Saturday, February 18, 2017

Kick out Negativity and Germs with Cleansing, Saging, Smudging

Yeah, this feather's gonna be beeeeautiful!
I made my first really special smudging/saging feather about 8 years ago. Have been doing the ceremony for years. It feels good and brings excellent results. My feather is still as beautiful as the day I made it, but I've learned a lot and the beading skills have grown.

We can sage our environment from pollutants and bacteria. We can sage our Selves from negativity and stress. 

The ceremony has beautiful origins in many cultures. My favorite is the Native American culture. Here's a great video on how they perform it and what it does for the body.

And there are many links to scholarly articles on the scientific reasons behind why and how burning sage and other materials clean bacteria out of the environment.

So I've always felt it is a very special ceremony. Great that we have backup and knowledge of why it works. Try it. There's nothing more lovely than the sweet fragrance of burning sage - it answers some primal attraction in our systems. It fills us up. It heals. It calms and soothes.

One of the things I love to make, with spirit pouring through me is Saging/Smudging Feathers. 

The photo above shows the one I'm currently working on, which will have a bunch of colors and gorgeous fringe tips. It'll be for sale first through Spirit Junction, and then through Dreamkeeper Creations on Etsy if it doesn't find its forever home at the Spirit Junction get together, but I have a hunch it might find its home pretty quickly. 

It's a bit of a contemporary statement based in ancient tradition. This feather includes badger fur, and badger represents the right use of aggression. Sometimes we need to be able to express this quality, and sometimes we don't. Knowing when it's useful is all about the feather in its relationship with the Talking Stick - which I'll save for another post.

This feather is an "all color" feather, one that is asking me to make it fun. So the patterns will be as crazy as the beads tell me they want it to be. And the colors will encompass the rainbow and more subtle shades in-between.

The handle is becoming.
I've learned something new with my Saging Feathers and that is to make the handle much fatter so that I can attach more fringe tails. You know I'm a fringe fan from the get-go. So this feather has a nice double wrap of soft leather, snugging up to the strip of badger fur. Once I'm done, you won't see the leather anymore, it'll be a gorgeous stretch of spiral peyote stitch - yum!

Update - I'm attaching a few photos of the finished Zig-Zag Rainbow Spiral Saging Feather. Wowzers!

The whole feather
Detail of the handle and the little collar of golden beads
Detail of the fringe tips
Other fringe tips showing
I'll show you my newest finished feather. It's a little beauty for sure. 

Immature hawk feather with cream, gold, and brown.
This is one of the feathers I bought from Robert Wills at Sunrise Trading Post. Robert Wills painted the feathers used in Dances with Wolves, since they couldn't use real ones because endangered species are protected and most of our larger beautiful birds are endangered at this point, though some are making quite a comeback. I love the movie Dances with Wolves, and what a coup for Robert Wills! Very talented guy.

I also get my fur scraps from him. He provides many materials for true Native Americans who attend PowWows and dress traditionally. This requires fur and other natural materials and Robert saves the scraps that are leftover and makes them available to other artists. This is how I get my fluff on my sacred feathers! Thanks Robert, and thanks animals for letting us give new life to what you no longer need.

The feather above has fox fur on it, along with beautiful glass seed beads in brown, cream, and coppery/gold. 

Fringe tips on this beautiful Saging Feather
This feather is very earthy, so it asked for tips that would reflect that. It sports a little gnome, wearing tan clothing and carrying a green sack of goodies, a tiger's eye bear, a pearl Zuni bear, a hand-painted African carved wooden bead, a jasper bead, a tiger's eye bear and round bead, a porcelain bead, and some excellent quality Czech glass beads.

It's sewn with 10 lb FireLine and the fringe is done with 4 lb Fireline, giving it long-lasting strength and resilience. I know you're going to want to touch and fondle the fringe and your fingers will move over the handle a million times, so I make sure to use materials that are top of the line and will last for a long, long time so you can feel comfortable using your feather.

There she is.
Here's a photo of this feather in all her glory. Lovely, earthy, gorgeous.

I'm doing a fair number of commission orders for these. I sell a set which includes the feather, 3 bundles of fragrant sage and cedar, and an abalone shell for $70 - $80. Some people prefer just to get the feather alone if they have the other materials, and the feathers run between $50 and $65 depending on size and materials. Others like to get a Talking Stick to go with their feather, but that's another sweet story, I'll post about it.

Commission Order
Fringe tips on this Saging Feather
When you want a custom feather done, you get to choose the colors and the feather gets to choose the tips. The feather tells me what it wants. This customer got a beautiful coyote for humor, a bear for introspection, some hand carved African beads, agate, amethyst, bamboo coral, a Czech floral bead, and a Czech dagger bead. The gemstone beads carry their energies and contribute a lot to the overall feeling and effects of using the decorated feather, it's very personal to the one who owns it and performs ceremony with it. Sometimes I can feel the energy of the owner as I'm making a feather even if I've never met them!

I feel like if you're going to spend time in sacred, private, sometimes shared with friends and Lovies ceremony, you should have the best quality, most beeeautiful feather to do it with! 

Thanks to all my Lovies who've purchased their sacred feathers. And thanks for all the interest from those who might like to have one!

It takes me about two days to make these feathers. What distinguishes them from others that are less expensive is that they're "finished" properly, as I try to do with all my beadwork. The area at the neck of the handle is decorated and softly transitions between the 11/0 beads to 15/0 beads, to the fur. And there's no fur caught in the beads (ouch)! My feathers are in good shape, not all tattered. And the fringe is an added bonus. You can hold it in your hand as you're saging and it feels good! These little touches of quality add time, but I think it's well worth it. 

Cleansing in all its forms is GOOD. 

Thanks for visiting and reading about Saging/Smudging. Hope you take it on as a little time spent with yourself to clear away the cares of the day and perhaps share your ceremony with your Lovies too. Happy saging!



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