As winter comes to an end, the crow caws its farewell to the winter season and earthworms and other critters come out of hiding to greet spring. Known to many Native Americans as the Crow Moon, the days around March's full moon invite us to reflect on change, consider letting go of things holding us back and step outside in search of new life.
In January, many of us gathered under the New Moon for a releasing and smudging ceremony. Smudging is a powerful way to transition from season to season or from one life phase to another. It is an ancient ritual, often performed in a ceremony, in which sacred plants are burned to clear or bless a space. Sage is most often used, however mugwort, cedar and many other plants and herbs can be used for various intentions. Smudging can help dissolve stagnation and negativity, clear harmful energy and help you start anew. Science has even shown that over 95% of the bacteria in a room is gone after sage smudging!
Grandmother Wapajea, a Native American with lineage from the Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee tribes, tells us, “The goal of smudging is to make a place clear of lingering energy that is different from what you may be intending for that space. You want to prepare the space for ceremony, the way you would clean your house, cook, and decorate when your family comes for a holiday. We are welcoming Great Spirit, angels, and ancestors to come and share clean space with us as well.”
This weekend’s full moon is a perfect time for smudging and reflecting on the change in seasons, any life transitions you are experiencing and what you want to let go of as we move towards spring time.
To guide you along your way, I am sharing our smudging ceremony script below, also inspired by Grandmother Wapajea and taken from some of her suggestions and instructions . A great local spot for sage smudge sticks is The Wildflower Tea Shop downtown!
Before lighting your smudge stick, you may choose to call to each direction. Here are the words we used to start our ceremony:
"We start in the East where the sun rises, and brings us the opportunity to begin again with each new day.
We go to the South and honor our creativity, our children, the child in us, our playfulness, joy, and hope.
We go to the West where the sun goes down, and the blackness of introspection begins when the day is done.
We go to the North where our rest awaits us. Knowledge, stamina, compassion, silence.
We look to the sky and welcome the energy from above. We welcome all that is masculine- the wisdom and love from our grandfathers, fathers, brothers.
We look to the ground, feel Mother Earth beneath us. We welcome the feminine energy of our grandmothers, mothers, sisters.
Bringing our hands to our hearts, we honor the healing energy and inner wisdom found within ourselves- a connection to all things, the gifts of balance, oneness and love."
After lighting your smudge stick, take a moment to pause and be with the sacred plant, its smoke and your intentions. The following blessing is a beautiful way to end your ceremony, especially if you are smudging with a friend or group. Consider saying the blessing to one another.
May your hands be cleansed, that they create beautiful things.
May your feet be cleansed, that they might take you where you most need to be.
May your heart be cleansed, that you might hear its messages clearly.
May your throat be cleansed, that you might speak rightly when words are needed.
May your eyes be cleansed, that you might see the signs and wonders of the world.
May this person and space be washed clean by the smoke of these fragrant plants.
And may that same smoke carry our prayers, spiraling, to the heavens.
I wish you all a Spring full of wonder, joy , creativity and beauty. Happy Smudging!