Why and How to Perform Native American Sage Burning
White sage bundle
Native American Sage Burning-why you should burn sage
Many healing rituals and spiritual ceremonies are being performed today by various practitioners and metaphysical groups that have adopted traditions originating from numerous Native American tribes. Historically speaking, tribes would have single or multiple elders who were trained or apprenticed in various healing arts. These people served as herbalists, healers, Shaman, Medicine-men and spirit communicators. Of course duties and types of healing practices, as well as spiritual ceremonies, varied from tribe to tribe. Burning sage sometimes called smudging is an old, tried and true, pure method of cleansing a person, group of people, pets, sleep quarters or living and working spaces. Native American sage burning/smudging is the most commonly recognized practice of burning sage. But other cultures have incorporated this practice for many years. For example, Celtic druids used sage in conjunction with Oak Moss not only for burning and clearing but for medicinal purposes.
The Latin word for sage is, ‘Salvia,’ from salvus healthy meaning ‘to heal.’ Other benefits to burning sage, it brings wisdom (old sage/wise), clarity, energy cleansing and increased spiritual awareness and intuition. All one needs to do to gain these benefits is to burn it in their home, or any place needing cleansing. If people have imbalances (physical, emotional, spiritual) in their lives, it can negatively affect their overall health and well-being. The theory behind this burning ritual is that the smoke will attach itself to negative energy and as the smoke clears away it takes the negative energy with it, releasing it into another space where it can then be recycled into positive energy.
Why burn sage or smudge?
Burning sage or smudging should be done to keep yourself and environment energetically balanced. It promotes maintaining a peaceful state of being, spiritual awareness, intuition, clears negative energy, and is especially helpful when you've been around people that are depressed, fearful, ill, emotionally unbalanced, mentally ill, emotionally or physically toxic, or angry. Also when you are feeling blue, or under extreme stress. Smudging creates a wonderful "lightness" of the atmosphere. When you smudge on a regular basis, harmony prevails. It's also great in a pinch, to clear out negativity.
Spiritually used for eons (by various cultures and Spiritual foundations), Sage energetically purifies and clears a space. Don't be surprised if emotions or energy seems heightened following smudging, I've noticed that happens upon clearing. I believe every Source/Christ-based Light-worker should have some sage at home, a staple item really.
Other popular herbs, grass and resin for smudging
- Desert sage
- Pinon resin
- White sage
- Sweet grass
- Copal resin
- Sacred tobacco
White broad leaf sage for spiritual cleansing
My favorite sage to burn for spiritual cleansing is White broad leaf sage bundles. These are usually available at holistic wellness shops, some grocery stores, or online. I purchase mine from a shop I'm blessed to have near my home, Spirit Apothecary I try to make a habit of smudging 1x a week. For me, I do it the same day our trash goes out (easy to remember). We take out the physical and spiritual trash at the same time every week!
Primarily considered an air element, White broad leaf sage can also be used for four-element cleansing purposes (Earth, Air, Fire, Water). It is highly adored and respected for its strong aromatic properties, and considered supreme/premium of all the sages. Beneficial for divination, meditation, cleansing, and purification. My husband says the smell reminds him of his Uncles cabin when he was growing up, a pleasant and uplifting memory. For me, the smell invokes fall, or the scent of a clean burning fire, but refreshing and extremely soothing. The burning aroma of this sage is extremely peaceful and relaxing. I try to smudge my home on a weekly basis, lately, at the very least, I do it every month.
How to burn sage properly
- Before burning sage-make your intentions clear and pure for your purpose of burning it. Whether that includes a prayer, meditation, or simply stating your reason, do this first. Continue to have the purpose clearly planted and concrete in your mind before and during the burning. Repeating a prayer, mantra, protection, or what you are trying to manifest while burning is also good.
- Place the bundle in a heavy earthenware fire safe pot or abalone shell, light it and allow it to burn for a few seconds before extinguishing, allow the smoke to billow up. Some people like to use feathers to billow and maneuver the smoke. I use a goose feather, but many prefer a turkey feather because it is larger. Some believe that you don't have to light it like crazy. Let it light, and as it begins to billow, it will burn the exact amount in which you need. Some also believe that if you don't know what parts of a home need cleansed, to ignite it and allow the trail of smoke to lead you.
- Proceed to cleanse your space, or spaces by slowly moving throughout your home, office, or near people or persons, allowing the smoke to go into each area you are cleansing (start in a clockwise motion). Be sure to concentrate especially on high traffic areas such as doors, door frames, hallways, windows (thresholds where energy passes frequently) as well as corners and closets if you are cleansing rooms. Focus on high energy areas, home offices, kitchens, sick rooms/beds, pets (if they allow) as well as their bedding.
- Burn incense immediately following a sage burning session. Many don't, but this is something I do each and every time I smudge my entire home. Sage is more masculine/yang energy and complemented by the feminine/yin aspect of incense. My personal favorites are Sandalwood, Nag Champa, Nitiraj, but any incense will do. Incense is not necessary but is lovely to burn after smudging.
- When feasible burn sage weekly in living spaces, you will notice a lightness of energy and calm come into your living quarters with this practice. It will clear old energy, allowing new to move in. Notice the immediate emotional benefits! If you're having a really hectic week, burn it more often!
Burning sage for yourself, people, or pets
- Pray, meditate, and make your intentions clear.
- Light the bundle on a candle flame holding the stick in the flame until it produces a lot of smoke, using a feather or fan, gently waft the smoke onto your body starting at the head proceeding to the feet. Make sure to get the back of your body or those of others the best you can. Again clockwise.
- Finally, inhale a very small amount of the smoke.
- Make sure the bundle is extinguished.
- Burn some incense to complete the process.