June 21st, 2019 marks National Indigenous Peoples Day, and at Walden Circle we recognized the native community with our residence participating in the traditional, “Smudging Ceremony”, led by one of our fantastic housekeeping members, Rebecca Burke.
Residents and staff at Walden, waited in line as each community member was cleansed through a smoke bath. For centuries many cultures have used smudging as a way to create a cleansing smoke bath that is used to purify the body, aura, energy, ceremonial/ritual space or any other space and personal articles.
Our Elders teach us that all ceremonies must be entered into or begun with good intent. So many of us use the smudge as a symbolic or ritual cleansing of mind, body, spirit and emotion. The smell of the burning medicines stimulates our brains to produce beta-endorphins, which are part of the normal healing process of our bodies.
Sage: Is seen as a women’s medicine, and offers strength, wisdom, and clarity of purpose. It is used to symbolize the life-giving power of women. Sage is often braided into three strands, similar to Sweetgrass, and hung within one’s home. It may be tied with a ribbon in one of the colors of the medicine wheel: Red, yellow, black, white or green.
Cedar: Is used for purification and to attract positive energy, feelings, emotions and for balance. Cedar tea has been used as a healing medicine. It’s high vitamin C content was essential to the prevention of scurvy, in a time when fruits and vegetables were unavailable during the long winter months. It was one of the first gifts of natural healing shared with the European peoples upon their arrival to Turtle Island (North America).
Sweetgrass: Is used by almost all Aboriginal peoples in North America. It is a ritual cleansing. The smoke rises, as our prayers rise above us to our Creator, the Grandfathers, and the Spirit World. Sweetgrass was one of the four original “medicine plants” given by the Creator to the first peoples.
The others being Tobacco, Cedar, and Sage. We cleanse our eyes so that they will see the truth around us, the beauty of our Mother, the Earth, the gifts given us by our Creator, the love shared with us through our families, friends and communities. We cleanse our mouth, that all we speak will be truthful, said in a way that will empower the positive, only good things, always full of words of praise and thanksgiving for our Creator.
It is customary to remove any metal, rings, watches, glasses, etc. (except those which cannot be physically removed), prior to the use of any smudge. Metal is man-made, and seen to hold negative energy. Some people choose to smudge these objects on a regular basis to remove any residual energy.