The next plant we are going to talk about is Cedar. It is one of the plants/herbs that we use in ceremonies.
Cedar is used to purify and clean Sacred Space in the same way we just talked about using Sage. Cedar attracts good things, and when the smoke from the Cedar is smudged over people it gives them a blessing and draws good things to them.
The way Cedar is to place it on the hot stones in the Sweat Lodge, or on charcoal disk in a heat proof dish. You can also place it on coals from a fire that are in a heat proof dish. Outside you will see people smudging with Cedar using a can with coals from fire or coals in a pottery dish that has coals or charcoal disk in it.
Again like with sage it is best to use a feather fan or a single feather to waft smoke around the room or over people.
One of the things cedar smoke does is that it kills bacteria and, so it is used around people who are sick and in space where a person who was sick has been. During the cold and flue season after someone comes into your home or personal space it is a very good idea to burn Cedar.
Cedar trees are the Winter Guardians of the forest. The reason Cedars stay green during the winter is that while the other trees sleeps they are the ones who stand guard. If something comes to threaten the trees, then the Cedar can awaken the other trees. Since they are the Winter Guardians it is appropriate to use Cedar in the time of winter.
Cedar is also used in spring and summer ceremonies due to its close connection to the Thunder Beings. Thunder beings do not strike Cedar so many people when a thunderstorm with lightening is approaching burn Cedar during the storm.
There are many ways you can use Cedar, and if you do a little research you will find them. Although people talk about using Cedar internally, I do not recommend using it internally. Unless you know what you are doing, it is easy to use too much.
Applied externally it is a wonderful medicine. An ointment made with oil or fat using the leaves works wonders on rheumatism when applied as a rub. You place the leaves in lard or oil after crushing the leaves in a mortar. Put them in the top of a double boiler until the crushed leaves are blended in. It usually takes about an hour for that to happen. Then allow it to cool some and place it on a cloth that is applied to the affected area. It also helps with Arthritis.
This same poultice can be used on swollen hands and feet with good results. Personally I make mine with Olive Oil. This oil smells wonderful when you rub it on, and it also helps the swelling and pain.
It can be applied externally for violent pain in muscles using the oil mixture warmed. Do not warm any herbal salves or infused oils in the microwave.
Cedar can be used as an insect repellent. Stop and think about it. Why do they store things in Cedar Chest? They use it to keep the bugs out. People have been using them all along as an insect repellent. It is believed that if you are sleeping outside and use Cedar in your bedding that snakes won’t come around.
You can use the ashes from burned Cedar externally as a very strong antiseptic.
White Cedar is used most of the time but in the Southwest where I grew up there was not much flat cedar, so Juniper was used. In the Southeast Cypress was used since most Cedar is in the same family as Cypress.