The Art & Magic of Saining

Welcome to season two of Shaman Talk. My name is Rhonda, and I'm your host. And this week we dive into Saining. I'll tell you what sailing is, how you can create your own saining ceremony, and how you can use saining in your day to day spiritual life. But first, I thought I'd tell you a story about my four year training and how much we smudged. We smudged with white sage. We smudged before we gan. Training, during training, after training, after workshops. I never gave it a second thought. Cultural appropriation or Celtic based practices didn't factor much in my teaching. And my teacher worked closely with Greek philosophy and Greek gods. She did bring some Celtic information in, and she also used elements from Native American shamanic cultures as well as South American.

The core foundation of my very good, well rounded education was core shamanism. And I didn't know about cultural appropriation. I didn't realize it was even a thing. As I ventured onto social media after I graduated, I started to notice people talking about it, or more accurately, complaining about Smudging and how it was appropriative. But then I also noticed that some native people were teaching Smudging to others out with their culture. And many of my white colleagues, older, usually were deep into medicine wheel teachings and smudged quite happily, usually having been taught by a native teacher. So who do I believe? I really didn't know what to think. It was very confusing. And if you go into that world of trying to educate yourself and find out these things, it can be very difficult to do that. It is very confusing. There are mixed messages.

So I continued to educate myself. I listened to many voices, and then I made a decision that was right for me without judging the choices of others, and I invite you to do the same. When I learned about Sainang, I was very excited to find a practice rooted in my lands. And I learned so much. I learned as much as I could. It can be as complicated or as simple as you would like. And one thing just to add here, I think, is that there are different schools of thought, including the infamous Now Witch Talk witch hunt that was enacted on my TikTok channel a couple of years ago. Now, because I taught saining on TikTok, and this bunch of witches said that I was sharing a closed practice, and also I was doing it wrong. I wasn't saining correctly.

Now, while some of the things I shared weren't traditional, for sure, I would agree with that. The whole process that I went through was very vicious. There was only one lady who was quite nice who did reach out and asked to have a conversation, which I was very willing to do. But for the most part, it was a bunch of people who disagreed with what I was doing, with what I was saying, and how I was sharing it and enacted a witch hunt, which I'm sure you can appreciate the humor in that. Now, I choose and always have chosen to be open hearted and I avoid division and exclusion. That is my choice.

And the one lady who I mentioned, who reached out, who was really nice, explained this concept of watering down native practices and that people who were not native to Scotland, lived in Scotland and were born in Scotland, shouldn't use saining. And I disagree. We live in a worldwide community now. It's not the same as it used to be. And I'm not in the business, and never have been in the business of telling people what they should or shouldn't do. And I'm not in the business of excluding people from a spiritual practice who feel drawn to it. I offer information and support. You can choose a different path and that's absolutely fine. You can choose to join here me and learn. And you'd be very welcome, regardless of your lineage or heritage.

Another we story of saining, just to lighten the mood somewhat, is that midwives would sane newborn babies and their mothers with fire. And although it's not as common in recent years, I think it's a beautiful tradition. And I used a ceremony when Mirren was born, who is now two and a half, and because I couldn't move very far, I had a C section. I lit two small candles, one for each of us, and I sat holding Mirren. I watched the flame burn down. And holding the intention that were both made sacred, it was very special. So let's explain then what is saining? saining is a Scottish folk magic practice that means to make sacred. And it's a purification ritual aimed at removing negative spiritual influences from people, places, objects and often livestock.

It's not really an energy cleansing or a smoke cleansing practice, although, technically speaking, removing unwanted influences is energy cleansing. So we just like to be correct in the way that we word our description. And there is evidence that shows up across Britain and Ireland of similar practices. The practice of sailing can take many forms, all sharing the intention of imbuing sacredness into a person, place or object, allowing the object to become sacred in animistic context. So it might involve sprinkling water, lighting candles, burning herbs, and later in the podcast, I'm going to share those herbs with you, herbs that you can use from your own landscape and juniper and ruin would often fill a space with smoke, driving out these negative influences.

saining rituals can vary greatly from family to family and individual practices can be developed with the help of your spirit guides. So while certain saining rituals and families are closed, you absolutely can develop your own saining ritual that is not closed, that is gifted to you from your spirit guides. The main elements of a sailing practice might include preparation, like gathering necessary materials, making the sign of an X with your thumb, which is a symbol invoking sacredness, an invocation words of blessing and purification, which is using objects for the cleansing process or the purification process. I'm going to share a step by step guide now to using staining with smoke to clear a space, and that could be for a ceremony or general spiritual housekeeping, gathering your necessary materials such as juniper or rowan or any other herbs.

Again, I'll get you that list later in the podcast. You want to have a fire safe container ready to hold your herbs for burning, and I use a cast iron cauldron for this purpose. You might have seen it on my social media channels. Prepare yourself mentally and spiritually by setting a cleave intention for the space purification process. You can call in your guides to support you with that, and they can come and just be with you in the moment. Light the herbs and allow them to smolder and create smoke invoke sacredness with the thumb symbol. So if you're listening to this, there is also a video option if you want to see what that thumb symbol looks like. But it's an X. Not a Christian cross, but an X.

