When I started writing this post, I got excited because I saw my usual pattern emerge. You’ll often see me structure my thoughts (and website!) this way in the whole mind/body/soul approach, except that I like to use: physical, mental/emotional, spiritual. This is how I connect with the things I care about in a more balanced approach and see how they touch and affect each of these points or layers. Smudging is no different….
Today’s post got inspired be reading this article that references research done on the advantages to medicinal smoke, notably “rapid delivery to the brain, more efficient absorption by the body (and)… a powerful antiseptic”. I love when science explains the things I do! Links to the research are in the article and I encourage you to check it out. One thing to remember here is that many have allergies to herbs or sensitivities to scents. Always check with people who will be in your space!
The Mental & Emotional
I find that smells can be one of the easiest triggers of nostalgia, which aids in memory. I often burn herbs to slip more easily into a specific state of mind. If you consistently use the same scent for the same activity, it can powerfully support you in it. For example, for years, I burned cedar before meditating and now it helps ground me and puts me into a relaxed state faster. Another one is that simply the smell of coffee helps me work, even if I don’t drink it! Burning specific types of incense can move me to practice yoga or go to sleep. Learning what your scent triggers are or to purposefully associate them to an activity can help you be more successful at it. It’s a great tool that helps improve my productivity and supports me in a concrete way!
For me this is about intention. I consistently use sage to clean or clear a room and it works at this level because that intention has been set over and over again. I don’t only mean by me, but by generations of people who have used sage in this way.
Before I do any of my own spiritual practice, I feel it is important to honour the land I’m living on, which is the traditional unceded Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) territory, specifically Tio’tia:ke (Montreal). It’s my way of bringing my politics to my spiritual practice. Acknowledging the truth about the space I take up and honouring first and foremost the ancestors’ blood and bones beneath my feet, is a vital prerequisite to any spirit contact or intention setting that I wish to perform. Not doing so is like inviting someone over to a house that’s not yours. I mean, I can’t exactly ask for permission, but I can at least state: Yes, I see you, I recognize you, I send you healing and thanks for allowing me live and work here with the spirits I’m about to invite in temporarily.
That’s not totally exhaustive of what I do, but it gives you an idea.
Which herbs do you burn? What kind of support does smudging give you? Comment below!