Spiritually Cleansing Herbs
Answered by: Susan Eagles and Conrad Richter
Question from: Cheryl
Posted on: November 23, 1998

My husband and I moved to the southern part of California seven days ago. Since then, we have had nothing but misfortune. I know there is a cleansing herb to burn in a residence that helps eliminate negative forces. Can you tell me what it is? I intend to buy plants and create a water garden indoors. Any other suggestions would be appreciated.

Smudging is a Native American ceremony used to cleanse people and objects of negative influences. The traditional plants used for this purpose are cedar, sweetgrass, sage or wormwood. It is done by placing the dried herb in a bowl, lighting the herb, extinguishing the flame and then fanning the smoke on the person or object being smudged using one’s hand or a feather. In the ceremonies, the participants, herbs and objects used in the ceremony, as well as the lodge in a sweatlodge ceremony, may be smudged.

A smudge stick is sometimes made by tying the herbs in a tight bundle. The smudge stick is lit then extinguished to produce the smoke.

Prayer bundles, little bags, may be made of these herbs, and worn or hung in the home. They are made from a circle or square of material, filled with the herbs, then tied with ribbon, string or thread. A prayer is said while making the bundles, and remains with the bundle. They are often hung in the sweatlodge so that they are blessed in the lodge and the prayers go out to the Universe with the steam from the lodge.

Every ethnic tradition seems to have developed measures for purifying the home and workplace. In the early European tradition, commonly called the Paganist tradition, there are many rituals and amulets that are used for clearing away negative forces. A good book on the subject is "The Master Book of Herbalism" (available from Richters).

In aromatherapy too there are ways to "purify" places essential oils. The book we carry, "Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit" can help you.

As for growing plants and building a water garden indoors, there is no question that indoor plants can help improve the atmosphere in the house. By their very nature, plants tend to calm the nerves and promote feelings of well being. The sound of moving water or the sight of pools of water are very healing and calming and can make the difference between misfortune and fortune. If you choose your plants carefully and can provide the right conditions you can build a successful indoor garden. Check our website’s "Magazine Rack" for articles on growing herbs indoors.

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