The direction of the cross or the hand you use is not important, and you probably will develop your own preference. Walk around the space you wish to clear, allowing the smoke to fill the area and focusing on your intention. Visualizing the smoke, driving out any negative influence from that space. If you want to use words of blessing, you can choose to speak at that point. You can also make the thumb symbol over key areas if you wish to sane an object, for example, you can use the thumb symbol for that. So once you've covered the entire space, take a moment to feel the energy and ensure that you know within you that the space feels clear and sacred. Extinguish the burning herb safely, which is why I use a cauldron, because the lid takes away the oxygen.

Thank your guides, your ancestors, or any other entities who've joined you, or gods and goddesses that you've invoked. Spend some time in gratitude. That's very important. And then you can sit quietly for a moment, grounding yourself and reflecting on the sacredness that you have created. So what are other things saining is good for? saining is good for cleansing spaces, driving out negative energy from homes or office space or other places that you frequent, protecting objects so you can consecrate objects with sacred energy. You can bless people such as newborn babies and mothers, or anyone else who asks specific permission and needs. Perhaps spiritual protection in some way can be used for healing and purification, for creating a part of sacred rituals. It allows you to connect with ancestral traditions, and it can enhance your spiritual practice.

Your shamanic workshops, for example, or other spiritual gathering. Embracing saining can transform your spiritual journey. Actually, it offers a versatile and meaningful way to connect with the sacred. Whether you're seeking to cleanse a space it's not cleansing, exactly, but the purification of negative influence. Whether you look to protect an object, bless a loved one, it's a tradition that really transcends time. It links you to ancient wisdom and offers a tangible way to make the ordinary sacred. It offers a way to bring the ancient ways of Scotland and other Celtic landscapes into the modern world. Materials you can use for saning are mugwart, juniper, heather, garden sage, rosemary, dill, mint, lavender, marjoram, thyme one of my personal favorites dandelion lilac, lemon balm. You can use incense, and you can use rose petals, which is another of my favorites.

This year, I also collected cherry blossom and dried that, and that makes an excellent addition to a saining blend. Now, discussing how to collect herbs. Mindful herb gathering is a practice that honors the plants, the earth, and spiritual connection between all living things. So if you want to gather your own herbs for saining, which is recommended in the folk magic way, this is the way that ancient people would have Sained would be to collect their own herbs. So before you begin clarify, why are you gathering the herbs? What is your intention? What do you intend to use them for? You can research the best time to harvest your specific herb, consider its growth cycle, the moon cycle, and you can find a location where these herbs grow naturally and abundantly close to you.

The best way really, is to find herbs that grow in your landscape. When you approach the plants, do so with a sense of reverence and gratitude. You might wish to say a prayer or a blessing, really acknowledging the life of the plant, and take a moment to connect and ask for permission to harvest. And listen intuitively for a response. And it can come up as, like, a feeling or an inner knowing of some kind. It's not often that I have plants that say no to me. They do occasionally say no, usually because I've built a relationship with the land, and I'm not just popping out to grab a handful of plants for saying it's a whole life cycle. It's a whole relationship that I build with the plants around me. So after harvesting, you can express your gratitude again.

You may wish to leave a small offering. A strand of hair is quite traditional. As a sign of thanks, you can store your herbs in a way that maintains their essence. I like to use jars or maybe paper envelopes, and I always like to take a little time to reflect on the experience of mindful gathering. Okay, so sailing and collecting for saining offers a tangible connection to your ancestral roots. This is what our ancestors would have done, is collect plants around us from the landscape that they live in. So whether you're new to this practice of saining or you're a seasoned practitioner who uses sailing a lot. I hope this episode has inspired you. It's a practice that transcends time and culture. You are allowed to create personal rituals that resonate with your unique spiritual path.

And if you feel called to sane your home, bless a loved one. Create a sacred space for ceremony. I encourage you to embrace this beautiful tradition. Thank you once again for tuning in to Shaman Talk. If you have any questions, stories, insights about Saining, we'd love to hear from you. You can reach out to us on Instagram at center for Shamanism. And don't forget, please subscribe to this podcast for more explorations into the mystical and sacred. Subscriptions really help us out, so do hit the subscribe button. So until next time, may the wisdom of the ancients guide you, the warmth of your heart comfort you and the sacred cauldrons within you find harmony and balance.

This is where you master the spiritual secrets of the ancient Celts and create a deeply connected and magical life.

Step into the Centre’s very special Shamanic sanctuary. Inside the Cauldrons Way, you’ll find live gatherings, ceremonies, retreats and guided teachings designed to help you activate your inner cauldrons and amplify your spiritual connection. Plus, you get near-daily support from Rhonda and her team of six trusted practitioners. 

Oh, it gets better! Get full and immediate access to ALL THE PERKS when you start a risk-free* membership today

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This is where you master the spiritual secrets of the ancient Celts and create a deeply connected and magical life.

Step into the Centre’s very special Shamanic sanctuary. Inside the Cauldrons Way, you’ll find live gatherings, ceremonies, retreats and guided teachings designed to help you activate your inner cauldrons and amplify your spiritual connection. Plus, you get near-daily support from Rhonda and her team of six trusted practitioners. 

Oh, it gets better! Get full and immediate access to ALL THE PERKS when you start a risk-free* membership today

*30-day ‘no questions asked’ money back guarantee.

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