A reader asks: “What is the proper term for when you have a bundle of dried sage and you burn it and have the smoke drift over someones body? kind of a spiritual cleansing thing?”
When you have a bundle of White Sage that is lit until it smokes, and use that smoke around and over someone as a form of spiritual cleansing it is called smudging. The act of smudging combines the fragrance of the smoke, with white sage being very aromatic and pleasant. Other plants used for smudging are cedar and sweetgrass, each having their own symbolic meaning and purpose. For example, sweetgrass would be the blessing, calling in the good spirits after the “space” has been cleared of negativity.
Yes, it is a kind of spiritual thing, a ritual that has been practiced throughout many centuries around the world. Smudging combines an action with intention and learned values.