The vast desert land passed quietly along as I searched for wild horses from the van’s window. The land of the free and the brave. In my eight-year-old mind, freedom stood for no fences so one could ride their horse for days in one direction without obstruction, and brave was for those riding in the dry desert heat with little sign of water or grass for their horse to eat while dodging rattlesnakes along the way. As the van sped forward leaving a dust cloud in its wake, I dreamt of riding bareback and being uncontrolled.
We arrived at the reservation, not for a “show” but for learning and experiencing Native American traditions and rituals. At such a young age, this experience was ever-lasting, not by what was said or who I met or where I was, but for how it made me feel! All those years ago, one would think that memory was gone, faded in the past, but feelings are the one thing we remember above everything else.
In the last few months, I have found myself in a situation where family, friends, and others have suggested I have “it” blessed or sage it. Some meaning blessed with God, prayer, and Holy Spirit water, and others meaning with a form of prayer, healing, and cleansing done with smudging. My natural instincts of wanting to research kicked in and while reading and watching dozens of YouTube videos, memories of both spiritual blessings came to the forefront of my mind. So, the first thing I felt and thought was, Why not both? Well, asking that question alone was interesting. Some Christian believers say the Bible doesn’t speak of sage and Jesus gives Christians the ability to stomp out evil with prayer. The most damning was the word “ritual” in the smudging process. However, the Catholic church uses incense that is a resin of benzoin, Frankincense, and myrrh, and in the Hebrew Bible it states, “…every morning and evening the sacred incense was burned (Ex 30;7, 8;2 and Chronicles 13;11).” Native American’s use smudging to connect to “our” spirit, to our creator, with great respect. It purifies one’s space by removing all negative energy, thoughts, and aura.
When I walked out of church, I felt lighter, a peaceful feeling. When I left the reservation, I felt light and at peace. Giving great respect to (your) higher power and asking not only for forgiveness but the ability to show respect to all creatures on Earth (including Earth) with words and action…I can’t see the negative from either. Do what is in your heart and let your actions follow. In this world of hate and rage, one can only hope that seeking out a higher peaceful power can help move the negative energy out.