Guys. Is smudging cultural appropriation? Someone just told me I shouldn’t smudge as it’s a ‘closed practice’. I know it’s an ancient Native American practice but had never been asked not to do it. I want to be respectful, but… I am thoroughly confused at this point!
This is a wonderful, but debated, topic. There has been some discussion in the past. Here is one topic. I posted some links to other topics within the forum in my reply.
Angela’s Symposium, run by Doctor Angela Puca, University Lecturer and PhD in Anthropology of Religion, believes it would be best to decouple indigenous religions from indigenous people, but she says scholars are still debating the issue. The attached YouTube video lists her references for further research.
While I personally don’t believe smudging itself is wrong, I do agree with those who believe we should stay away from White Sage due over-harvesting impacting indigenous groups.
I think calling it smudging is closed. Burning the sage or palo santo for cleansing is not a closed practice. It’s my understanding that “smudging” is a Native American ritual for some tribes & it’s not always Sage that is used.
I will say that I usually don’t call it smudging, I call it cleansing my space.
@Francisco or another mod may have more guidance for this one. I may be confusing 2 practices.
That’s my understanding too from some of the articles I’ve read. Calling it smudging, rather than using sage or something else to cleanse a space.
And also the over harvesting of white sage as @praecog29 said. I try to buy what’s described as ethically sourced.
I say the word cleansing as i had came across articles and posts on other sites that did describe smudging as a Native American ritual associated with cleansing energies.
I also dont use white sage because of the environmental impact but, i do grow and use ordinary garden sage for cleansing and spells
I typically use Palo Santo or if I do use sage, I buy it ethically sourced. 99% of the time I use Palo Santo though.
I’m so glad this was brought to my attention! I had no idea. Thank you all for the info!
I learned that white sage is endangered because of the boom in witchcraft. It’s very important for Native American ceremonies, and we can use other sages and herbs to smoke cleanse, thus leaving white sage for our Native friends. The more you know!
And shoot. Just checked some sage I have and it’s definitely white sage.
Wow. Such an informative article. Thank you for sharing. It’s amazing the things happening in the world that one can be completely unaware of.
I’m going to see if I can return these white sage bundles to where I bought them. If I can’t, then… I’ll figure something else out! I definitely don’t feel right using them.
I smudge ,I am also a Taurus , just letting everyone know that so they will understand why I answer this way , it’s just me. I smudge where ,when and however I want to , period. It makes me feel good in alot of different ways , like a new person. So they can kick rocks if they don’t like it.
I don’t mind the word. As long as the people using the word understand they are not performing the same ritual as indigenous peoples, and they don’t mean disrespect, then using the term should be okay. I still believe we shouldn’t use white sage because as witches we should want to seek a balance with nature and white sage is being over-harvested.
I think as long as you are using it in a way that is not disrespectful to anyone you are fee to use white sage. I agree we get caught up in the verbiage sometime as to whether you are smudging or cleansing. Like everything else just use it respectfully.
This will always be a hot topic!! I’m part Seneca, but I don’t live the life of typical Indigenous people. I do have friends of my relatives that speak of it. They all have mixed feelings. Most say it’s closed. My family’s friends say it’s the production and selling of the white sage and Palo (of other businesses) that’s taking their rightful businesses. At the end of the day, it’s what you feel comfortable doing. There are other options like cedar, lavender, resins, etc.
I have a cedar, juniper bundle that I forgot all about! Thank you for the reminder! I have used lavender before too. I’m just running low on some things right now. Bundles, incense, candles. I’m such a slacker
Personally I just never felt comfortable calling it smudging. I always liked cleansing my space or item or whatever. Again, that’s just me personally.
I call it cleansing too!!!
Birds of a feather! & Great minds!
I call it cleansing too, no matter what I’m using.
I do have some lovely sage incense blocks that smell great and aren’t too smoky.
Hi Sarah! Great question!
Here’s a short introduction to the topic of smudging and the medicinal herbs that Megan mentioned too:
“We have been given as indigenous First Nations people, medicines to be able to carry us. Those are four main medicines: Sage, Sweet grass Cedar and of course the first medicine which is Tobacco.”
“I will pick my own medicine, or with somebody that I trust. When you take the time to go, there’s a preparation that happens with these medicines. You don’t just go and pick without giving something back. You take the time to take your tobacco, you speak to the creator, you talk to that medicine.”