The smudging ceremony creates a cleansing smoke that both purifies the air around you, your body, and your soul. “It purifies everything,” explains Phillene. “There’s something about the smell of sage or sweet grass that is unexplainable. It just happens. It creates a calm environment it symbolizes that there is something greater than ourselves.”

Like the Sweat Lodge, the act of smudging removes negative energy and centers you so you can heal. The ceremony calls on the spirits of sacred plants to drive away negative energies and restore balance.

“We are taught by our elders that sweet grass, sage and cedar are medicines that help to clear the mind and body of negative energy, and it lifts our spirits,” said Marcus Red Thunder.

“When the ‘medicine’ is lit, we wave our hands over the smoke and bring it on to our body as a symbol of accepting the healing powers of the medicine,” Marcus said.