Sandy-Lynn Fisher - Sacred Smudge Ceremony

Friday 6pm Just Us! Festival Tent


Kwe’, teluisi Sandy-Lynn Fisher and I am from the Annapolis Valley and reside in my community of Glooscap First Nation. You may recall, I attended the festival this past year and provided a smudge with my daughter, Lily-Beth and provided some opening remarks including the Land Acknowledgement. Still not sure??? I was the lady in the pink ribbon skirt that did not need the microphone. 😉

As I prepared for the smudge, I spoke to share my understanding and the cultural significance of my medicines and the teachings. I have been asked to put my words to paper to continue to share my teachings of my culture with smudging.

Firstly, I feel it important to state that my understanding, teaching and use of the traditional medicines was taught to me by respected traditional Mi’kmaq Elders. My knowledge and understanding, is not to diminish anyone else’s use, knowledge or understanding. Being First Nations, I am very aware that there are similar and different practices for the medicines in different cultures.

My medicines are kept wrapped in a red cloth, in a red bag. Culturally, spirits see red and are drawn to the colour. I was taught by an Elder that Spirits pay more attention to what is wrapped in red, as Spirits are aware of the significant to our ceremonies. Not only are my medicines in a red bag, but my Eagle feather has its own red cloth as well as my hand drum.

The medicines I used at this smudge were the 4 sacred medicines: sweetgrass, sage, tobacco, and cedar. Each medicine represents a direction on the compass and have their own healing properties and are used at different times for different ceremonies. The smudge can be used as prayer to the creator, to cleanse oneself of negativity and/or to cleanse an area of negativity. It is important to not touch the medicines or take part of the smudging if you are under the influence of drugs, or alcohol. This is out of respect for the medicines. This is also true if you are experiencing your menstruation. The reason, women are powerful beings. When women are in the experiencing this natural process their spirit and intent can influence the medicines. This is cultural practice.

As I lit the smudge, I used my eagle feather to extinguish the flame and have ambers to smolder the medicines. My daughter Lily-Beth demonstrated for us how we smudge. We follow the process of capturing the smoke in our hands and wiping over our heads to clear our thoughts, pulled to our ears to hear good things, to our eyes (closed) to see good things, to our mouths to speak good things. Breathing deeply the scent of the smudge, the process continues, pulling the smoke to cleanse your heart, wiping the smoke down your arms and legs to complete. Lily-Beth then turned around as I used my feather steeped in the smoke across her shoulders and down her back and across the soles of her feet. The ashes of my smudge are caught in an abalone shell. As all things do, when my smudge is complete, I return the ashes to Mother Earth. Sometimes I bury them, sometimes the wind takes the ashes before I can return them.

Our culture is beautiful, and we were honoured to be asked to take part.

In reflection of the smudge at the Deep Roots Festival, both Lily-Beth and I were so amazed with everyone that chose to take part and the conversations that we had afterward. We thank the festival committee, especially Louise Hanavan (& Hilda), and to Jane Mangle for asking me to write this piece.

Wela’lioq (Thank you, Everyone),
Sandy-Lynn & Lily-Beth Fisher
Glooscap First Nation

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