Smudging 4/25/21

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

Today has been interesting. I decided that I want to do a smudging ceremony for my house.

For those who don’t know, smudging is a Native American ceremony designed to rid the house of evil spirits. The idea is not dissimilar to the incense used by priests in Catholic services although the purpose is different as the rising smoke in the service is meant to symbolize the prayers rising to heaven.

With at least one window or door open (to let the spirits out), the idea is to burn sage throughout the house while wafting (often with a feather as I will do although you can use your hand) the smoke towards the open door or window. For me, it will largely be ceremonial and symbolic, but I am open, as I always have been, to the possibility that the spiritual aspect is real.

In order to perform the ceremony, I needed to find a few items (the sage, the feather and a shell for the ashes). Fortunately for me, there is a Native American store not too far from here (well, not too far from my mailbox, anyway). I stopped in and was chatting with the store owner when, not long after I had arrived, a young woman walked into the store.

She seemed to be waiting, feigning looking at the merchandise but she was spending as much time looking at me as anything else, not as if she was interested in per personally (she was quite young) so much as wondering when I would just be finished and leave so she could speak with the owner. So, since I was blocking her way, I offered to buy her a little something and asked what it was she was looking for.

And she opened up. She described herself as an empath, and how her boyfriend had left some weeks ago and she felt “stuck”, as if a spirit with bad intent had attached itself to her and she couldn’t rid herself of it. Skeptics at this point are probably rolling their eyes, but keep in mind that sometimes we are all emotionally “stuck”, feeling like we need to cry, or laugh, or somehow release emotions or get past some event, some thing or some person. As for me, who am I to say it’s not the presence of an actual spirit? There is more to life than we understand.

In telling her tale, she teared up and seemed to really be struggling with it. She wanted sage to clear her apartment (just as I will my house), but she also felt like she needed personal protection from these spirits. I’ve been around long enough to have toyed with the concept of crystals and crystal energy, and this store did sell crystals.

Crystals are interesting. Sometimes, a crystal will just talk to us. I asked my mother, many years ago, to buy a quartz crystal for me to help me stay calm and centered as I was taking a very important test (had I failed, as I had twice before, I would not have been allowed to continue in the doctoral program). Mom didn’t understand at first. I wanted it from her as a connection to remind me that I have people who believe in me, and when she found it, she called me, quite excited, and described how, after picking up several crystals before the one she sent, it just “spoke to her”. I suggested to this young woman that she pick up and hold some crystals to see if any speak to her, which she seemed hesitant to do. But as she was looking, I spied a Tiger’s Eye silver bracelet. These have to be silver to conduct the energy of the crystal to the wearer (so the belief goes).

Some crystals are attributed with special kinds of energy. White quartz is a good general but generic energy, while rose quartz is for love energy. Tiger’s Eye has an energy attributed to protection and connecting specifically with empaths because, as you look at a Tiger’s Eye, it almost seems as if you can peer into the crystal itself. It was rather more expensive than I was hoping, but I asked her to put it on. She said that, instantly, she felt calm and relaxed. So, of course, I bought it for her.

Did I help her to connect with the spirit world? Oh, I don’t know. Like I said, I’m open to the possibility, but I’m also perhaps to pragmatic to believe it outright. But, she walked away from that store knowing that a stranger did something nice for her, and feeling as if she moved on.

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