony. At times, the smell is so pleasant that it defeats the sacred white sage as well.

Fact Check: When burnt, sweetgrass can provide relief to people suffering from cold and cough.

TIP
Combine Palo Santo and white sage to amplify the influence. The combination can be miraculous in terms of spiritual well-being. You can also try the combination of cage-cedar. It is a potent combination with a credible history of extracting unbelievable benefits from smudging prayers.

2. Candle or matches

Candle or matches
Candle or matches

You will need a fire agent or something that can help you light your smudge sticks. Keep a candle handy along with match sticks or lighter.

3. Abalone shells/Fireproof container

Abalone shells/Fireproof container
Abalone shells/Fireproof container

Abalone shells are used by Native Americans to catch any ash that falls during the smudging process. It also has a spiritual significance, i.e. it is a representative of water since it is found in the oceans. However, in case you don’t have an abalone shell, you can also use a fireproof container or a bowl underneath the smudge stick.

4. Feather

Feather
Feather

For Native Americans, feathers bring in the air element. Practically it used to fan the smoke and enrich the environment with its positive properties. You can also use your hand in the absence of a feather.

TIP
During old times, smudging prayer was more of a spiritual activity than a cleaning process – thus the Native Americans also played drum or drumming music representing the beat of the heart. Thus, if you wish to perform the smudging process in an indigenous form, even you can include drum(s) in your ceremony.

CAUTION
Keep a bowl of sand handy at all times during the smudging process. It will help you extinguish the burning smudge stick after the ritual or in case of emergencies.

Before You Begin the Smudging Prayer Process


1. Don’t rush

Don’t rush
Don’t rush

Scared acts can backfire you when conducted hastily. Hence it’s best to allow yourself enough time. You can also meditate for some 5 or 10 minutes to calm your mind and heart.

2. Make way for the smoke

Make way for the smoke
Make way for the smoke

Open all your closed drawers, cabinet and every other piece of furniture around the house. Additionally, pull back curtains, open the blinds and all the doors and windows. This is done to allow the negative energies (in the form of smoke) to leave your space.

3. Your intent matters

Your intent matters
Your intent matters

The intention is the key to every spiritual ceremony, let alone smudging. Thus, take some time to introspect and contemplate. Figure out all the wishes for you and your family.

4. Focus on the blocks

Focus on the blocks
Focus on the blocks

Now that you have your intentions defined, redirect your mind to all the things that have been blocking you recently. Focus on unblocking yourself from the unwanted energies around you.

5. Clean the area

Clean the area
Clean the area

The area or space where you are organizing your smudging ceremony must be free of dust, dirt or other impurities. While the deep-cleaning will be taken care of by the smudging process, vacuuming will give you a fresh start.

The Process of a Smudging Prayer


Step 1

To begin the process, light the sage or the smudge stick that you have chosen. Now fan the smoke with your feather or hand and let the smoke spread all around you and the environment. In case you face difficulty in lighting the smudge, you can occasionally blow on it to keep the embers burning.

Step 2

Once you have a steady smoke, begin to move around the house. Walk clockwise and be mindful while moving. Let the smoke to every corner in your house – on the staircase, at the back of the furniture, dark and hidden corners everywhere. This process is called circumambulation and can help in making your space more sacred.

Step 3

Accompany it with a smudging prayer. The words and the length do not matter as long as it aligns with your intent. However, you can consider rhyming, I think it somehow stays with us. IF you don’t have a defined prayer you can also chant ‘Om’ with all your wishes in mind. To help you further, I have discussed a few prayers later in this think-piece.

Step 4

Once the smoke is spread everywhere and you wish to extinguish the lit smudge stick, you can simply put it out in an ashtray like a cigarette. You can also use the sand you kept aside while collecting the ingredients.

Additional Tips for a Powerful Smudging Prayer


1. Perform in day-light

Perform in day-light
Perform in day-light

It is highly recommended to perform the smudging ritual in daylight. The natural light from the sun when coupled with the power of smudging will magnify the impact and will help burn the negative energies faster.

