Benefits And Uses Of White Sage
Amanda Linette Meder
White Sage (Salvia apiana) is a plant native to high desert ecosystems and grows prevalently in California and in the Mountain West.
For hundreds of years, White Sage has been considered a sacred, cleansing, purifying, and protective plant.
The leaves of the plant are a whitish-green, and if you rub the fresh leaves between your thumb and forefinger, a refreshing, cleansing scent is released.
Native Americans started the tradition of using White Sage, also known as Sacred Sage, to release lingering energies. White Sage has been used in ceremonies to seek blessings of health and prosperity, release spirits, encourage protection.
Sacred Sage can amplify any clearing and protective techniques that you are already using. As a plant and a living being, Sage has a Spirit. The Spirit of Sage is also dedicated to offering protection, blessings, and clearing.
Sage can help us:
Boost the energy in the room
Reboot the spiritual energy in the space
Ignite mental acuity
Restore our intuitive balance and center
How can you work with White Sage?
When you first work with any plant for sacred reasons, it's important to say a blessing and introduce yourself to the plant.
Most people, including myself, choose to burn it to release the healing energy it carries into the space around us.
Sage Smudging is a ritual where the leaves of the plant are burned. The smoke is directed into and onto areas that need clearing and release.
The goal of smudging with Sage is to release a person or an area of any residual energies that are different than what you presently intend for the space.
Smudging, also known as Saging, is excellent for these occasions -
After the grief process
In between clients
To refresh the energy in a home or office
Following an emotional release
To clear any lingering spirits after a transition
The idea is that as the leaves are burned, and you speak express your gratitude for its assistance, the Spirit of the Sage Plant releases its energy of protection and clearing into the space, or onto and around the area, person or object that needs clearing.
As the smoke moves through the room or over a surface, the smoke attaches itself to any heavy, negative energy that is within the space, object, or being. As the smoke falls to the floor, it 'drops out' any negativity energy with it.
This heavy energy is then released so that the current energies can refresh and renew into something positive.
Ways you can use White Sage to clear in a smudging practice -
You can perform this smudging ritual on anything or anyone that needs clearing. If it is a living being, just remember to ask permission.
You can smudge to help you clear a room, a building, or a property.
White Sage can assist you in releasing energies and thought forms from yourself or another that no longer serves you.
You can ask Sage to assist you in cleansing unknown energies from a stone, or an object that you received as a gift.
General Sage Smudging Protocols
Obtain some White Sage, you can find it locally or online.
When shopping locally, look for the common names "White Sage Smudge Stick" or "California White Sage" or "South Dakota Harvested White Sage."
For this practice, you don't want to use kitchen sage, as it's a different plant.
The first step of working with White Sage:
Sage intuitively. Everyone has a process. Some like to Sage counter-clockwise, some like to Sage from top to bottom, some like to focus on areas of concentrated energy, such as doorways and closets.
When I was smudging a house recently, my niece and nephew were present and wanted to help.
So I told them that we were going to go around and clear the energy, and then let them to it, supervising, but also just observing. They intuitively opened cabinets, closet doors and got under their own beds. I didn't tell them that.
And as you smudge, you will likely feel called to open a back door and clear the energy there, and just follow your own guide. You know your space better than anyone.
Many healers believe that when working with a Plant Spirit, they will guide you on how to use it, and I agree with this. So let it guide you.
The second step in smudging with White Sage:
After you light the Sage, do not stop it from burning. The spirit of White Sage knows just how much needs to be released and will burn accordingly.
If you feel you are done burning Sage, but the Sage doesn't feel that way - place the wand in a fireproof bowl, or on the stove and allow the Sage to cease burning, naturally.
Sometimes I just set the wand outside until it's done with burning, and this blesses the neighborhood.
If you watch the smoke, sometimes it will drift to a particular part of the room, car, or person - that is usually where the healing/protection energy is most needed.
A few safety tips when burning White Sage:
Use a heatproof bowl to put the Sage in, after it has been ignited. Some prefer to use an abalone shell, but abalone is endangered, so any piece of thick, fired pottery is beautiful and just elegant.
Keep the air as still as possible when you smudge. No fans, or open doors and windows while the Sage is burning. Any gust of wind could further ignite the Sage and blow sparks and ashes out of the bowl.
Avoid wearing billowy clothing and tie back long hair.
To begin smudging using White Sage:
Do not let it flame burn. Light the Sage at the very tips of the leaves on top of the wand. Once the flames come to life, blow them out quickly.
Once the Sage is lit, and the flame is blown out, the wand or the leaf will smoke.
