2nd from top - Hermano Vidal Peruvian Elder; above - Indigenous Colombian Kogi Elder; 
Rt. Hopi Water Elder Ruben Saufkie
& Hopi Kachina & Medicine - Ruben's Clan

I have seen incense burners used in spiritual cleansing rituals, incense in a Catholic church, incense used in a Hindu temple, sage burned in a Native Indigenous ceremony, incense twirled down into Sand at the wooden entrance of a Japanese Dojo.  All take initiative to bring in the divine, signal a moving towards, a reaching out to the infinite; whether we cleanse the premises, make a space for our openings or welcome the spirit homeWatching smoke billow and hover over a room lofting up into the void creates a veil, a filling of intent made visible.  The smell lingers forming a silent quieting of the mind.  Like clouds hang low in damp cool air, unmoving and enveloping - this sacred peace, this space.  Deliciously, you consume the waft.

We hear rattles, chants, bells, gongs, sacred incantations.  Since time immortal, recitations echoing our minds back into a present antiquity.

From the temple or from the hut, out past the courtyard, these clues signal that space has somehow changed, a space altered from the ordinary.  Now there is even a sensing this upon approach.  These intentions, these markers bring a stilling of the mind, a call to be present and participating fully, immersed in sounds and sensory intentions.  Bells and gongs ring, chanters sound, and I feel a communion, as if we witnessing together, now weave a community for the divine.       (Read an artlicle on the Art of "Smudging")                                     Mari MacEwen