Northern White Cedar : Ceremonial Uses

northern white cedar

Northern white cedar. Giambrone and Stadlin (2013).


Northern white cedar was honored with the name “Nookomis Giizhik”, or “Grandmother Cedar” by Ojibwe people. Ojibwe is one of the large Native American tribes. For them, spirits are the most important things because spirits guide them through life. In ojibwe culture, cedar as sacred gift is one of the four medicine wheels, which are normally used for smudging ceremony. In their private ceremony, they fire the wood of cedar, pray four times daily with cedar, and inhale the smoke which is able to protect them. Ojibwe people regard cedar as cleansing which can wash away their problems and purify their spirits.

Ceremonial uses are not only for Native American, ancient Greek also uses cedar as purification in their sacrificial fires. Although, cedar has the same meaning for both of them, they used it differently. In ancient Greek’s sacred ceremony, the heartwood of cedar is fired to purify and strengthen the spirits of a man in a sweat lodge.