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Definition: Smudging is the process of smoking or smudging your living spaces with a burning sage / cedar bundle. This cleans the rooms two ways, first by trapping airborne germs and also by clearing the room of stale energy.
I have performed smudging several time and never had any trouble. It has always gone as smoothly as it could, as if going around with a weed and clearing the air of air-borne illnesses and other psychic debris could be considered routine, like dusting. Usually, the biggest problem I have with smudging is getting a good smoke from the sage, usually I have to use a bunch of matches or empty a butane lighter to keep the sage smoking. So this time it was going to be different I had my sage / cedar smudge about two inches in diameter. I spread the twigs apart to get oxygen deep into the bundle. All went well, I only had to restart it two or three times and it took off the desired smoke. I would blow on it to fan it and keep the embers burning and then I was done. I have a small apartment. I am always extremely careful with the falling embers making sure no to set my apartment on fire.
After finishing, I put the sage in an old pie tin on my table and sat down to enjoy my newly smudged apartment. I thought I must have done an exceptional job because I kept smelling the sage. I set about reading my book and did not think much about it, but in about an hour my small dog started acting strange and I had a sort of burning in my throat.
This time I had succeeded where other times I had failed because I did get the sage burning like I had never done before.
Other times the sage will simply burn itself out in the pie tin and then I run it under water. This time the bundle had been burning the whole time, it's plume of gray / white smoke twisting and curling and filling my apartment with it's unmistakable smell. Unfortunately, It was the not the warmest of days but I walked open the window and turned on the fan. I thread on a fleece sweatshirt and socks to keep warm and started to weigh the options of which was worse a cold apartment or a smoky apartment.
I tried to keep a delicate balance between being cold and trying to avoid smoke inhalation and frostbite. Do I keep the heat on with all the windows open? This appeared counter productive.
I wrapped my dog up in a blanket, he does not have a thick coat and we both braved the cold. He kept looking at me accusingly; yes I know I had caused this inconvenience to us both. The smudging was the gift that kept on giving. I had done such an exceptional job after three days of balancing the daily airings and keeping warm, I thought I had the smoke cleared out, but a few days later my sister complained of the smell. She has a freakishly sensitive nose anyway so once again cold fresh air to the rescue.
Now, I am not sure this was the desired result; do you smudge to get rid of pathogens and unwanted psychic energies? or is getting rid of the smudging smell really the cleaning?
It's like when they add the smell to natural gas because in its natural form its odorless, it's a warning system, so smudging is like getting rid of things that do not have a smell but when you finally get rid of the smudging smell you know you have gotten rid of the other things too. Next time I will practice better fire safety practices and wait for a warmer day so I can keep the windows open and maybe I will not get dirty looks from my dog.