Q:

How do you perform a smudging ceremony?

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Quick Answer

To perform a smudging ceremony, clear your space of clutter, open the windows to allow clean air to enter the space, light sage, and blow out the flame so it smolders. Fan the smoke around the area to clear the space of stagnant energy and prepare it for the ceremony. The supplies needed include the plant you wish to burn, an abalone shell to hold the plant, a lighter and a feather.

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Full Answer

Smudging is a Native American tradition, and the process used to sage varies based on tradition. Some people light the sage, "wash" themselves with the smoke, and then allow the sage to burn in the abalone shell. Other traditions call for starting to the left of the door and moving left all the way around the house while saying a prayer to clear the space.

Some other sacred plants that people use to smudge include pine needles, tobacco, sweet grass and cypress. The availability of local plants and the intended purpose of smudging often dictates the plant chosen for smudging. For example, westerners use pinion, desert sage or sweet grass, while people on the East Coast often use tobacco, cedar or juniper.

According to Native American tradition, the components used in smudging represent the four elements: the plant represents the earth, the smoke and feather represents the air, the fire represents itself, and the abalone shell represents water.

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