by Ziggie Bergman
A simple sage smudging ritual to cleanse your aura and clear your space is a perfect way to see in the New Year.
Native American shaman and medicine men have used dried sage plants on their fires, in sweat lodges and for healing ceremonies for over 2,000 years. Any conflict, anger, illness or evil was absorbed by the sage smoke to be released or cleansed from the energy field of a person. It is also used to cleanse the home, for example after an argument or to welcome each season, washing out the old stagnant energy and bringing in the new. Smudging is also used by some therapists during or after their treatments at triyoga.
Sage is most commonly used for cleansing and healing, however you can also use Cedar, Sweetgrass and Lavender and it is easily available at many organic supermarkets or on the internet.
Before you begin Smudging: make sure the area you are smudging is well ventilated by opening all windows and doors so that the negative energy can "escape". Don't use near infants or very young children; asthmatics, or pregnant women and never leave burning smudge unattended.
Smudging is quite simple to do effectively yourself by following a few simple steps:
1. To smudge, light a smudge stick. The lit sage bundle produces a cloud of fragrant smoke that you can pass around yourself or another person or place that needs spiritual cleansing. Make sure to lift the arms, and with rooms get right into the corners and around and over doorways moving from left to right.
2. Focus on your intention. ‘I release all negative energies and may this place/person be filled with pure love and light energy from the universe'.
3. To smudge yourself fan the swirls of smoke with your hand or a feather around your body from head to toe. It's best to visualize the smoke lifting away all the negative emotions, thoughts and energies that have attached to you. If you are feeling depressed, for example, you could visualise the smoke carrying away all your feelings of depression.
4. If you want to smudge someone else, it is best to hold a positive intention and you could say something like, ‘allow the sacred smoke to cleanse your body and bring you present and available into this moment'. Or create your own prayer that fits.
5. Smudging a flat or space: first offer smoke to the four directions, starting with the east, then south, west and ending with the north. Beginning with the lowest level of your house, or, if it's a flat or bungalow, working from the floor upwards walk around the outside edge of each room, giving special attention to the corners and the places behind doors. Repeat the following either out loud, or in your mind: ‘I release all negative and stagnant energy in this place. May peace, light and love protect us and be ever present'.
6. Use a jar or ceramic bowl under the sage stick to catch the embers and to stub it out safely when finished. You can smudge at the beginning of each season and whenever you need a shift in energy to invite in the new.
Ziggie regularly smudges clients as part of the Zone Face Lift treatments. ‘It is a lovely way to release negative stagnant energy, cleanse the aura and invite in love and positive balance creating a feeling of well-being'.
Ziggie studied with Native American Shamen and Healers in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which inspires her teaching and treatments. She regularly uses white sage smudging in her Zone Face Lift treatments at triyoga. www.zonefacelift.com