The use of scented smoke in religious and spiritual rites is an element common in many different cultures worldwide.
For example, the Catholic and Orthodox Christian Church still include Frankincense and Myrrh in their rites, to symbolise the prayers of the faithful rising up to heaven. Meanwhile, some Indigenous tribes of the Americas practice smudging, which is a ritual that involves the burning of sacred herbs such as Sage or Palo Santo for the purposes of spiritual cleansing or blessing.
Here at HOA, we use a combination of ingredients to cleanse our sanctuary, ranging from white Sage, Palo Santo, Frankincense, Myrrh and Dragons’ blood. We perform a cleansing ritual every day to rid the sanctuary of any stuck or heavy energies that may have collected throughout the day. This is done with pure intention and mantras to raise the vibrational energy of the cleansing. We guide the sacred smoke with a feather towards the areas that we want to purify, namely the perimeter and corners of the room, our crystals and our gongs. As the smoke dissipates, so does the negative energy! This ensures that the space is kept harmonious and light.
Apart from physical spaces, smudging can also be done to cleanse a person’s aura! In fact, it is recommended to cleanse yourself first before attempting to cleanse a space. You wouldn’t want to try cleaning your floors if you were wearing muddy shoes, would you? To cleanse yourself, simply waft the smoke over yourself starting from the top of your head and going downward toward the feet. Enhance the cleansing with mantras or affirmations, and if you like, you can visualise the negative energy leaving your body.
Beyond its spiritual use, smudging has also been proven to be beneficial to the physical body. Smudging with Sage and other medicinal herbs quite literally clears the air, as they neutralise positive charge and release negative ions, and has anti-septic, bacteria-killing properties. In 2006, a scientific paper entitled Medicinal Smokes was published in which research was conducted regarding the practice of smudging from 50 countries over 5 continents. It was found that, dating back to ancient times, smoke administered medicinally is typically used to aid lung, brain and skin function!
Frankincense has been found to reduce chronic stress and anxiety and reduce pain and inflammation, while Myrrh has been found to boost the immune system. Palo Santo, which name means Holy Wood, helps raise your vibration to bring a deeper connection to the earth and your divine source. On a physical level, it relieves symptoms of the common cold, stress, headaches, anxiety, emotional trauma and more. Dragon’s blood is said to create a protective environment that invokes courage, and aids focus in a person to create a meditative state of mind.
The benefits of smudging are plenty, rewarding us both spiritually and physically, but our favourite part about smudging is definitely because it smells so good!