Smudging is a time-honored ritual used for clearing, cleansing, and bringing blessings to a person or a space. In smudging there are specific dried plants used, each with their own meaning and purpose. This article will provide a brief description of each along with their meaning.
Sage is probably the most widely used plant for smudging. This plant is very common, and comes in many variations. White sage smudging is popular, and white sage is the desired variety because of its large, attractive leaves and its pleasant aroma.
In a smudging ceremony it is common to use a bundle of sage tied neatly together. The end of the smudging wand is lit, and the flames are quickly extinguished with smoke immediately following. The smoke is guided around the person receiving the healing, gently offered to the recipient while asking that this person be cleared of negative energies.
It is not always possible to use smudging wands and smoke for a spiritual blessing or clearing ritual. A smoke-free smudging spray can be used in its place, bringing the essence of the plant without the smoke.
Cedar can also be used for smudging, though this is less common. Western red cedar is very popular among the cedars, distinguishing the cedar from its relative the junipers.
When cedar is used in a smudging or spiritual blessing the smoke rises to carry prayers to the creator. The use of cedar is similar to the use of white sage: clearing of negative energies or spirits, purification of the physical space, bringing in the wisdom and blessings of the elders, and setting the energy of honor and sacred space.
Sweetgrass is founds in the plains, and strands are braided together. This sweet-smelling grass is typically used after clearing away stagnant and negative energies using sage or cedar. Once a sacred space has been created the sweetgrass is then used to promote wellness, call in good spirits, and set a tone of positive influences.
Disclaimer: Whether you are using an essential oil or the smoke derived by smudging care should always be taken to assure that you and those around you do not have chemical sensitivities to sage. It is the responsibility of the individual to properly research in the use of any essential oils or plants.