From the provocative scents of the Middle East to Asia, with its intoxicating fragrances, and around the world to the earthiness of burning brush in Native Cultures, the art of purifying with sage is a global one. Sage burning is one of the most ancient and authentic ways of cleansing people and spaces. The Native Americans method of sage burning is familiar with many people today. It has been associated with other cultures too. The ancient Celtic druids used sage as a sacred herb, alongside Oak Moss, for burning and medicinal purposes. Even the indigenous people of the Amazon whose Palo Santo (sacred wood) sage burning ceremonies are still practiced to this day.
Sage is For Healing
Many people think of incense and herb burning as only method for making a dwelling smell nice. But there's more to it than smell. Salvia, the Latin term for sage, stems from the phrase ‘to heal.’ Other qualities of burning sage, such as giving wisdom, clarity, and increasing spiritual awareness, are also indicated in the name. It’s no accident that we refer to wise people as sagely. The blessing of burning sage can be beneficial in your home and office. Any place you feel needs a good cleansing, it can benefit from a thorough sage burning.
How to Burn Sage Properly
Sage burning cleansing rituals can be as elaborate or as simple as you want them to be. It is of the highest importance that your intentions and focus be clear before you begin. If you are burning sage to purify a space, or a person (even yourself), then this needs to be clear in your mind before you even light the sage, and especially while taking the smoke around a home or space.
The best sage to use for this purpose is white sage. Often times other herbs can also be added, Examples include sweet grass, lavender, or rose petals If you have garden sage, this will work well also. Just make sure it has been dried thoroughly. Any local farmers’ market, health food store, or new age shop should carry it. You can, of course, order online here as well.
The process is simple. You need a heat-proof container like a heavy earthenware pot. A glass bowl will work in pinch too! Place the sage stick into the pot and light it for a few seconds before extinguishing the flame and letting the smoke billow up.Very dry sage will catch fire quickly, so watch your fingers. It's important to open a window or door to let the smoke out.
Focus on burning the sage in gateway and high traffic areas. DO NOT breathe the smoke in directly or fill the area with too much smoke. This is not a fumigation, just a cleansing. No need to go overboard. Walk around slowly and take the smoke to each area you would like to cleanse. Concentrate on gateway areas, such as windows, doors, closets, as well as hallways and bathrooms. Concentrate on the corners of rooms and high traffic areas like the kitchen and mentally taxing areas like the computer. Most importantly, use your intuition. Your space will usually inform you as to which areas need to be cleansed the most.
If you do not like the smell of sage try burning incense immediately after a saging session. Sage has a more masculine/yang aspect and is nicely coupled by the feminine/yin aspect of incense.
Try to burn sage in your living space on a biweekly or monthly basis at least. You will begin to notice a lightness of energy and calmness descend into your home. You can benefit from smudging after an illness, an argument, or a particularly rough time. Sage smoke is said to attach to negative particles and lift them away. For those that can't burn sage, there are sprays and oils that can be substituted.
I hope you will try this form of cleansing for yourself and reap the benefits of a good old fashioned sage smudging.