Smudging is a fabulous way of sanctifying your home, clearing away negativity and bad energy, and blessing your space setting the tone for a harmonious environment. The following ritual described is based on the Native American smudging ritual which traditionally uses sage, cedar or sweetgrass; however, any number of herbs, resins and incenses can be used to smudge your home and environment.
Cedar is good for driving out negativity, sweetgrass is good for blessing, fumitory herb is good for blessing, camphor is good for purification, pine and copal resins are good particularly if someone is ill or illness in general (especially respiratory).
To smudge your home, business, or other environment, light whatever incense, herb, or resin you are using and start at the center of the home...that place which you consider is the heart of the home. Offer the incense to the seven sacred directions, East-West-North-South, then Father Sky and Mother Earth (5th and 6th directions) and then yourself (7th sacred direction). Then, go to each corner of each room and working clockwise and from the bottom up, asperge the area, the the center again top to bottom. Also smudge the windows and lastly the doorway as you leave the room and enter another. After all rooms are smudged in this manner, smudge each person and animal in the home. For a person start at the head and move downward to the feet and have the person stand with their arms to their sides palms outward, do the front and the back of the person. With animals just be sure to blow some of the smoke over them. The final thing is to go outside of the home and working in a clockwise direction smudge around the perimeter. While you are doing this process, you should be praying any prayer of your choice that is consistent with your need.
Use of Incense in the Catholic Church
From the Catholic Encyclopedia
The use of incense was very common. It was employed for profane purposes as an antidote to the lassitude caused by very great heat, as perfumes are now used. Mention of its introduction into pagan worship is made by classical writers (cf. Ovid, "Metamorph.", VI, 14, Virgil, "AEneid", I, 146). Herodotus testifies to its use among the Assyrians and Babylonians, while on Egyptian monumental tablets kings are represented swinging censers. Into the Jewish ritual it entered very extensively, being used especially in connexion with the eucharistic offerings of oil, fruits, and wine, or the unbloody sacrifices (Leviticus 6:15). By the command of God Moses built an altar of incense (cf. Exodus 30), on which the sweetest spices and gums were burned, and to a special branch of the Levitical tribe was entrusted the office of daily renewal (1 Chronicles 9:29).
When, exactly, incense was introduced into the religious services of the Church it is not easy to say. During the first four centuries there is no evidence for its use. Still, its common employment in the Temple and the references to it in the New Testament (cf. Luke 1:10; Revelation 8:3-5) would suggest an early familiarity with it in Christian worship. The earliest authentic reference to its use in the service of the Church is found in Pseudo-Dionysius ("De Hier. Ecc.", III, 2). The Liturgies of Sts. James and Mark — which in their present form are not older than the fifth century — refer to its use at the Sacred Mysteries. A Roman Ordo of the seventh century mentions that it was used in the procession of the bishop to the altar and on Good Friday (cf. "Ordo Romanus VIII" of St. Amand). The pilgrim Etheria saw it employed at the vigil Offices of the Sunday in Jerusalem (cf. Peregrinatio, II). Almost all Eastern liturgies bear witness to its use in the celebration of the Mass, particularly at the Offertory. In the Roman Church incensation at the Gospel of the Mass appears very early — at the Offertory in the eleventh, and at the Introit in the twelfth century, at the Benedictus and Magnificat of the canonical Hours about the thirteenth century, and, in connexion with the Elevation and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, about the fourteenth century. "Ordo Romanus VI" describes the incensation of the celebrant, and in the time of Durandus (Rat. off. Div.) the assisting clergy were incensed. In the present discipline of the Western Church incense is used at solemn Mass, solemn blessings, functions, and processions, choral offices, and absolutions for the dead. On these occasions persons, places, and things such as relics of Christ and the saints, crucifix, altar, book of Gospels, coffin, remains, sepulchre, etc. are incensed. When used the incense is generally burned. There are two cases, however, when it is not consumed:
At Mass incense is generally blessed before use.
Symbolism and manner of incensing
Incense, with its sweet-smelling perfume and high-ascending smoke, is typical of the good Christian's prayer, which, enkindled in the heart by the fire of God's love and exhaling the odour of Christ, rises up a pleasing offering in His sight (cf. Amalarius, "De eccles. officiis" in P.L., CV). Incensing is the act of imparting the odour of incense. The censer is held in the right hand at the height of the breast, and grasped by the chain near the cover; the left hand, holding the top of the chain, is placed on the breast. The censer is then raised upwards to the height of the eyes, given an outward motion and slightly ascending towards the object to be incensed, and at once brought back to the starting point. This constitutes a single swing. For a double swing the outward motion should be repeated, the second movement being more pronounced than the first. The dignity of the person or thing will determine whether the swing is to be single or double, and also whether one swing or more are to be given. The incense-boat is the vessel containing the incense for immediate use. It is so called from its shape. It is generally carried by the thurifer in the disengaged hand.
Morrisroe, P. (1910). Incense. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. Retrieved July 8, 2011 from New Advent: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07716a.htm
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