About the smudging ceremony
(information from website: Aboriginal Multi-Media Society, Edmonton)
The smudging ceremony is a custom of Native American and other Indigenous cultures. For centuries many cultures have used smudging as a way to create a cleansing smoke bath that is used to purify the body, aura, energy, ceremonial/ritual space or any other space and personal articles.
The burning of various medicine plants to make a smudge or cleansing smoke is used by the majority of Native North American peoples. It is a ritual cleansing.
As the smoke rises, our prayers rise to the Spirit World where the Grandfathers and our Creator reside. Negative energy, feelings and emotions are lifted away. It is also used for healing of mind, body and spirit, as well as balancing energies.
Our Elders teach us that all ceremonies must be entered into or begun with good intent. Many of us use the smudge as a symbolic or ritual cleansing of mind, body, spirit and emotion. The smell of the burning medicines stimulates our brains to produce beta-endorphins, which are part of the normal healing process of our bodies.
It is customary to cleanse, (brush or wash the smoke) over our eyes, ears, mouth, hands, heart and body. Some people choose to brush it over their backs, to 'lighten their troubles.' It is customary to use matches to light the medicines, when available.
Banner photo credit: Lyle B. Mittelsteadt