We've all grown up in the past 30 years hearing nothing but horrible, awful things about cigarettes, cancer and the tobacco industry, whilst shaming smokers out of more and more public places. And yet many people still smoke – including “clean-living spiritual people”, and probably many people in this Facebook group 🙂 It's easy to shame-bash smokers by telling them their aura/chakras/lungs are riddled with toxins/negative thought forms/addictive spiritual parasites, but like all duality, today I encourage you to consider another side to smoking... A sacred side, that involves prayer, offerings, purification and respect. And as Indian Jesuit priest Anthony de Mello pointed out, “Be grateful for your sins. They are carriers of grace."

Smoking is an extremely powerful spiritual/magical tool. Perfumed smoke, burning myrrh, incense and joss papers can be found in almost every place of worship on the planet – from temples and churches to monasteries and pagan sites. Long ago, spirit guides from the herbal kingdom channelled to indigenous people how to smoke and smudge with tobacco, cannabis, mullen, lavender, rose, sage, cedar, sweetgrass, emu bush and other plant medicine, for both ceremonial and medicinal purposes.

Native American Indians used tobacco ('semah') to connect the Earth and Sky (aka the material and spiritual worlds). As one of the four sacred plants, tobacco represents the Eastern Direction and the mind – and was used to connect the worlds since 'the plant’s roots go deep into the earth, and its smoke rises high into the sky'. Using meditation/prayer smoke produces a very grounding and expansive energy flow, and a greater consciousness including visions and other divination or channels. Sacred herbs are powerful, but when misused or disrespected, their power consume us. Tobacco, therefore, can be either a healer or a destroyer.

Tobacco was never meant to be used and smoked the way we consume it in our society today. “White people misused tobacco, the sacred medicine of the native people, and it made them sick. When native people misused white peoples’ medicine, the sacred wine of the mass, it became their undoing,” says indigenous elder Sun Bear. Many Native Americans today use cigarettes as a way of still continuing to honour the tradition of smoking the Sacred Pipe, after that right was taken away from them. They view tobacco as a Sacred Medicine Plant that helps carry their prayers to the Creator.

Tobacco has the quality of being able to absorb. When made into a poultice, it can absorb toxins out of a rash or bug bite. When you pray with it, it absorbs your prayers. And when smoked, the smoke carries your prayers up to the Creator. The problem this presents in modern society is that most of the places we smoke are busy, noisy, stressful environments (often laden with judging stares from other non-smokers) – all of this is absorbed into the tobacco vibrationally, and then magnifies harm and stress in the smokers' bodies. If your intentions when smoking are kept clean and higher vibrational, the ritual holds a different significance. (Less than 25% of habitual tobacco smokers ever develop a smoking-related illness.)

For HSPs, cigarette smoking may also help to shield the emotional body from overwhelm; it may be that the smoke decreases the empathic overload of feeling the feelings of others around them. Having smoke fill the lungs may also surround and 'protect' the heart (thus some people use cigarettes as a smokescreen / wall to heartbreak, painful feelings etc). For control freaks and over-analysers, plant medicine such as marijuana can stimulate bodily feelings of release and surrender to cosmic flow.

Writes Joylin Hill, “When something burns, it is surrendering its defined, solid, physical form and its spirit is being released to the air while the ash falls to enrich the earth. Smoke is a clear communication channel with the spirit world, a telephone straight to Creator God. It holds and carries our intentions. Because smoke has such powerful metaphysical properties, it is not an understatement to say that every time you have a cigarette burning in your hand you are holding a magic wand, and the choice is yours as to how much care you will put into how you wield it.”

And don't forget the indigenous practice of smudging (purifying) rooms, energy and auras. Medicinal smoke is a powerful antiseptic that can purify the air of 94% of harmful bacteria for up to 24 hours, and releases large amounts of negative ions into the atmosphere, helping us feel lighter and freer. Different plant smoke holds different qualities:

African Violet: For protection and to promote spirituality within the home.
Allspice: For uplifting and increasing energy and determination.
Amaranth: For healing, protection, vulnerability and healing broken hearts.
Aspen: For ascension, protection, and overcoming fears.
Basil: To exorcise and protect against evil spirits/ghosts.
Bay Leaves: For psychic power, divination, success, and money; invoking wish magic.
Blue Spruce: The symbol of pure intentions, generosity, and giving.
Catnip: Attracts good spirits and great luck. For love, beauty, and happiness.
Cedar: Banishes fear and enhances psychic powers.
Chamomile: For protection and purification.
Cinnamon: Raises high spiritual vibrations and aids healing.
Cloves: For protection and exorcism; attracting opposite sex; preventing gossip.
Dragon's Blood: For protection when spell-casting and invoking.
Eucalyptus: For healing and protection.
Frankincense: Reduces stress/fear/tension; connects you with Source energy.
Galangal: To break curses cast by sorcerers.
Lavender: Brings peace, relaxation, and restful sleep; purity and love.
Lemongrass: For cleansing and purifying, removing obstacles, and opening doors.
Mint: Increases sexual desire, exorcise/conjure spirits, attracts money.
Mugwort: Brings clarity and develops/deepens psychic abilities.
Myrrh: For physical healing and grounding.
Palo Santo: For deep healing to the physical body and to clear a home of energies associated with illness.
Peppermint: For purity, protection, release, and renewal.
Rose: Increases courage and induces prophetic dreams.
Rosemary: For removing negative energies associated with sickness, and clearing.
White Sage: For purification.
Black Sage: For protection against all forms of evil.
Vervain: To exorcise evil spirits.