So ... what is smudging?
Photo by Giulia Bertelli
Everything you need to know about abalone shells and smudging
Smudging is a word that often comes up when discussing spiritual goodness and all things high vibe’n. And for good reason: it’s a tradition which is sacred; it’s history tracing back centuries and spanning a myriad of different cultures. Smudging with abalone shells, however, may sound a little more foreign, but trust us - the two go together like peas in a pod.
HOW IS SMUDGING DONE AND WHY IS THE ABALONE SHELL USED?
Traditionally, smudging is a ritual performed prior to a ceremony to clear out any negative energies, thus creating a space suitable for healing and positive energies to emerge. In day-to-day life, however, smudging can be used to clear unwanted or negative energies from a space e.g. a new home or office; or to lift an anxious or ‘spiritually low’ mood.
Abalone shells (known in New Zealand as paua) are often used in smudging rituals, not only because they are practical in that they catch the hot cinders that fall away from the smudging stick after it has burnt, but also because they are a beautiful gift straight from Mother Earth’s ocean. Abalone shells are a thick seashell which shimmers with the gorgeous iridescent colours of mother-of-pearl. They hold the energy of the ocean and bring a strong calming and healing energy, allowing you to remain connected to the sea - even when you are landlocked.
Including abalone shells in your smudging rituals means you are incorporating all four of the earth’s elements: the shell represents water, the smoke represents air, the unlit herbs or sticks represent earth and once they’re lit they represent fire. By incorporating the elements into your smudging ritual, you’re inviting Mother Earth (or Mama Gaia) to be the focus of your ceremony. It is here, in the space created by Her, that transformations and manifestations have room to occur.
HOW TO CONDUCT A SMUDGING RITUAL WITH ABALONE SHELLS
Firstly, you’ll need smudging sticks or herbs, and an abalone shell. We love Palo Santo smudging sticks which you can read about, here, and purchase, here. The variety of herbs you might use for smudging all have different energies, for example, lavender promotes calming, white sage releases and clears energy, and mugwort is said to stimulate dreams.
You may wish to use a layer of sand inside the abalone shell to protect the natural shine that it has, from any smoke or embers.
- Using a match, light your herbs or Palo Santo smudging sticks
- Rest the sticks or herbs in the abalone shell, using it to collect any ashes or embers as the sticks or herbs burn
- To bless a person or object, use a feather to brush the smoke around them
- You may wish to walk around a space with the sticks or herbs, allowing the smoke to waft into the corners and ceilings
- Abalone shells have holes in them, so ensure any hot embers don’t fall through onto flammable materials such as carpet or bed linens
- If the smudging sticks have been resting in the abalone shell for awhile, the shell may get hot, so use caution when handling it.
SMUDGING WITH ABALONE SHELLS
So, there you go! Smudging is a great practice to use when your home or work space needs clearing of negative energy.
Including abalone shells in your smudging ritual adds a piece of Mama Gaia’s natural beauty to your practice and recognises the four elements of nature. Not only that, but they make such handy bowls for resting your smudging sticks or herbs in, during your ritual or ceremony.