Liz and James Fulcher, Lakota Wedding, October 2001
What is Smudging?
In 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. We were married in a traditional 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 your physical 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 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 until someone discovers your little purification ceremony is the cause of the chaos. That really won’t work at all.
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.
Therapeutic and Energetic Uses of Sweetgrass and Sage Hydrosols:
- Uplifting and extremely energetically protective
- Powerful for space clearing and smudging
- Excellent for removing old energetic 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
- Helpful for sore throats
- Can be used on scrapes and cuts
Books about Smudging
Sage & Smudge: The Ultimate Guide by Diane Ronngren and
Sacred Smoke by Harvest McCampbell
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Liz, I love this. Thank you for sharing some of your Lakota wedding story. It’s beautiful. I’ve never thought to use smudging when DH and I have been angry with each other. The hydrosol will be a good alternative from the herb though because it makes him crazy when I smudge around the house. I love learning more about Native American practices too. I live in Pine Creek and whenever I am out on the canoe or trails I can feel their presence and I am sad for what has been lost. Thank you for sharing.
Hi Liz, Thanks for sharing your Native American wedding ceremony. I have been involved in Native culture for a very long time and have used sage, sweetgrass, cedar, pine, piñon & spruce for smudging. All of these plants have something to offer us for cleansing, clearing space & healing. I made my daughters’ leather wedding dress beaded with long fringe. I beaded her a beautiful belt to go with her dress. And mocs as well. It was quite a beautiful ceremony.
What a beautiful story Dee! Thank you so much for sharing. I would love to see a picture of your daughter’s wedding dress, plus the belt and mocs. I had no idea you were insterested in Native American culture. We have so much to share when we meet one day 🙂
I have a small plant that I bought last month. Is the distillation process like the steamy water on a pot lid while boiling the sweetgrass and water?
And how much water and leaves are used to create something small? Thank you very much!