//What is Smudging?//
Smudging is a traditional religious ceremony practiced by a majority of First Nations, Native American and Indigenous peoples. Smudging is done to prepare a space or a person for a spiritual ritual or ceremony, or the arrival of spiritual leaders and elders into a sacred space. The burning of herbs is often accompanied by chanting, singing, fervent prayer and sometimes musical instruments. The particular herbs and techniques will vary from tribe to tribe and clan to clan, which is why the method is often past down from family members and tribal elders.
//How can I Smudge?//
Unless you are Native and have been taught by family/clan/tribe members, you cannot smudge. Native religions and cultures are closed to outsiders/non-natives.
//But other cultures smudging!!!??//
Actually, they use smoke cleansing. Smoke cleansing is the burning of purifying herbs to cleanse an area. It is a very basic procedure. The term for it is ‘Cense’. If you are Celtic, it is ‘Saining’. This process is completely different and unlike Smudging. Many cultures all over the world smoke cleanse, and have their own techniques and specific herbs they prefer. However, Smudging is a term that refers specifically to a religious ritual practiced in nearly all Indigenous tribal cultures. Because of centuries of having our cultures ripped from us and beaten out of us, we have lost our original terms for many of our religious rituals and important spiritual aspects of our cultures. So we are reclaiming the English words used for them, much like the terms ‘two spirit’ and ‘spirit animals’.
(I had originally posted a section here about the specific beliefs of my tribe, but I decided to take it down as this post usually gets a lot of discourse and I do not want my tribe’s beliefs exposed to negativity.)
I do not speak for all Indigenous peoples. I am Mvskoke Creek and Western Cherokee. I am what my people consider a Kerrv, a medicine person who has learned their practice through various sources and with experience. Please do not send me hate about this post. I am neurodivergent and prone to panic attacks. I will not hesitate to delete and block anything that could threaten my mental health. Thank you for reading. Mvto!