2. Sit down and relax

Sit down and relax
Sit down and relax

Once you are finished, take time to sit and inhale the positive energy. Visualize all the negative energies dispersing and the positive spirits entering your space. Close your eyes, take deep breaths and you will naturally feel different energy – a lot happier and a lot less anxious.

3. Wear an amulet

Wear an amulet
Wear an amulet

You can also wear some items of protection to prevent the negative energy from entering you. An amulet, talisman, gemstone or anything else that can act as a layer of protection. Quartz stone is believed to absorb negative energy and can prove to be an excellent option.

4. Finish with gratitude

Finish with gratitude
Finish with gratitude

Native Americans believe that when the smoke stops rolling, that’s when the cleansing is complete. Well, voluntarily or naturally – whenever the smoke stops billowing, what’s important that you finish your smudging prayer with belief and gratitude. Know that you are shinier and brighter and all-set to face the new challenges that await you.

Some Precautions to Follow During Smudging Prayer


1. Don’t leave it unattended

Make sure there’s someone around the burning sage (or any other herbs) at all times. Remember, prevention is always better than cure.

2. Not near birds

Don’t perform a smudging ceremony near infants or birds. The smoke is powerful, it can make them sick. In fact, refrain from performing the ritual around people with weak respiratory systems.

Smudging Yourself

If you thought smudging prayers are only for the surroundings, here’s breaking the myth: You can smudge yourself also and it is as effective as it could be!

To do this, light the smudge-stick and fan the swirls of the smoke all around you. From head to toe, submerge yourself in the sacred smoke. Keep your intent in mind and visualize all the negative energies leaving you. For instance, if you are feeling stuck, believe that the smoke is lifting away all the blocks liberating your physical, mental and spiritual health.

Talk about good things with yourself. Here’s a detailed dig on inner-talk to help you learn the art of talking to your own self!

A Few Examples of Smudging Prayers

There is no defined rhythm of prose that you have to follow. You also create something of your own or use one of these:

Smudge Prayer for Person

May your hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.

May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where you most need to be.

May your heart be cleansed, that you might hear its messages clearly.

May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed.

May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of the world.

May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants.

And may that same smoke carry our prayers, spiraling, to the heavens.

Examples of Smudging Prayers

This can be used when you are performing the smudging prayer ritual for someone else:

Smudging Prayer for Home

* By the Power of the Divine, this home is blessed – Blessed Be!

* Sacred and holy ones, please clear this place of stagnant and negative energy

Examples of Smudging Prayers

It need not always be complex, even simple ones like:

Smudging Prayer for Negative Energy

Negativity that invades my sacred place, I banish you away with the light of my grace. You have no hold or power here, for I stand and face you with no fear. Be gone forever, for this I will say: this is my sacred place and you will obey.

Into the smoke I release. All the energies that do not serve; All negativity that surrounds; And all fears that limit.

Examples of Smudging Prayers

… can serve the purpose.

Sage Smudging Prayers

Sage smudging prayer (Source)

For more sage smudging prayers, click here.

Remember the communication with God and your inner-self in the form of smudging prayers can help you feel empowered. And the more empowered you feel, the faster you will experience the solace.  

Where and When of Smudging Prayer Process


Where?

The place of the ceremony does not really affect the divine benefits. This means you can perform the process anywhere. Say, for instance, if you are doing it in your residence, you can start from the front door and then move inside gradually. What’s important is that all the corners of your space – the farthest and the darkest – are covered with smoke.  

When?

If I have to answer the time to conduct a smudging prayer, it’s best in day-light (as mentioned in the ‘additional tips’ section).

With the time-interval, there’s nothing defined. You must be decider about how often you want to conduct cleansing rituals at your space. It greatly varies on how much your space or you are exposed to negative energies. You can perform it weekly, bi-monthly or monthly. Some people even perform once in a couple of months. As long as you are filled with positivity, it’s entirely your call!

One Final Thought!

There’s a lot of positivity out there, but there’s negativity too. Thus, you can either prevent yourself from these negative energies or cleanse it.

While the former becomes difficult (even impossible at times), the later is very much possible with multiple cleansing rituals. Out of which, the power of smudging prayers stands undefeated.