The Accidental Shaman: Journeys with Plant Teachers and Other Spirit Allies - Howard G. Charing 2017
Using Herbs and Resins
The Colors of Infinity: Becoming Cognizant of Bioenergy Fields
A fascinating and helpful way to sense energy fields is with the smoke from herbs, wood, or tree resins. The origin of this technique is in smudging, a shamanic practice used to clear negative or “out of place” energy using the smoke from bundles of dried herbs, typically sage, lavender, or rosemary. In the Amazon the delightfully aromatic tree called palo santo, literally “holy stick,” is used for this purpose. Additionally, the locally grown tobacco Nicotiana rustica, known in South America as mapacho, is one of the most important plants used by shamans in the Amazon for cleansing and purification. This tobacco is usually smoked in shredded form (rolled as a cigarette, which is also called a mapacho, or in a cashimbo, a carved wood pipe). Or it is smoked in a puro (a “cigar” made of rolled leaves). The smoke from copal, a tree resin, is also used.
Using smoke to sense energy fields is similar to working with a feather, as described earlier. The key is to gently direct the smoke toward a person. Start from a distance of about twelve inches, and gently fan the smoke around the person. Place maximum attention on the smoke, and see what happens. Does the smoke hesitate and then shy away or does it recoil before it reaches the person’s body? Is the smoke pulled in as if by a vortex? Note these reactions, and when you have completed the practice discuss your findings with the person as per the exercise with the feathers.
I discussed linguistic metaphors for intrusive energy earlier, and those apply here as well. If a person feels “stabbed in the back” or has a “chip on his shoulder,” the smoke will generally reveal this by recoiling from those areas.