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Home Page > Aromatherapy Article Archive > Essential Oils for Spirituality and Enlightenment > Native American Smudging Rituals

Native American Smudging Ceremonies and Rituals

Native Americans posses a profound respect for mother earth and for using the gifts of the earth on their path for physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. Native Americans use fragrant natural herbs like sage, sweetgrass, juniper, cedar and pine/pinion needles to help cleanse and clear the air of negative influences and attract positive energy.



Native Americans find that sage, when properly burned, helps to rid a space of negative energy. Native Americans tightly tie and dry sage into bundles known as smudge sticks. Though a different technique is needed to burn and keep smudge sticks burning, smudge sticks are considered a form of incense. The process of burning the smudge stick is known as smudging. Lavender, Sweetgrass, Juniper Needles and Cedar Leaves can also be combined into smudge sticks. Each botanical is believed to help ward off negativity, clear the air and/or attract positive energy.

Sweetgrass is also commonly used by Native Americans. It is thought to cleanse a room, ground it, and make the space sacred. Unlike smudge burned in bundles, sweetgrass is generally braided into sections that are approximately 12" in length.

It goes beyond the scope of AromaWeb to provide the depth of coverage needed to discuss smudging rituals in detail. For more information, I recommend the books Sage & Smudge: The Ultimate Guide by Diane Ronngren and Sacred Smoke by Harvest McCampbell.

Exploring the Benefits of Sage and Sweetgrass without Burning Them as Smudge

Sweetgrass and Desert Sage, the type of sage most often found in smudge sticks, are available from at least two of AromaWeb's advertisers as hydrosols. From Nature With Love sells Organic Desert Sage Hydrosol and Aromatics International sells Organic Sweetgrass Hydrosol. If you'd prefer not to burn herbs within your environment but would like to try a variation of a Native American Ritual using sage and sweetgrass, consider working with these hydrosols.


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Wendy Robbins (Cert. Aroma ACHS), Founder of AromaWeb, is a Professional Level Member of the Alliance of International Aromatherapists and the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.

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