While many of us know about the wonderful effects of sage smudging, most don’t know how to perform the ritual properly. We only know that it works to cleanse one’s space. Maybe you have moved to a new home or office or want to rid an existing room of negative or evil spirits. Maybe a death occurred or other bad experience like an illness.
Burning sage involves a few simple steps. It will have a pungent odor, of course, but it will dissipate. You must use the dry, white type known for its special healing scent. The smell can evoke memories, thoughts, and actions from the past; this is why it resonates so well for serious users. People come to love the earthy quality of burning sage. It creates a primeval feeling as if you were connecting to some kind of ancestral time of human existence. It is the smell of the long-distant past and evokes an atavistic ritual that connects with the earth.
How does it work? Who knows, but it does. It isn’t reserved for a sacred space, however, and can re-energize any place you reside or work. Your own body will also feel the effects of the metaphysical cleansing power of sage. It is like it has its own special alchemy, somehow embedded in the smoke. You perform the ritual as prescribed and the atmosphere shifts and transforms.
Most types of incense have an effect on stress and negativity, but sage is unique. The vapor connects man to the spiritual realm. The ancients of China and Greece knew the ritual over 2,000 years ago, even in the Americas. It was common practice for shamans to call forth ancestral spirits. The smoke is said to absorb evil, illness, or conflict and cleanses the energy field around the ritual-performer.
When and how
While sage is somewhat universal, other dried plants have been used to evoke peace and love, like sweet grass. In any case, modern man finds the cleansing ritual quite powerful and effective as a form of “aura polishing.” There is no limit to the time or place you can burn sage. It bodes well for a new space, to cleanse a room for guests, to enhance yoga or healing, as an accompaniment to meditation, or to rid your environment of any illness, conflict, or bad vibe. The process is relatively simple. Let’s break it down into a few steps.
- Gather your dried sage (white preferred) and make a bundle bound by string. You can buy sage already in this form at an herb or health store. Some yoga and healing arts center stock it along with helpful books.
- If you are an avid user, you might want to grow the plant yourself and dry it upside down in a dark space like a basement.
- For safety purposes, it is wise to place your bundle on a heat-proof surface like a charcoal burning dish. For best results, why not use the traditional abalone shell common to Native Americans or a small Wiccan cauldron? Then you would have a symbol of water along with the fire about to happen.
- Light the bundle and it will begin to smoke. You don’t want a real flame. Blow it out if it should arise, keeping only the embers.
- You may need to relight the bundle, so it is best to remain nearby. As the smoke curls, wave it about with your hand or a feather, directing it around your entire body or where you want it to go in the room.
- Visualize the smoke absorbing negative energy. The darkness in your life will turn light. You may feel suddenly buoyant.
- Use an incantation if desired: "Air, fire, water, earth. Cleanse, dismiss, dispel."
- After the process is complete, douse the bundle and put out any remaining “fire.” Some people like to bury it in the yard.
The ceremony of burning or smudging sage should be uplifting and feel sacred. Shifting energy is an enormous positive experience. This spiritual cleansing is ideal for most everyone, but it takes some effort. You will want to use a new sage bundle for each ritual. Have the essential elements prepared ahead of time and ready for use in an instant.