For many years I have taught my students that smudging is essential for the health of people as well as animals. And I share the same information with my clients. Recently I saw those benefits dramatically illustrated for dog Lizzie.
When I first met Lizzie she wore a vest that proclaimed that she was blind and deaf. If those weren’t challenges enough for one senior dog, Lizzie had also been diagnosed with canine dementia. She would often pace and circle anxiously—bumping into furniture and walls. My client was losing a lot of sleep trying to keep Lizzie calm, day and night.
My client wanted to offer Lizzie as much quality of life as possible for her remaining time. We began a sequence of energy balancing sessions, and there was marked improvement. But when my client began smudging her house, and Lizzie, additional benefits were observed immediately. Whenever Lizzie would begin her anxious pacing my client would smudge her, and she would instantly relax and peacefully lie down.
So, what is smudging and why did it help?
Smudging utilizes the energetic and spiritual energy of a sacred plant such as white sage—in the form of smoke—to clear spaces (house, office, car) or personal energy. Before lighting the smudge bundle you ask the spirit of the plant for assistance and healing. When lit, the smoke cleanses and purifies.
Our bodies are comprised of energy. As we age our energy fields become more porous—rather like leaky jars. And that means if there are cracks in the energy field where energy can leak out, those same cracks also let heavy energy in.
Where does this heavy energy come from? Put simply, every living being has an energy field. Whether engaged in day-to-day life or facing major challenges filled with trauma and drama, we all are affected by the energy of others.
To illustrate, let’s use the example of what happens when you and your animal companion go to the vet.
A vet office is a place where both animals and people are under stress, fearful, and/or in pain. This creates heavy energy, which gets into your energy field and that of your animal companion, and which then comes home with you. Unless cleared, that energy begins to work its way into the inner energy pathways of the physical body.
Once entrenched in the physical body heavy energy can have a major impact on health and emotional balance. It is much less easily dispersed as well. Much better to clear it by smudging before it moves in and sets up housekeeping!
Whether dealing with illness or maintaining wellness, smudging is a very simple technique that supports the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being of all species.
• Some animals are not enamored of the pungent smoke, so explain to them beforehand why you are doing this and be respectful of what their personal comfort zone might be distance-wise when you approach.
• For situations (or animals) where you can’t have flame/smoke—such as stables, zoos and kennels—you can substitute a smokeless smudge spray.
• Many health food stores now carry white sage smudge bundles, but if you can’t locate a supplier near you I suggest checking out Shaman’s Market. They also carry some lovely smudging kits, White Sage and Palo Santo sprays—look under Sacred Offerings.
• To easily light or extinguish a sage bundle I cut the strings that wrap the bundle and remove one stem for use. It is also helpful to have a seashell or ceramic bowl to catch any embers while smudging. When done you may lay the sage stick in the shell or immerse the burning end of the smudge in a small pot of sand. Never leave unattended until safely extinguished.
UPDATE: During these challenging times we are essentially living in the hucha (heavy energy) swamp, so my recommendation is to smudge daily. If you would like to learn more about how and why, check out my video Clearing Space with Plant Allies: ReikiShamanic Tips #1.
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A WILD WAY TO HEAL
Rose De Dan, Wild Reiki and Shamanic Healing LLC, is an animal communicator, Reiki Master Teacher, shamanic energy healer, and author. Her classes, sessions and ceremonial work are inspired by wild and domestic animals who have issued a call to action for personal and global healing.
Her book Tails of a Healer: Animals, Reiki and Shamanism features heartwarming stories about animals and their role in her evolution as an energy worker and shamanic healer.