You see the smudging just freaks me out being that it is a ritual. A simple harmless ritual but a ritual. I also am having some severe health fears dealing with the sacred fire. Smoke inhalation is one. Also tobacco as a sacred herb is offered to the fire. I fear I'll get lung cancer or some other horrible illness form this.
Another detail is the way you are to offer tot he fire. You have to get close to the fire and hand it to the fire. As an ex-pyrophobe, I look at this like they are trying to kill me. Also the word prayer is used a lot. My theophobia is triggered mostly with words and some images. Words like prayer, god, God, Jesus, church, ect. often bring about great anxiety. I also have a fear of public embarassment as this is done publically with people there.
They have told me that at any time if I feel uncomfortable with the rituals I don't have to take part. But I feel that would be rude. I would really like to be a spiritual person but I can't. I'm serious. Does anyone have any idea what I can do about the sacred fire, smudging and my theophobia?