In the rich history of herbs and roots, sage remains the queen of the garden. When you think of sage, you probably think of the quintessential seasoning for Thanksgiving turkey and dressing. For centuries, various species of sage have been used for culinary, medicinal, and spiritual reasons.
What is Sage?
Culinary sage, Salvia officinalis, is the recognizable species that you’ll find in your spice rack. It is a perennial woody herb native to the Mediterranean region. Because sage has a historical reputation as a powerful medicinal herb, it was given the Latin name salvia, which means healing.
Origins of Burning Sage
White sage, Salvia apiana, is a species that is native to the western part of the United States. For many Native American cultures, white sage is considered a sacred herb used for cleansing and spiritual ceremonies. For generations, some indigenous Americans dried white sage, tied it into small bundles, and burned it a service called smudging.
Burning sage or other herbs has become a popular tradition in New Age and other spiritual practices. Many cultures around the world have observed some form of this cleansing ceremony. If you watch any television shows about physics or paranormal investigations, you’ll often see spiritual practitioners burning sage to clear the area of harmful or malevolent energies.
How to Burn Sage in Your Home
It isn’t challenging to perform a sage purification ceremony in or around your house. You can do the service alone or with your family. The critical thing to remember is to do it with respect and with positive intentions.
Supplies Needed for Smudging
• A bundle of white sage: Salvia apiana is available in New Age retail shops, which carry products like crystals and singing bowls.
Be sure that your purchase is from ethical and sustainable sources, such as native growers and gatherers. In the west, the white sage harvest is often depleted because of improper cutting techniques and over-picking. It’s important to know your source before buying.
It’s better if you grow white sage in your garden. This plant is exceptionally adaptable in most areas and doesn’t require a lot of care. You can plant it in an outdoor herb garden or grow it in attractive pots indoors.
• An original container for the ashes, such as an abalone shell, wooden bowl, or clay pottery. The ceremony becomes more personal if your vessel is something that you or a loved one handmade.
• A long feather for fanning the smoke: Only use feathers that are legally and ethically obtained. If you object to using feathers on moral grounds, you can use a decorative fan or your hand too.
• Wooden matches
How to Smudge:
• Strike the match and light one end of the sage bundle until it is barely smoldering. You don’t want it to catch fire, so blow out any flame quickly.
• As the leaves burn, it will produce a cloud of thick smoke. Now, use the feather to fan it around yourself and every corner of the space you’re cleansing. Visualize the smoke wiping your area clean of all negative energy.
• Let the sage ashes slowly collect in the shell or other vessel. After the smudge ceremony, release the ashes outside to the wind as symbolism for the negativity blowing away.
Possible Benefits of Practicing Sage Burning
Sage burning ceremonies can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. Not only can you reap spiritual benefits, but you can also gain practical advantages. For safety reasons, never get smoldering sage around flammable materials, and you must make sure the ashes are completely cold before discarding.
Are you ready to see how this mystical practice can help you? It may be something that you can incorporate into your spiritual rituals and journey. Here are ten benefits of burning sage for you to consider.
1. Purify Your Air
Underlying most ancient spiritual practices is usually a physical and scientific principal. Burning sage can purify the air around you, just as native practitioners have claimed. White sage is a natural insect repellent, antibacterial, and antifungal.
When you smudge, smoke from the burning herb creates negative ions that attack allergens in the air like pollen, animal dander, mold, and dust. Do you have asthma or other allergies? A sage cleansing ceremony may clean the air you breathe to minimize your symptoms.
2. Provide Aromatherapy to Calm Your Stress
Have the stresses of life built up in your space to where it’s unbearable? The mesmerizing fragrance of burning sage may be the stress reliever you need. Scientific reports about using sage as aromatherapy suggest that the scent reacts with parts of the brain to produce a calm and feeling of well-being.
3. Boost Your Mood
Everybody has a bad day occasionally that puts a damper on their mood. Did you know that a sage burning ceremony may help lift depression, ease anxiety, and give your mood a much-needed boost? As with stress, the smoke’s gentle fragrance works with your brain to put you in a peaceful, happy atmosphere.
4. Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep
It makes sense that if your bedroom is charged with negative energy, it will disrupt your sleep. Many people find relief from occasional insomnia by using sage in their room before bedtime. After the sage embers have died into cool ash, the smoke lingers in a soothing perfume that can help you relax, fall asleep, and awaken refreshed.
5. Pump Up Your Energy Levels
When your living or working space is teeming with positive energy, your body reacts with the same vibrancy and positive power. As the positively charged smoke from a sage burning clears the area of negative charges, you may notice that you feel recharged, inspired, and able to do more things than you usually do.
6. Can Boost Your Brain Power
Are you studying for a test or working on a project and need some more enthusiasm from your brain? Try performing a simple sage burning ceremony in the space where you are working or studying. Some scientific research on burning sage suggests positive correlations between the herb and a boost in cognition and creativity.
7. May Dispel Residual Negativity of the Past
Have you ever walked into a room that you’ve never visited before and felt a heaviness you couldn’t explain? Some spiritual practitioners believe that apartments, houses, and even land can harbor negative energy from past traumatic events. Maybe you’ve experienced trauma or other negative experiences, and it still lingers in your shadow.
Burning sage in this spiritually heavy room may dispel residual negativity and replace it with a positive glow. Along with the smudge, the ceremony must come to the positive intentions and affirmations that your cleansing ceremony will work to your good. It may be a tool to cleanse your heart and spirit from past hurts and open your eyes to the beauty of the present.
8. Can Cleanse Objects
We know from high school science classes and Einstein’s theory that matter has energy. Everything in the universe is vibrating at different levels and can produce positive or negative charges. So, it stands to reason that objects in your home or office are energized and can carry negative residual energy from the past.
Before you bring anything into your home, especially things that may have been used in a spiritual ceremony, consider cleansing them first with a smudging ritual. Use your feather to gently waft the smoke around the object and visualize any harmful or detrimental energy vanishing.
9. Might be a Tool for Spiritual Practices
For many indigenous cultures of America, sage has had cultural and spiritual significance. It has often been used to enhance spiritual awareness, open the mind’s sixth sense, or to encourage psychic dreams. A sage burning ceremony usually coincides with services for healing and dedication.
Along with the spiritual experience comes some scientific evidence. Many cultivars of sage, including white sage, contains a chemical called thujone that has trace psychoactive properties. While it certainly isn’t like a psychedelic herb, sage can bring mild feelings of well-being and improved intuition.
10. Enjoy a Natural Air Freshener
Your house is filled with things that can make it smell less than appealing. From the kitchen to the kids’ rooms to the bathrooms, you may have an arsenal of scented candles, potpourri, and sprays to kill the odors. However, most of these synthetic air fresheners only mask the smells and can have chemicals that are hazardous to your family and pets.
Instead, why not freshen the air in your home naturally with a sage burning ceremony. White sage and other varieties have a distinct verdant and woodsy smell that most people find pleasant and relaxing. Burn sage throughout each room that harbors odors, especially the kitchen and bathroom.
Final Thoughts on Taking Advantage of the Healthy Benefits of Burning Sage
There is no magic involved in smudging. While it’s important to use visualization and clear intentions, many attributes of this ancient ceremony have some basis in science. No matter how you plan to practice, do so with respect for the service and those who created it.