Sage and Sweetgrass

Sage and Sweetgrass
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Sweetgrass is used for blessing after sage has been used. It brings in the good spirits and the good influences.  Sweetgrass is an important part of Sioux and Cherokee ceremonies. One of the most sacred plants for the Plains Indians, sweetgrass is a tall wild grass with a reddish base and perfume-like, musty odor. It grows mainly on the eastern side of the Rockies in Montana and adjacent Alberta, Canada. It also shows up in some small areas of Wyoming and South Dakota. Its botanical name is Hierochloe odorata. Some common names for it are Seneca grass, holy grass and vanilla grass.

On the Plains, sweetgrass is usually braided together in bunches as a person's hair is braided, although sometimes it is simply bunched and wrapped in cloth. Either way, it is usually burned by shaving little bits over hot coals or lighting the end and waving it around, letting the smoke spread through the air. Elders teach that it is good to burn sweetgrass after the sage or cedar has driven out the bad influences.

As with cedar, burn sweetgrass while praying sends prayers up to the Creator in the smoke. Sweetgrass is can also be put in bundles along with sage to purify and protect sacred objects.Using Sage to clear negative energy

Smudging is the act of moving smoke from various sacred herbs through a space, your personal energy field (or that of another) or around objects such as crystals, stones or sacred tools. Sage is a powerful herb that clears negative energy and purifies the physical and finer environments. Energy fields around people or objects can become contaminated with negative vibrations and thoughtforms. Negative energetics can cause disharmony, imbalance, depression and illness. Use sage to clear and invite fresh, positive energy.

You may want to use single leaves for small items or a sage wand bundle for clearing larger items or places where a greater smoke trail is desired. *Be sure to have something fireproof to catch ashes and to set the burning leaves or bundles in. Abalone or other shells, smudge pots or ceramics work great.

How to use Sage:

1. Start with a prayer or blessing. Ex: "I ask the scent, the spirit, & the vibration of sage to cleanse my blessed (home, person, or object) from all negative or unwanted energies. And ask spirit to bless this (home, person, or object) with clarity and balance. So mote it be."

2. Light the leaves or bundle and hold in one hand, while you hold your fireproof surface and feather (if desired) in the other hand.

3. Begin making an outline around the person, object or space. Follow your intuition or what you feel is appropriate. (One way is to go counterclock-wise; 1st right, up, left, down. If cleansing house: start at front door and move through the first room on right first, continue through each room next and end back at front door, leaving a door or window open during the time smudging.)

4. End with a final blessing or expressing thanks. Snuff out the remaining burning leaves or bundle.

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