About Sacred & Blessing Herbs Click HERE
Sacred & Blessing Herbs & Smudging
With the discovery of fire, early humans began to notice that
aromatic smoke was produced by burning dried plants. As herbs, roots,
resins and barks are changed from their physical form (of this
world), they are changed by the element of fire into smoke (spirit
world form). This transformation is evidence of the spirit within
substances. Throughout human history aromatic plants have been used
in the daily activities of people from every culture. In Catholicism
the use of incense is likened to one's prayer being kindled by fire
in the heart, spoken by the lips resulting in the odor of Christ on
As time has passed, this connection between people
and plants is being forgotten. We are drifting further and further
away from the ways that connect us to the plant and animal spirits we
share the earth with. We are losing our understanding of the physical
things around us connect us to the spirit of life. People native to
Turtle Island (The Americas) understand that the influence of plant
medicine is very real in their daily lives.
The act of smudging is done with a smudge bowl or Abalone
Shell with the appropriate herbs directly lit or burned on a
coal or Charcoal Tablet. When usingcharcoal tablets, the bowl or
shell should be filled with sand or a flat stone to prevent
overheating the container. Smudging is also done with herbs tied in
bundles called Smudge Sticks. In either case the smoke is
'washed' over the person or object with a Feather or by fanning the
smoke with one's hand.
To do a blessing of a person, begin by
looking into the eyes of the person for a moment to 'greet' them, fan
the smoke first at their heart and then up to the right side (your
left) of the person's head, moving around clockwise (sun-wise),
gently washing them with the smoke. Continue brushing smoke down over
their left shoulder and the length of their arm and back up again to
the shoulder. Wash the smoke down the left side of the torso, left
leg and foot. Now smudge the right foot, up the left leg, torso and
down the length of the right arm and back up to the shoulder. Now
turn the person around, turning to their right (sun-wise again) and
repeat these movements as you smudge and bless the person's back. For
objects, bless them moving sun-wise around them also.
Smudging in the Seven Directions
Facing East - I welcome the energy of the beginning way,
the rising sun at the beginning of the day and the light of
illumination. Welcome Eagle, flying nearest the heavens, with the
clearest of vision. I welcome the energies and spirits of the East.
Facing South - I welcome the energy of service to all my
relatives, the heat of the noonday sun and the spirit of action in
the world. Welcome Coyote spirit. I welcome the energies and spirits
of the South. HO!
Facing West - I welcome the energy of looking within to
find the gifts of healing. Welcome Bear spirit going deep within to
seek the gift of renewal. I welcome the energies and spirits of the
Facing North - I welcome the energy of wisdom and
blessing and the Grandmothers and Grandfathers who teach me. Welcome
Buffalo and the spirit of giveaway, teach me to be generous and
honor all that I receive. I welcome the energies and spirits of the
Looking up - I welcome the energy and spirit of Above.
Father Sky, Star people, and Cloud people. Welcome all that is
masculine, grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles and sons. And
that masculine energy that also exists within the feminine. I
welcome the energies and spirits of Father Sky. HO!
Looking down (touching the ground) - I welcome the
energy of Mother Earth, the feminine principle, the energy and
spirit of Below. I welcome the energy and the spirit of our
grandmothers, our mothers, sisters, aunties and daughters. And that
feminine energy that exists within the Masculine. I welcome the
energies and spirits of Mother Earth. HO!
Looking within (holding your hands over your heart) - I
welcome the energy of Within, the principle of being connected, the
energy and spirit of Within. I welcome the gifts of balance,
oneness, and the connection with all things, for all things are one
and all things are related. HO!
Smudging and Blessing Herbs
The use of sage is for healing. The smoke is used to
bless, cleanse and heal the person or object being smudged. Sage is
used to 'wash off' the outside world when one enters ceremony or
other sacred space. Objects are likewise washed off with sage
medicine smoke to rid them of unwanted influences.The plants that
are called sage can come from very different families of plants.
