The Abalone Shell in Native American cultures is used as a smudge bowl to burn sage in. They believed that the abalone and sage together will carry their messages up to heaven. In the Apache culture, abalone is used in The Sunrise Ceremony, a ritual that marks a girl’s passage into womanhood. According to Apache myth, The Sunrise Ceremony celebrates the White Painted Woman who survived the great flood in an abalone shell, and came to land to be impregnated by the Sun and the Rain.
Since the Abalone Shell is a water vessel, keep it protected from the fire of burning sage by lining the bottom with a thin layer of sand. Now, when you use the Abalone Shell for cleansing rituals, the sage won’t make burn marks on its beautiful, iridescent luster. The sand also makes it easier to fan out burning sage or other cleansing tools like sacred Palo Santo.