Smudge. Pray. Listen. Follow.

He sat quietly for a moment, ensuring his heart and intentions were pure. He is mindful and centered, allowing himself to let go of what doesn’t serve him. He took a deep breath in, letting it out as he struck his wooden match across the edge of the rock setting the sage to a flame. He took the time to thank the Creator for all the gifts of knowledge he has received and sprinkled tobacco allowing the smoke to rise, running his eagle feather across thoroughly to cleanse. Next, he smudged his hands and brought the smoke over his head to receive only good thoughts, his eyes so he will see the good in himself and others, his ears, to listen to only positive words, and his mouth, to speak well of others.

He smudges every morning as a way to reconnect with the Creator and to start fresh, breaking from the past while releasing what doesn’t benefit him. He prays for himself and others to be the best he can be and for good things to come into his life. He asks the Creator to watch over him, protect him from the dark spirits, and heal him from head to toe. If he is experiencing negative energy, he never sends it back and always asks for it to be turned into positive energy.

Many different types of smudges are used, Willow fungus, Buffalo Sage, White Sage, Horse Sage, SweetGrass, Sweet pine, and Cedar. Most smudges can be used by themselves or a mixture of several smudges, and some in cases mixed with other herbs based on the user’s preference. When he teaches others how to smudge, he tells them to be very specific in their ask. If you ask for just strength, you will receive it but maybe not in the way you wanted.

He started learning about plants when he was 14 years old. The elders knew instantly he would respect the knowledge and stories that were given to him. He is connected to the land in ways he cannot explain and believes wholeheartedly in the blessings of Mother Earth. There
is so much healing in the plants that surround us. People walk by, never knowing what they have. He is always learning and has the knowledge to assist people with the medicines of plants.

He has been taught what herbs to pick and what parts of the tree or plant to use. When to harvest and what season, and preserve the plants, roots, and barks gathered. There is also much to know about preparing them for consumption because everyone he helps has different needs and tolerances. Herbalists have a powerful love and respect for Mother Earth (the natural world). Herbs are collected carefully with a sense of conservation and respect for the environment, as well as a reverence for the spirit world. They understand that all things are living and connected, put here by the Creator to help us. When he takes something, he gives something back; usually, tobacco offerings are left along with prayers dedicated to the plants he collects. Gratitude and thanks are expressed when he takes the little brothers and sisters (the standing people), asking them to be good medicine to help us.
If you are collecting plants or herbs for yourself, he stresses to always put your shovel on the east side because that is where life begins. You must share what you take, and when you take from mother nature, bury tobacco to give back and say a prayer. Never take more than a third of the harvest and put the roots back or scatter the seeds to regenerate…

SMUDGE. PRAY. LISTEN. FOLLOW.