Smudging, beseeching heaven!

Acupuncture is vibrational medicine and directly affects our energetic state.  I have gotten up after a treatment and thought to myself, wow, I remember that I was bothered by such and such but now I can’t remember why it was bothering me.  I had gained an energetic perspective where I no longer felt any need to complain.

An associated modality is moxibustion or the burning of moxa or mugwort, either on the skin, on the needle or just near enough to the body to impart heat and smoke.  There are a lot of benefits to this practice and you can purchase moxa sticks that you can burn and use to warm the body and certain points to affect digestion and stomach pain, menstrual cycles, fetal position, and the ability to relax and to feel nurtured.

Another related practice to alter your vibration or your energetic, emotional, or spiritual state is smudging.

Smudging uses the smoke and the vibrational essence of the plant to create a kind of liminal state, to augment the power of intention, and to access unseen powers. The rising smoke can be seen as a way to beseech heaven or to tap into unknown forces.

As thoughts and intentions influence reality, they are empowered by emotions.  Smudging is one way to tend to them, to move and release constrained feelings, and to uplift emotions.  

Smudging can be used as a ritual tool to cleanse yourself or your space of negativity.  This can include past trauma, negative patterns, or difficult energies from others.

You can establish a positive environment for meditation or any ritual practice by purifying your space first with smudging.  Choosing to let go of negative thoughts and influences sets your intention and clarifies your dedication to self-improvement. Smudging can be the ritual beginning to a change of mindset that can be transformative.

Sage is one of the common herbs used to smudge, but you can use practically any dried herb and each one has various benefits that it brings.  Experiment with culinary herbs that you know are safe.

Sage has a constituent, thujone, that is mildly psychoactive.  Plants that contain this are used in cultural spiritual rituals to enhance intuition or connect to the spiritual realm. 

Sage is antimicrobial and antibacterial and is thought to clear out spiritual impurities as well as microbes and pathogens. 

It is thought to release negative ions which neutralize the positive ions which are so damaging and inflammatory. 

One research study shows that white sage (Salvia apiana) is rich in compounds that activate certain receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for elevating mood levels, reducing stress, and even alleviating pain.

In addition to dissipating negative energy, improving mood, and strengthening intuition, smudging with sage might improve your memory and focus. 

Also, sage appears to help with fatigue.  Certainly, cleansing the environment and body of negative energy and opening the way for fresh, positive, uplifting vibrations is restorative in and of itself.  Sage smells wonderful and is a great air freshener and odor controller.

To smudge:

•Light the end of a sage bundle with a match and blow it out if it flames up.

•The tips of the leaves should smolder slowly, releasing a thick smoke.  Direct the smoke toward your body with one hand, while holding the bundle with the other hand.  You can use a fan or feathers to direct the smoke.

•Wash your face and head with the smoke, and let it wash over you and down your back.  Pay attention to your arm pits as the lymph needs to move and to be cleansed.

•Allow the ash to collect in a fireproof container, preferably something ceramic or a shell.

•Put out the smoke by tamping the bundle into sand or earth.

Smudging with sage has many benefits as a spiritual practice and may have certain health benefits as well.  There is very little research on smudging beyond the cultural practice of the ritual.  It is a sacred ritual in many traditions so please treat the ritual with respect.  At the same time, you can make it your own practice.  Enjoy!