President’s Message




A New Year is an opportunity to make resolutions to make the year ahead a better one for ourselves and for those we love. It’s also an opportunity for cleansing ourselves of all negative energies that dwell in our lives.

2018 is almost here, and NCUU’s Earth Centered Small Group Ministry is planning a ceremony to welcome the New Year; it’s our annual “Banishing Ceremony” also referred to as a “Smudging Ceremony”.

Smudging is the common name given to the sacred smoke Bowl Blessing, a powerful cleansing technique from the native North American tradition. Smudging calls on the spirits of sacred plants to drive away negative energies and restore balance. It is the art of cleansing yourself and your environment using simple ritual and ceremony. For thousands of years, smudging has been a part of Native American Tradition, but now its power of cleansing is available to everyone.

This Native North American tradition dates back millennia, and most traditional cultures, from Zulus to the Maoris, from the Chinese to the Balinese, have age-old forms of cleansing and blessing rituals. Incense wafting in a Catholic church cleanses the atmosphere just as surely as the medicine man’s bowl of sacred smoke, or smudge. The bells that ring out or drums that beat can lead us on sacred journeys to the spirit world.

Aside from the beneficial and practical aspects of burning herbs, humans have become aware that smoke ascend to the heavens, to the world of spirits, almost as if it were acting as a spiritual messenger.

On Sunday night, December 31 at 7PM in our Memorial Garden, the Earth Centered Small Group Ministry will hold such a ceremony, and all are welcome. We will have a bonfire and party to welcome 2018.

As Joan said in her eblast to all of us, “The purpose of the banishing (smudging) ritual is to symbolically rid ourselves of negative energies from the past, and make room for positive energies to come in the New Year. Through drumming and ritual, we will connect our energies to the energy cycle of the changing season.”

We will also participate in an ancient New Year custom from Scotland that involves wishes for our fellowship to be accomplished in the New Year. Afterward, we will enjoy a potluck of goodies, finger foods, wine and hot cider. So, bring a drum or noise maker, a folding chair, and a snack to share.

To all who will join us, approach this ceremony with a pure heart, an open mind, and a sense of adventure. It could change your entire life.

Happy New Year everyone, and may you enjoy good health, prosperity, and happiness in 2018.