How to stain your home with native medicinal plants
As more and more people turn to spirituality and the power of positive energy, the spiritual practice of purification among indigenous peoples has become more common. We spoke with Angela DeMontigny, a Cree-Métis Canadian fashion designer and creator of LODGE Soy Candles, to learn more about how to properly participate in smudging and incorporate other wellness practices. -be indigenous in your home.
What is smearing?
The first thing to know about smudging, commonly referred to as the practice of sage burning, is that Indigenous peoples regard the natural world as their pharmacy. “Everything we need for our health is grown on Mother Earth,” Angela explains. “Our knowledge of the healing properties of plants has been passed down from our ancestors for generations.”
As explained in the Province of Manitoba Smudging Protocol and Guidelines by the Indigenous Inclusion Branch, smudging is a tradition common to many First Nations that involves the burning of one or more Earth Medicines. “Forms of purification vary from country to country, but are considered by all to be a way to purify oneself,” the report said. Indigenous nations use different medicines depending on where they live. Sweetgrass, sage and cedar are some of the most common medicines used in First Nations smudging ceremonies.
Angela has always considered purification to be an important spiritual practice. “Smudging is one of the simplest things you can do to shift the energy in your space. It removes negative spirits and energies from your home, which can impact your physical and mental health,” she says, adding that it has been passed down from ancestors for millennia.
Related: Is Home Your Happy Place? Here’s how to organize your home to support mental well-being
The Healing Properties of Sage in Native Culture
“Sage is one of the most grounded oils that calms the nervous system and balances your hormones. It activates intuition, wisdom, tranquility, contentment, self-love and sexuality. smell also has similar healing properties,” says Angela.
How to Apply Sage Stain in Your Home Ethically
As stated in the Purification Protocol and Guidelines, “The act of purifying the air, mind, spirit, and emotions can be accomplished in a variety of ways, but according to First Nations practice, a smudging is led by a person who has an understanding of what a stain is and why it is done.
If you want to stain your home, Angela recommends starting with your local Canadian Native community center. They will probably be able to find an elder who can help them. In fact, a lot of work goes into proper purification rituals, which can take several hours when done correctly.
“For example, you are moving into a new house and want to eliminate negative energy. In this case, you need to smudge very systematically. You need to open every space in your home: every drawer, closet door, and place where negative energy can hide. Smudging is moving in a clockwise direction, starting from the east of your house. Although Angela explains that you can use smudging for your physical and mental well-being, such as if you’re feeling anxious or want to smudge a small room, it’s only considered temporary.
Similar to any spiritual or cultural practice, smudging should be treated with respect. However, there is a different layer to consider when it comes to Canada’s Indigenous history.
Related: The Best Herbs and Medicinal Plants to Grow Indoors This Spring
Purification practices in Canada
“We often forget that it was illegal for Native people to hold ceremonies and use our medicines during the Indian Act,” says Angela. The Indian Act gave the Canadian government power over First Nations identity, governance and cultural practices from 1876 to 1985. “We would be imprisoned for something as simple as burning sage or sweet grass. This is also why buying something that appropriates Indigenous culture and reselling it for profit hurts many communities.
It’s also essential to make sure you’re buying sage from a genuine brand or native person. “When traditional retailers sell things like smudge kits for your home, it becomes a commodity sold for profit,” Angela explains. “There needs to be a recognition of a Native American connection and the importance of Indigenous cultural practices.”
Additionally, wild sage does not regrow when over-picked. Buying sage from an unethical source can mean that you are financially supporting the decontamination of essential medicines for indigenous communities.
Bringing Indigenous wellness to your home
Using her knowledge of Mother Nature’s healing properties, Angela began making all-natural soy candles using native medicinal plants. Once the pandemic started, she realized it could help people ease their anxieties during a difficult time, and LODGE Candles was born.
A candle, called CEREMONY, was designed to encapsulate the scent of being at a traditional Lodge ceremony when seated next to a sacred fire. CEREMONY is designed to enhance mind, body and spirit and uses essential oils of cedar, sage, sweetgrass and tobacco.
CEREMONY, LODGE Soy Candles, $72.
Images courtesy of Getty Images, Unsplash and LODGE Soy Candles.