True sages are in the genus of Salvia; this includes Salvia
Officinalis (garden sage) and Salvia Apiana (White Sage), also
called California White Sageand Sacred Sage. Many of the herbs
called sage come from a completely different family of plants, the
Asteracea family. This family brings us the genus of Artemisia from
which come New Mexico Sage (Artemisia tridentada), and the sage from
the Dakotas (Artemisia ludoviciana), also called Grey
sage, Prairie sage, Dakota sage, Lakota Sage and mistakenly
sometimes called White sage. All of these sages (Salvia and
Artemisia) are used for healing and cleansing. More can be learned
from the book Sacred Sage, How It Heals.
Cedar is a medicine of protection. Cedar trees are
very old, wise and powerful spirits. Cedar is often used
to cleanse a home or apartment when first moving in, inviting
unwanted spirits to leave and protecting a person, place or object
from unwanted influences. Cedar is used as a name for a number of
different genuses of trees and shrubs. The primary ones are Cedrus,
Thuja, Libdocedrus and Juniperus. The Junipers are not truly Cedars
(scientifically) but are used as such by many people. Keep in mind
that these scientific names have little meaning to the people using
them as medicine in traditional ways.
Also called Seneca grass, holy grass and
vanilla grass. This very special herb's sweet vanilla-like scent is
the breath of the Earth mother, bringing the blessing of Mother
Earth's love. Sweetgrass is burned to remind us of essence
of the feminine and that the earth provides us with everything we
need. Sweetgrass can also be be unbraided or trimmed with a scissors
into small pieces and sprinkled on hot Charcoal Tablets. Allow the
sacred smoke that follows to wash over the subject of the blessing.
The sacredness of the sweetgrass herb then sustains the smudging
process. Use a smudging feather if you need to douse the flame or
promote more smoke.
This native of Europe is often used for
invitation of the spirits. The name may be derived from the Latin
lavare (to wash) or livendula (meaning bluish). In ancient times
lavender was an important herb used in mummification. There is a
legend that the clothing of baby Jesus was laid upon a lavender bush
and acquired the fragrance. Some Christians still regard the scent
of lavender as a safeguard against evil. Burning Lavender is
best done on Charcoal Tablets.
This is tree sap from Mexico that is similar to
Frankincense. When burned it has a crisp, clean, sharp scent that is
almost citrus-like. Copal is sacred to the native peoples
of Mexico, as it is a gift 'pleasing to the gods.' Because copal is
the blood of trees, it is offered to honor the enormous gift given
to us by all of the tree people of our planet. Burning Copal is best
done on Charcoal Tablets.
At one time both Frankincense and Myrrh were
considered to be more valuable than gold. Used to embalm the bodies
of the Egyptian Pharaohs, this tree resin is considered to cleanse
and protect the soul. Frankincense became important to most every
major religion in the world and is still used in Muslim, Jewish and
Catholic rituals. Frankincense is said to ease depression and
promote clairvoyance. Burning Frankincense is best done on Charcoal
This tree resin is said to help one maintain a state
of enlightenment. It also connects one to the spirit of youth and
clears the path of debris that stands in the way of one's truth.
Burning Myrrh is best done on Charcoal Tablets.
It is traditional to use a bird's
feather to brush the smoke over the person or object being
blessed. It is important to use the underside of the feather to wash
the smoke over the object of blessing. It is the underside of the
bird and its wings that face the Mother Earth as it flies and it is
this surface of the feather that offers the blessing medicine of the
Other Important Herbs
An herb that has been used in smoking blends for
the sacred pipe, also used as a tea for lung inflammation. Mullein
is also called Yerba del lobo, velvet plant and miner's candlestick.
Red Willow Bark
This is another traditional ingredient for
smoking in the pipe. It is not really a willow, but a dogwood. Sioux
people call this bark Chanshasha.
This is one of the roots called Bear Root. This
plant grows mainly in the Rocky mountains and is used to invite the
bear spirit medicine. Osha is an important medicine for people from
northern Mexico to Canada, often used for infections.
Called Kinnikinnik by many people, this is
another plant used in pipe smoking mixtures. Uva ursi is commonly
used as tea for bladder infections.