The ancient ritual of smudging is used for cleansing everything from homes to the human spirit and there’s proof that it works, writes Marchelle Abrahams.
The global self-care trend is booming. In fact, it is is gaining so much traction that Google searches for “self care” were 25 percent higher at the end of last year than in 2016, reported wellandgood.com.
It could be a sign that people are more in tune with their physical and emotional health and looking for solutions to keep their bodies and minds in balance. One such ritual is smudging. The ancient practice clears low vibrations and stuck energies in the home, said Athena Perrakis, the founder of Sage Goddess blog.
Smudging is a tradition that goes back thousands of years, and although it might seem like a new-age trend to some, it can be traced back to the Indigenous Americans who used it as the Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing.
The powerful spiritual cleaning technique called upon the spirits of sacred plants to drive away negative energy and to restore balance. Today, the practice has become more commercialised but the focus remains the same: clearing a space of negative energy.
Businesswoman Natasha Napoli owns Nourish'd cafe and juice bar in the heart of Cape Town. She smudges her store every evening when closing. “I honestly believe it clears the energy that has accumulated throughout the day in my small space. People walk into my store and they always say ‘oh, wow your place has such a good energy’.
“I fully believe that if you take the time honouring your space and cleanse the energy in the store then you will have no bad Juju entering.” Napoli says it is not just the fresh smells that enliven her place; she finds doing it therapeutic.
There’s also scientific research proving smudging can eliminate airborne bacteria by up to 94 percent. The study, published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, titled “Medicinal smoke reduces airborne bacteria”, found that treatment with medicinal smoke, which originated from a combination of burning wood, odoriferous and medicinal herbs for 60 minutes, reduced 94 percent of airborne bacterial counts, and the air purifying abilities lasted for up to 24 hours in a closed-room environment.
Because the internet is fast giving rise to the era of the self-care “expert”, it’s best that you search for a reputable online personality.
However, there are also authentic, educated voices out there offering a balanced, informed approach to self-care. Below is a list of well-trusted blogs and social media accounts to follow if you’re new to smudging.
Natalie Leicher is the founder of wellness and holistic brand RitualKind, which she founded in August. She uses locally sourced herbs, plants and flowers to create a South African product when it comes to her smudge sticks. “With each batch I try to introduce a different plant or flower, and each batch has a significant name and meaning,” says Leicher.
Australian online lifestyle portal Nature & Health has a blogs section that offers useful advice from experts in their field, from Ayurvedic healing to astrology.
Naha Armády spent most of her life as a seeker of wisdom, and took the steps to change her life into one of evolution toward her higher self. She has expanded from teaching workshops and leading rituals to formally incorporating her esoteric curriculum as the 22 Teachings School of Hermetic Science and Magical Arts.