January 1, 2018
Amber's chest of incense used for smudging
What is smudging? The act of smudging is an ancient ceremony, practiced all over the world. The fragrant materials may differ depending on the geography and culture—ancient Egyptians favored Khyphi and Native Americans White Sage and Sweet Grass—but the one thing that remains the same is the specific intention to clear and bless a space or person.
Amber Jobin of Aether Arts Perfumes in the style of Alphonse Mucha
It’s 2018! Between all the changes the past year has brought and the head-long rush into the holiday season, I often find myself rather unceremoniously dumped into a new year not quite knowing how I got there. Whenever I find myself feeling dazed and out of step with time, I remember the importance of slowing down.
White Sage bundles for smudging
To that end, I’ve developed a few rituals that bring me into the present moment and also set the stage for a fresh state of mind. One of my favorites is clearing my home of all the stale accumulated energies (and smells) that have collected over the last year through smudging. I do this with fragrance and fire, using a smoldering bundle of White Sage to wash away impurities, sadness, anxieties, dark thoughts and any unwanted energies or emotions that may be clinging to a space or individual. I find this an especially nice way to welcome in and prepare for a new year. The simple act of lighting the sage, blowing on it gently until it smolders, and walking the sage around my home puts me profoundly in the present moment and clears my mind of mental chatter. Start in your kitchen and move clockwise around the entire house and around all doors and windows. You should say a prayer or have an intention as you sage or smudge
Palo Santo burning
The process is smudging is simple: chose your favorite, fragrant combustible—whether a bundle of White Sage, a sliver of Palo Santo, (Never under estimate a good stick of Palo Santo—it can change your world) or simply a stick of ready-made incense—set it alight, blow out the flames and let it smolder. Be sure to have a fire-proof vessel handy to catch any ash or sparks. With your now smoldering incense, walk through the space you wish to purify with the clear intention of dispelling any negative energies with the smoke. I like to carry the incense into each corner and any closets of a room I’m clearing.
Alternative to smudging: The Golden Lotus Electric Incense Heater by Mermade Magickal Arts (photo Amber)
There’s a wonderful alternative for those of you that have people or animal friends in your home that may object to the smoke of smudging: The Golden Lotus Electric Incense Heater by Mermade Magickal Arts. This beautiful incense heater has an adjustable thermostat that allows for gentle heating of incense materials which results in less smoke and more fragrance. It is by far my favorite way to enjoy resins like frankincense, myrrh, and opoponax. Frankincense in particular is a favorite all through the winter months; in addition to the beauty of its fragrance, it also great for a cold. It can help eliminate phlegm in the lungs. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory in the nasal passages, making breathing easier, even for those with allergies or asthma. The scent is cleansing, refreshing and relaxing and clears away the anxiety and stress that frequently accompanies being ill.
photo via flickr
Indeed, perfume takes its name from the Latin “per fumare” which means “through” or “by” smoke. Try smudging; you will be surprised how this ancient ritual will clear negative energy and foster positivity. Happy New Year
Note: If you missed our workshop on the art of incense making please read it here. All art by Amber unless otherwise noted-M.C.
House of Matriarch Antimony Incense
Thanks to Christi Meshell of House of Matriarch we have your choice of 100 percent natural Antimony incense (oud, palo santo, guaic gurgan balsam) which was based on her award- winning CaFleureBon Project Talisman
House of Matriarch
the highest quality palo santo incense wood to one registered reader Worldwide. Please be sure to register. To be eligible leave a comment with what you learned about smudging, where you live and what you enjoyed about Amber’s article, our first of 2018. Do you have rituals for welcoming in the New Year or making a fresh start? Are you familiar with smudging? Be sure to include whether you would like to enter for the incense cones or for the Palo Santo wood stick, which is only available to her clients. Draw closes 1/4/2018