How to use sage to cleanse your space and yourself
A lot of people now swear by smudging with sage to cleanse spaces of negative energy. But what are the magical and medicinal benefits of sage, and how’s the best way to use it?
Make sure you read to the end of the post for some upcoming crafty courses that will help you get started with smudging!
The history of sage and smudging
It’s important to be aware of the origins of any practice you take up. Sage has historically been used in Egyptian, Greek and Roman medicine, as well as by Native American healers. Indigenous communities have been burning sage as a powerful ritual for cleansing negative energy for many centuries. If you’d like to adopt this practice too, be sure to do so with respect for the history of this ritual and be sure to source your sage ethically. At Suzie K we import our own sage and herb bundles from California from a farm we have sourced which specifically grows it for commercial use, ensuring no indigenous peoples are affected through over-harvesting.
Medical benefits of sage
It’s not just spiritual benefits that sage provides! Not only is sage a great ingredient to use whilst cooking, it is also thought to have physical benefits. Ingesting sage may have an antioxidant effect, due to some of the compounds it contains. Preliminary research suggests that eating sage may help relieve headaches and sore throats, reduce inflammation, protect against viral and bacterial infections, aid digestion and improve mood. Don’t go overboard though, as too much ingestion of sage can be toxic – so keep it to a supplement or seasoning!
Even burning sage is believed to have medical benefits. The smoke from smudging helps purify air, which can improve air quality, help kill viruses and bacteria, repel insects and reduce stress and anxiety. Again, though – ensure that rooms are well-ventilated and you don’t directly inhale the smoke, as it can trigger respiratory conditions such as asthma if not used safely.
Spiritual benefits of burning sage
Burning sage has long been considering healing and cleansing in a spiritual sense. If you are feeling stressed or anxious, if you have noticed a negative atmosphere in a space, or if you just want a fresh start for a new project, then smudging can help to cleanse your space or your person. Set your intention for what you would like to achieve, and then follow the steps.
How to smudge
To burn sage, known as smudging, you’ll need a few things to start with.
2) A container to hold your lit sage – in indigenous tradition this would be an abalone shell, however you can use any heat-safe container
3) Something to fan your sage with – traditionally this would be a feather. We have some beautiful Shaman-made smudging fans available to buy, or you can take part in our Make Your Own Smudging Fan course later this month.
4) A heat-safe container filled with sand or dirt in which to extinguish your sage once the ritual is complete
When you have your items ready, follow these steps:
1) Open a door or window. This is for ventilation, and to allow negative energies to exit alongside the smoke.
2) Set your intention. You can say it like a mantra as you burn your sage. An example could be “All negative energies depart from this space”
3) Hold the sage at an angle and light it with a match or lighter as if you’re lighting incense, letting it burn for a few moments before blowing it out so that it smoulders and produces smoke.
4) Walk slowly around the space you wish to cleanse and let the smoke waft around. Direct it towards your open door or window so it can leave alongside any negative energies.
5) It can help to focus on areas such as anywhere there is technology like TVs or laptops, any liminal spaces such as stairs or doorways, and any corners that are tucked away.
6) Make sure you smudge safely – don’t inhale the smoke directly, don’t leave it unattended, ensure any falling embers are put out immediately.
7) When you have completed your ritual, extinguish your smouldering sage bundle by stubbing it out in your container of sand or dirt. Don’t put it in water, as that will make it harder to relight the next time you wish to smudge. You can keep the partly-burned sage bundle in a container ready to use next time, once it’s extinguished properly.
It’s also possible to sage yourself. Following the same steps as above, stand with your arms out to your sides and your feet apart, then keep the smoking sage at arm’s length from you as you work up from your feet whilst repeating your intention mantra. It’s even more important if you’re smudging yourself to be safe: keep loose hair and clothing away from the embers, and don’t breathe in too much smoke.
When to smudge
It’s best to use your intuition when deciding when to smudge. If you’re feeling uncomfortable in a space, or if you’re stressed or anxious, then it could be a good time to burn some sage. And of course, a new year is a great time to cleanse and renew!
Suzie K smudging classes
Here are some photos from one of our popular workshops where Suzie teaches you how to make sacred incense blends and smudging fans. Follow our social media and check on our events page, as we run these events quite regularly if you missed the last one!