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Shamans perform fire ceremonies for releasing, cleansing and balancing. Fire ceremonies are essential to purifying the body, spirit and heart, and can be used for healing and creating fruition in our lives. The fire is an ideal place to re-connect to your Oneness with the Universe. By honoring Pachamama (Mother Earth), Great Spirit, the Angelic light Being, and those who came before us and will come after us, you will re-orient yourself as to your true place in the Universe.
I always wondered why smudging cleared a space of heavier energies. I came across a few different pieces, but this made the most sense to me. Smoke from herbs like sage have the potential of seizing the positive ion in the air molecule and extracting it. The positive ion is the electric charge in air that can be harmful to you.
"In Peru, floral baths known as banjos florales (flower baths) are a staple of shamanic healing from the high Andes to the Amazon basin, where they are used to wash away unhelpful spirits so that blockages are removed and the energy of the universe can flood in to correct the imbalance... The patient must approach in a sacred manner, in prayer that his needs will be met, and with the intention that they will. The shaman then pours the water over his head and lets it run down his body, also blowing him with smoke to purify him, or with perfume so he will flourish."