Today’s post comes from Renee in North Dakota.
I must start out by apologizing to the Baboons for the obtuseness of the following post. I had to leave out some details so that I could tell you the substance of something I did without incurring all manner of rannygazoo for my furtive act.
I recently went somewhere (I can’t reveal where, for reasons I can’t divulge) which is usually full of people, but was deserted during the time of which I write.
It is a place I really like going to. It is also a place, however, where I have experienced a great deal of interpersonal strife, some of which goes back more than a decade. The strife ended suddenly and unexpectedly a short time ago. My purpose for going to this place was to heal myself and the place by smudging.
Smudging is something our Native American friends do to ceremonially purify and cleanse themselves and their surroundings by burning fragrant plants and wafting the smoke all over. I consulted with some Native friends about my smudging idea. They thought it was quite appropriate and supplied me with a shell, sage and bear root that they had harvested from their Reservation, and a braid of sweet grass.
The sage and bear root purify and heal; the sweet grass provides a blessing and counters negative energy.
Early one morning I took my supplies to the place I needed to smudge, all the while thinking peaceful and healing thoughts and good Lutheran prayers. It was just sunrise. I lit the sage and bear root in the shell, got them smoldering, and wafted the smoke all over myself. I then went from area to area in the place that were heavily associated with the strife. In psychology terms I would say that the areas were “deeply cathected” or full of negative energy. There was very little smoke but incredible fragrance, especially from the sage. I then lit the sweet grass braid and repeated the process. The whole procedure took about 30 minutes. I left the place and went home.
This is one of the goofiest things I have ever done. I told a few non-Native people what I was planning, and one of them said “That is so weird, Renee! I was just thinking, what would a shaman do to help heal this place?” Well, I am no shaman, but I took this as an affirmation from the cosmos that what I had planned was ok.
I had to smudge in secret because smoking and burning candles aren’t allowed at the place I smudged, and many people wouldn’t have understood why I needed to do this. Anger and strife are killers, in my experience, and I needed to put as much of them to rest as I possibly could. I feel more at peace now, and that is a good thing.
How would you nullify bad feelings associated with a significant place?