Back in the time of spirit, ceremony and belief, Great Mystery gave to Turtle Island's Indigenous people four sacred plants. These medicines were meant to be used in prayer and other peaceful purposes. When combined the smoke carried our prayers to Great Mystery.
Today, what is often called a "Sweetgrass Ceremony" opens many gatherings, powwows, meetings and conferences; anywhere people are gathered in a good way. "Smudging" means the action of fanning or pushing the smoke over you to create harmony mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.
Place cedar, sage and/or sweetgrass into a clay bowl or shell.
Light it carefully and let the smoke begin to rise. It carries your prayers to Great Mystery.
Rub your hands in the smoke to cleanse them;
scoop the smoke in your hands and bring it to your head, so you will think good thoughts - no anger, jealousy or hate;
to the eyes, so you will see the world around you in a good way;
to the throat, so you will speak in kind and non-judgmental ways;
to the heart, so you feel connected to all living beings in a loving way;
so the solar plexus, so your emotions connect with Mother Earth;
Women, to the womb, so your life giving energies go out into the world in balance in harmony
- finally, underneath the feet, this way the dark side of your soul and the world will not follow in your footsteps.
Do you hear that? The Ancestors have awoken from their deep sleep and have come along with the spirit of the smudge. They are here to help you heal. As is the way with all things sacred, great respect must be given to the process of smudging - for a relationship is being formed between you, the plant spirits, the Ancestors and Great Mystery.
The hair of Mother Earth. It is braided to signify unity and strength. A single blade of grass represents an aspect of the living world, when separated it can be broken, but when braided it cannot.
When in ceremony, hair is usually braided to signify that we are all one people and that our world vision is one of strong, united, supportive communities. Sweetgrass is a tangible metaphor for a unified world. Sweetgrass soothes the emotions, calms the nerves and brings down the heart rate.
Its sweet smell and healing properties are used in physical healing. Bathing in a cedar bath or the occasional cedar tea, helps to cleanse the internal and external body. Feel its power seep into your pores. Feel the pulse of your heart as your body embraces its own health and wellbeing.
Line the floor of a sweat lodge with cedar so that its sweet smell can imbue those sitting inside. It s refreshing, invigorating and it heals.
As the white sage wafts across your body, breathe it into your soul. Let your spirit find its balance with the emotions and physical body.
Sage is women's medicine. Feel its power raise your spirits and feel yourself stand taller and stronger. There are holes in the spirit when it is sad, let the sage fill those holes with good thoughts and positive attitudes.
The most powerful of all, it gives thanks to Great Mystery and to the Ancestors. Often considered to be the oldest plant on Turtle Island, it was never meant to be smoked for commercial purposes. The sacred tobacco is pure and called Kinnikinnik". It s
comprised of tobacco, bearberry leaves, red willow and alder bark, among other things. It is smoked in sacred pipes and given to Elders and Traditional Teachers when requesting assistance or information.
Tobacco is sprinkled in thanks to Mother Earth, to Creator, and to the Ancestors for gracing us with their presence. Tobacco should be held in the left hand, closest to the heart. Raise your hand, it should be offered to the four directions before being
scattered on the earth.
Respect yourself, others and Mother Nature. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.
Love your personal community - parents, siblings, children, friends and neighbours.
Wisdom comes from gaining knowledge and experience.
Honour yourself and others by being genuine and speaking your mind.
We are all equal.
Be true to yourself, trust yourself and trust the Creator has your back.
Bravery lives within all of us - when we face challenges, make hard decisions and act to do what is right.