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Spiritual Journeys

Sweetgrass Purification


Please note:

The instructions on this page are what works well for me. You may find another way that works well for you.
I am not trying to "be native," or to "steal" native culture by outlining these steps. Sweetgrass is a plant that grows on this Earth, and as such, is available to everyone on this Earth.


Sweetgrass is an effective purifying agent.

Ideally, one should obtain sweetgrass by one of the following means:

  • gathered from a place where it grows wild
  • given to you as a gift
  • grown by you somewhere and harvested in a caring manner

However, if none of these are available to you, then by all means purchase some.


Sweetgrass smudging

This is done by lighting a braid of sweetgrass, putting out the flame, and "washing" oneself with the smoke.

The three parts of the braid of sweetgrass represent mind, body, and spirit.

If you are asked to smudge someone else, or a place or an object, ALWAYS smudge yourself first. You must be clean before you attempt to cleanse others.

  1. Sometimes the sweetgrass braid is too tight to properly light. So you may need to pull apart the braid slightly to get it to light properly.
  2. Light the sweetgrass, preferably with a more natural method, such as a coal from a fire. Next best would be with a match. least preferable would be to use a lighter. But if that's all you have, and you really need to light the sweetgrass, then use it. Lighting sweetgrass in a reverential manner is of course best.
  3. It is considered improper in many Native cultures to blow on sweetgrass (or on any fire).
  4. Hold the sweetgrass in front of you and, using your hand or a feather or some other similar object, gently push some of the smoke towards your heart.
  5. Push some smoke over your head, and from there down your back.
  6. Do your arms.
  7. Smudge your chest, stomach, gradually working down over the rest of your body.
  8. I like to also smudge the bottoms of my feet, as that is the part of my body that touches the Earth.
  9. When you're done, stand silent for a while, however long you feel is appropriate.
  10. Either let the sweetgrass braid go out by itself, or put it out by rubbing it against a stone.

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