Liz and James Fulcher Lakota Wedding October 2001

What is Smudging?

sudgingshellIn a traditional Native American smudging ceremony, the clippings of dried herbs like sweetgrass, sage, pinon and cedarwood are burned.  Participants gather the smoke and bring it toward the body.  The smoke is said to purify, offer spiritual healing, ward off negativity and attract positive energy.  Sometimes, one person will smudge another using their hands or a feather.

I learned all about smudging from my husband, James “”StandingBear” Fulcher.    James and I frequently smudge each other when we’ve had cross words, been ill or just want to cleanse ourselves and our home of negative energy.   He and I were married in a Lakota Ceremony in Oklahoma in 2001, and the night before our wedding we were smudged by “Red Shirt” a Lakota Shaman and dear friend to bring in positive energy to our union.

Smudging without the Smoke

Sometimes you would like to cleanse a space, or around your body but using smoke isn’t practical.  Picture this:  You’ve had a disagreement with a co-worker and you feel dumped on, angry and frustrated.  You have the sense that there’s a toxic energy in your office.  You pull out your bundle of sweetgrass and other dried herbs and light it.  You walk around cleansing the room.  Your office quickly fills with smoke.  The fire alarm sounds.  Everyone runs around in a panic.  Someone discovers your little purificiation ceremony is the cause of the chaos.  No, that really won’t work at all.
If you want to smudge to cleanse the energy and creating smoke isn’t practical, use a hydrosol!   I wrote an earlier post about hydrosols here.   Since plant energy and personal intention are the foundations of this practice, using the plant in another form can be just as powerful.

Why Sweetgrass and Sage Hydrosols?

Sweetgrass and Sage happen to be my personal favorites when it comes to using hydrosol for energetic cleansing.  They are made from the plants that are traditionally used in smudging.

This is from the website of  “Sweetgrass Hydrosol is one of the most powerful hydrosols to clear energetic space. The burning of Sweetgrass for ceremonial purposes has been part of the native culture in North America. Sweetgrass was once used in Europe as a strewing herb where it was laid at the entrance to churches – especially on saints’ days. It is believed that the practice of using the grass in European churches gave rise to the botanical name Hierochloe or Holy grass. Sweetgrass is distilled purely for the hydrosol, as no essential oil is produced from the distillation.”
Here is what Marge Clark of Nature’s Gift has to say about their White Sage hydrosol: “This is the white sage that has been used for millennium by Native Americans for ritual, smudging and healing. Those sensitive to the energetics of the oils and hydrosols will be amazed by this White Sage water…and find a hundred uses for it. We already are using it to clear crystals, Debi is going to use it instead of smudging when she’s in a place that burning sage is not advisable.”

Therapeutic and Energetic Uses of Sweetgrass and Sage Hydrosols:

  • Uplifting and extremely  energetically protective
  • Powerful for space clearing and smudging
  • Excellent for removing old energeric debris and energies on all levels
  • Use as an invocation spray to “set and call in new energies”
  • Beautiful deodorizer for rooms and cars alone or blended with essential oils
  • May be helpful for sore throats
  • Can be used on scrapes and cuts
  • May be helpful to stop bleeding due to the coumarins

Books about Smudging

Sage & Smudge: The Ultimate Guide by Diane Ronngren and
Sacred Smoke by Harvest McCampbell

Where to purchase hydrosols:



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