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Why Smudge?

Sweet Grass, Sage, Cedar, x̣asx̣as
The “smudging with Smoke” is meant to purify who-ever and what-ever it touches. The smoke is composed of sweet grass from the high, cool mountains; the sweetness of smell cannot be matched by any other and is meant to put you in the right – frame of mind.
The sage is from our hot, dry lands and contributes its very own powerful fragrance, reminding us that the hot, dry lands are also needed to balance out our existence on this land.
The cedar represents all the of the trees, one of which is the keeper of the fire according to our old Indian legends. Long, long ago, the tree’s foliage provided the thatching for summer homes, it provided for the much-needed cool shade during hot weather. A much larger one was constructed and thatched for feasts and for dancing. The open-opposite sides pulled in a breeze now and then.
The smell of Cedar is up-lifting personally as well as spiritually – why else would it be gifted with its incredible fragrance?
The last, but hardly the least, is the x̣as x̣as, the dried licorice root. Its medicinal qualities are many and used by many for hundreds and hundreds of years.
Some of its uses:
  • To soothe a singers vocal chords when having to sing for long periods.
  • To help heal laryngitis.
  • To help heal sore throats due to the common cold and the flu.
  • To help suppress coughing so one can sleep to become well again.
  • Sometimes it is brewed into a tea.
  • Sometimes it is ground up and mixed with tobacco and smoked, for the very reasons listed up above.
We all know that smoke tends to rise straight up, but as it does, it also permeates the air surrounding you, as it rises you pray that your own prayer will rise with the smoke to heal you from whatever ails you, to also help you to become the kind of a person you would like to be friends with.
Relish in the fragrance of this special mixture – imagine that the smoke is taking you to their own locations to receive blessings from each location, to make you more aware of your environment and how important it is to your well-being to have such an awareness.
When it is your turn to be smudged, hold out your hands, palms up and direct the smoke to you, use your hands as though you are washing your hair with the smoke, direct the smoke to your body, your heart and all the way to your feet, if you are a Catholic, cross yourself in the name of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost as the smudger moves on to the next person.
When the smudging stuff belongs to the Priest, his Deacon will care for it – if it is yours – he will hand them back to you. You will let the mixture burn down, if the briquette was a large one, you may have to go outdoors or to the restroom to put it out.
When the smudging ceremony and the Mass is over, you will feel so much better, your heart is lifted and if you are grieving (should this be a funeral mass) your grief is touched by the Blessing Smoke. The sweet grass, the sage, cedar and x̣as x̣as has to be blessed, they are the products of our Creator. You can imagine it as though the Creator has just touched you.
Respectfully Submitted,
Pauline Pascal Flett (April 3, 2007)
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