Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A Tuesday apprenticeship in photos

Week 7 June 10th 90 plus degrees (hot and unbearably humid)

Sacred Smoke Bowl Blessing

Every morning for the past few weeks as I finish cleaning/organizing our space for the day Zoe smudges. A few weeks ago she asked it she could "do the smoking" I admit I was a little confused, it turned out that she wanted to do the smudging. I gave her the light smudge stick and she walked through every room and outside saying, "I bring Blessings and Peace" She then came in and smudged herself and then me.

It has been a few years since I made Smudge Sticks which are simply a bundle of dried herbs. So I decided that it was time to make some.

Smudge sticks are the most natural form of incense—they’re just wild plant trimmings, nothing else.

Mugwort was the herb I chose to use because of its abundance, it surrounds us, It was also my first plant ally. As a class we have been talking a lot about finding and connecting with our plant allys and exploring the dream realm with our allys. Mugwort smudgestick seemed like the perfect ritual aid.

Botanical name: Artemisia vulgaris

Common names: Mugwort, Moxa, Traveler’s Herb, Artemis Herb, Felon Herb, Muggons, Old Man, Sailor’s Tobacco. Cingulum Sancti Johannis aka St. John’s plant (NOT St. Johnswort).

Smudging has been used as a cleansing technique from the Native North American Tradition. Smudging calls on the spirits of sacred plants to drive away negative energies and restore balance. It is the art of cleansing yourself and your
environment using simple ritual and ceremony. Traditionally white sage is burnt in order to clear space, cleanse aura, purify or change the energy or when in need of grounding.

While White Sage is known to be spiritually cleaning, and purifying Mugwort , also known as "Dream Weed" is known for its unique ability to stimulate dreams, and aid in trances and visions. It has been associated with the Full Moon and with the Summer Solstice since ancient times. Use mugwort for awakening the higher mind, enhancing intuition, psychic awareness, and visualization. It is said to assists divination, lifting the veil between the higher realms of consciousness.

Common Herbs Used in Smudge Sticks

White Sage
Cedar / Pine
Sweet Grass (Sweetgrass which grows in high elevation alpine meadows throughout the West. Its unique vanilla-like scent and centering, relaxing energy)
Copal (commonly used in Mayan medicine)

Next up.....

A Solstice Mugwort Crown & Wreaths: A garland crown, or ritual head wreath, can be easily made from one or more freshly cut Mugwort stalks. Select a young, supple stalk at least 2 feet in length. Begin forming the circle of the crown by gently bending the stalk at its midpoint and then interweaving it upon itself. About halfway through the interweaving process, try your crown on and then adjust it so that it fits comfortably on your head. When you are done, trim off any excess leafless stalk. If you prefer to have lots of foliage on your crown, make the initial circlet a bit bigger, and then weave several more additional stalks around it, one at a time. Start each new stalk at a different point along the circle in order to distribute foliage equally around the perimeter. Wreaths for decorating doors, shrines, deity images, and altars can be made in a similar way, and can be any size. Dried wreaths, hung on or above doorways, are wonderful house blessing charms.

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