Do You Believe in Smudging?

SmudgeStick_000015957863.jpgA friend sent me this question the other day in a message and in the usual new style of quick response to text messages I sent back my first response but it has been on my mind ever since.

My first response was a true one but I’m not sure it was enough.  I hope she understood my meaning.  The response was as follows:

“Long subject. In short, it is not the smudge or the prayer or the deliverance but rather the state of mind and the spirit that accompanies the ritual.  There is also something to be said for the smell. Really does clean the air.”

While this particular question was about the native practice of smudging the bigger question is about the ritual and the reality of it working.

Much of our modern society has dismissed ritual as archaic and empty practice. I will give them room to believe that because that is what much of our ritual has become. Sending white sage smoke through a room to purify it is not going to clear away evil any more than daddy scaring the boogie man from under the bed is going to keep us safe for the night.  However, the ritual has merit because it solidifies faith in our heart with action and I believe it also has the power to manipulate the power of the positive and negative air or spirit around us.

Don’t tell my you don’t believe in that hocus pocus because every one of us has felt the mood of a room when we stepped in the door.  Our sixth sense knows when there is danger or anger in a room.  You have also sensed joy before you have seen it’s manifestation.  I don’t know the science of it all but I’m sure there is some.  We get strange premonitions.  Stuff happens which we cannot explain.  Whether it’s God, science or airwaves doesn’t really matter.  It is, however, undeniable that there are forces at work in the air which we cannot identify but we certainly can feel.

Religions are filled with ritual and while it may seem archaic to some, when the background of it is studied and the true meaning examined there is a richness to the practice.  The simple act of genuflecting may be a meaningless gesture but for those who practice it as truth rather than rote it is a prayer which invokes the power of heaven.

As for the smudge, I don’t really understand the full meaning but I have been witness to its power.  It has a way of grounding people and reminding them of their duty to others and to the earth.  Besides that, the sweet smell of the smoke really does clear the air of bad smells.


For more about the ancient art of the smudge try these sites:



About Peggy Guiler

You just never know what show up on my blog. As the name implies it is about the stuff of life just like Spilt Milk. Everyday events spark thought and contemplation. Special events in the community, the country or the world may strike a cord and get me talking. Sometimes it's about people in my life or circumstances, sometimes about my garden, sometimes about a book or a political issue. Always it's about something I am passionate about. In my business, River of Hope Enterprises (, I work as an "Certified Coach" (International Coach Federation), a trainer, consultant and speaker. and as a spiritual director. I also drive a school bus to keep the wolf from the door while I build my business. I love the kids on the bus (most of the time). My family is grown and I have three grandkids who thrill my heart but I don't get to see any of them very often. Circumstances of life have made "family" difficult. My son died by suicide at age 16 in 2000 and the strain on our family relationships since has been huge. Mental health is a field where I worked for almost 22 years and where I still do some consulting and training. That combined with my own battle with depression and my son's death weave together to form some of my greatest soap box items: suicide intervention, suicide bereavement and peer support in mental health are right on the top of my list. Social justice is an underlying passion. Keeping the wolf from the door as a single parent was full-time work and my career path as a journalists was augmented with cleaning contracts, cooking, retail clerk, and bartending. I have known hard work and am grateful for the experience and perspective it has given me. A firmly grounded faith and a passion for learning has now taken me toward a new field as a Spiritual Director and I am soon adding to that a license to marry people. As I move toward retirement I am very aware that I have to keep working so I chose to do things which will meet my modest financial needs and also my love of supporting people in their life journey. Woven into all of this is my love of writing. Trained as a Journalist, and having worked in the field as a freelance news writer for many years, I have a great love for writing. This blog is a new beginning for me. As I hone my skills and begin to form a daily discipline of writing I hope it will lead to more writing in the future.
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3 Responses to Do You Believe in Smudging?

  1. maddy says:

    I’m sure I would believe in them if I sensed a bad atmosphere in my home and I could get my hands on the right materials. An interesting read as I don’t know a great deal about native american traditions.

  2. sianob says:

    great post. No sure i believe in smudging- dont know enough about it-but there is undeniably something to be said about positive and negative energy!

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