When & How to Smudge Yourself
Smudging yourself on a daily basis can be very helpful in keeping yourself balanced and maintaining a peaceful state of being. However, you should definitely use shamanic smudging techniques when you’ve been around people who are ill, depressed, fearful, angry or generally emotionally unbalanced; before meditating to create a calm state of being; when you’re feeling blue or depressed; or when you’ve been under a lot of stress.
Smudging yourself is easy. If you're using a smudge stick, light the smudge stick on a candle flame. Hold the stick in the flame until there is a lot of smoke and the stick is burning well (that’s why a candle is better than a match as it can take a while to get the stick really smoldering). Using a fan, feather or your hand, gently fan the smoke onto your body, starting at the top of the body and moving downward. Get the back of your body as best you can (it is often easier to use a smudge pot and loose herbs for this). When you're done, inhale a little of the smoke (just a little!) to purify your insides.
If you're using a smudge pot or fire bowl and loose herbs, light the herbs using self-lighting charcoal, not the barbeque kind) until it is smoking well. Then, put the fire bowl on the ground and stand over it with your legs spread and feet on either side. Weave back and forth in the smoke until you have been thoroughly cleansed. Clothing is optional for this approach, and smudging in the nude is recommended for a more thorough cleansing. Again, when you're done, inhale a little of the smoke to purify your insides. People often feel more relaxed, lighter and brighter after smudging.
If you're going to use the smudge smoke during meditation, use a charcoal burner or fire bowl, light the smudging herbs and enjoy the scent and smoke as you meditate. Meditating with these herbs often produces a deeper and longer-lasting state of relaxation and contemplation.
A Personal Clearing
During a smudging ritual, you may want to include a Personal Clearing for yourself. Breathe in the essence of the sacred smoke herbs, and focus on yourself and your body for a moment, then bend and allow the wand or the feather (or fan) to move the smoke down as far as possible, to your ankles and feet. Move the smoke from that position near the floor slowly up the length of your body to the top of your head. This helps to cleanse your aura of any disturbances you may have experienced that day.
Finish your Personal Clearing, holding the wand or the feather in front of you at the level of your heart, and watch the sacred smoke rising up. Repeat any affirmations you say for your own well-being and spiritual purpose. Breathe again deeply, and then complete the ritual.
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