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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Reiki and ... Smudging

Dear readers,
This week we have guest author Dave Bause, introducing our new intermittent series, "Reiki and ..." If you'd like to submit an article for this series, just email with a brief description of what you would like to write. The idea behind Reiki and ... is to discuss modalities that can be used to complement Reiki. Thanks for your article, Dave, and thanks also for the photos.

Reiki and Smudging

Reiki Masters Jack Lupas, M.D., and Judy Lupas, R.N., demonstrate smudging in these photos by Dave Bause. See Dave's article below.

By Dave Bause, Reiki Master/Teacher

Smudging is a cleansing process, which many associate with Native American healing practices. It is frequently used to heal negative thoughts, emotions, energy, within ourselves, others, office buildings, crystals, etc. Reiki Masters Bronwen and Frans Stiene, Reiki researchers and teachers, define “smudging” as a “non-traditional technique using the vibration of smell to affect the energy”.[1]

Barbara Ann Brennan writes in her second book, “Light Emerging”, “Simply let the smoke (from the smoldering herbs)...diffuse through your auric field. It will take the dead orgone energy out of your field”.[2]

When I first began to smudge I thought the practice to be simply a new age ritual. Two things quickly changed my mind: Reiki class members who enthused at how great they felt after being smudged and a very high, integrous level of calibration for smudging by Dr. David Hawkins (Nobel Prize winning Psychiatrist, and author of Power vs. Force). He calibrates smudging at 520, very close to “unconditional love” (540). [3]

Smudging dates back thousands of years to China, India and Tibet, where incense was burned and its smoke used to spiritually alter, align and cleanse the energy.

Herbs used

White (desert) sage, not the green garden variety, is one of the most widely used, along with cedar, sweetgrass, and lavender. Driving out negative energies and “evil spirits”’are the chief reasons white sage is burned. Cleansing our aura, or others, or homes, offices, etc., is made easy with sage.

Native Americans recognize sage’s healing of negative energies and often follow with cedar and/or sweetgrass, in a sacred ceremonial process.

Herbs grown for smudging are available on many websites, and in some health food stores, as loose leaves, smudge sticks or stemmed pieces -- which I prefer, for safe, easy igniting.

Reiki applications

Just as neither Usui Sensei, Dr. Hayashi or Ms. Takata taught chakras with Reiki (they were probably integrated in the West by one or more of Ms. Takata’s 22 masters), smudging also became popular with many Reiki practitioners in the 1980s and 1990s.

Like many teachers of Reiki, I begin Level Two classes sometimes Level One, also) after a brief explanation of smudging, with class members smudging each other in pairs.


Before lighting the sage, fill a bowl with sand (herbs can become very hot!) for quick and easy extinguishing.

Check with class members for those who may be allergic to smoke, and insure adequate ventilation is available. Many community ordinances (and landlords) do not permit open flames inside a building. And take into consideration how others in your building may be affected by the smoke flowing through the
ventilation system.

Use a flame lighter, and apply it, holding the sage near the base of the twig, allowing the flames to ignite the topmost edges of the plant. Keep away from clothing and hair, as it burns.

After the flames have strongly ignited the leaves, gently wave the plant to extinguish the flames and fan the glowing embers to emit smoke. Many believe that using your breath to blow out the fire is not a good practices, as it may transfer your negative energy into the smoke.

When you have lots of smoke flowing, ask the person you are smudging to stand, facing you, with their feet shoulder width apart, both arms fully extended to their sides.

You may choose to begin with a brief cleansing prayer, expressing your intention silently or out loud.

Explanation for “first-timers”

Explain to those unfamiliar with smudging that you will be cleansing their aura’s energy, by outlining their body with the herb’s smoke, starting at the crown and moving across their shoulders, extended arms legs and under each foot. (Balance while standing on one foot may be a problem for some folks!)

Then, ask them to turn 180 degrees as you again outline and fill their aura with the herb’s smoke.

Hold the herb in your dominant hand, using your non-dominant hand to flow Reiki for your partner or student. This will enhance the cleaning energy, both on the front and back.

For self-use, move the smoke around your own aura, both sides, as you flow Reiki and say a positive prayer that your energy field be cleansed for the Highest Good of All.

When finished, please fully insert the herb into a container filled with sand, as some embers may continue to burn, risking fire hazards.

Cleansing Home/Office

Flowing Reiki with my non-dominant hand, I ask Source, as I draw the power symbol* in the four corners of a room or office, to cleanse away all negative energies.

Guide the herb’s smoke toward the ceiling and floor, as you prayerfully state your intention.

[1] The Reiki Sourcebook, Bronwen & Frans Stiene
[2] Light Emerging by Barbara Brennan
[3] Truth vs. Falsehood: How to tell the difference, David R. Hawkins, M.D., PhD.

*Editor's note: The term "power symbol" is used in some Reiki lineages to describe the symbol also known as CkR.

There's no Reiki Roundup this week, but you can always check The Reiki Digest Live Feed for the latest headlines.

Autumn in New York: There are still a few spaces available in the Shinpiden (Master/Teacher level) course with Frans Stiene of the International House of Reiki, sponsored by The Reiki Digest, October 19, 20, and 21, 2007. Contact for details.


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