The movement and release of the energy come with the smoke, not with the flames.
Place the lit, smoking end of the Sage wand, down inside the bowl, and rest the sides of the wand on the edge of the bowl. If you are using a leaf, you can set it down in a bowl or hold an ash bowl under it.
Use your hand, a small piece of cardboard, or a feather to "waft" the smoke.
Set an Intention. Using the smoke of the White Sage to cleanse and protect, set the intention for what you'd like to see released with the Sage.
As you work with White Sage to clear, I suggest repeating a mantra, for example, as you smudge, repeat:
I release all energies that no longer serve me to be released from me and this space and into the divine light. You no longer have nor hold power here.
Loving and peaceful energy is welcome and invited in now. This is a sacred, entered space, and anything that no longer serves is released with this sacred smoke.
Then move through the home or around the body or object until the smoke has saturated energy room or energy field.
For each different type of smudging process, follow the instructions below -
Smudging A Room Or House:
Keep the windows and doors closed to the area you have chosen to smudge, while the Sage burns.
Choose one room to begin in. You might like to start from the back of the house and move to the front, or to start from the bottom floor and move to the top.
Start in one corner of the room and gently waft the smoke from the floor up to the ceiling. As you smudge, move from the bottom and to the top of the space, following the natural pattern of smoke.
Then move from the backmost corner of the room to the front of the room by the entryway.
If you encounter a window, waft smoke into the four corners of the window, starting from the lower-left corner of the window moving to the upper left, then to the upper right, back down to the lower right.
Seal the window by completing the "loop," making sure the smoke is wafted over the entire window frame.
Then move to the next corner, and waft smoke from the bottom to the top of the corner, and once you complete the final corner, move to the center of the room raise the bowl to chest height, and waft smoke up towards the room center.
You are now done with this room. Move through the space you are in, intuitively until you complete all rooms.
Allow the smoke to penetrate the rooms for at least 15-minutes. Upon completing all rooms, open the windows and doors to release the energies that have attached to the smoke.
Make sure to get all the rooms, and if you have a room with cabinets - open the cabinets and waft smoke into them the way you would for a window.
Notice how the room feels different - lighter, clearer, airier.
Smudging A Person:
Bend over, so that the bowl is about the level of your feet and ankles.
Start at the bottom of your body and gently waft the smoke upward. Slowly unbend and straighten up, you are bringing the Sage/bowl and fanning the smoke up, up, upward until you’ve sent the smudging smoke up above your head.
If someone is smudging you, turn around in a circle, and ask them to smudge you, from feet to head on all sides. As you turn slowly in a clockwise direction, they will stand still and waft the smoke from your feet to your head.
Make a complete circle, and thank the Spirits for their assistance. Next, offer your friend a smudging.
Smudging An Object:
If you have a crystal or a piece of jewelry given to you, or anything else that you want to cleanse, hold it in your hand if it's small enough, if it's not, stand in front of it.
Waft smoke from below the object, so that the Sage smoke covers the object from below, traveling upward. Swirl the smoke around the object until you feel the cleansing is complete.
Remember to repeat your mantra.
If you are smudging an object used for protection, such as a crystal that you wear and have asked it to absorb negative energies, you will want to cleanse this object periodically to make sure it is fully functioning. This actually goes for houses and spaces, too.
Where To Buy Sage:
You can find White Sage bundles on Amazon, under the names "White Sage Smudge," but if you can find it locally, I generally recommend that. This way, you can decide if you like the size of the bundle or amount in person.
Make sure you buy Sage that was grown and harvested intentionally, and without pesticides. Wild harvesting is a good option, but careful of over-harvesting and make sure to avoid over picked areas.
We want the Sage to continue to grow in the wild for future generations, so when purchasing, assure the person who picked it was familiar with ethical harvesting guidelines.
The best time to harvest Sage is early August - late September, and you can find it wild, if you are in an area where it grows natively, or know someone who is.
For more on wild harvesting your own Sage, check out: Wild Harvesting White Sage And Local Sage Alternatives
So to recap:
White Sage can assist with energetically cleansing and resetting a space.
You can work with it is by burning it around the place, object or person you'd like to cleanse, this is called smudging.
If you are smudging a house, a wand of Sage might be best. If you are smudging a person, you may only need to use a leaf.
Using Sage to clear can be helpful after grieving, between clients and after emotional releases.
Do use your intuition to guide the process and don't be afraid to come up with your own technique.
Want to go deeper on working with white sage and learn more about other clearing methods?
Check out my Space Clearing eBook. The full scoop on proper home clearing, with all the tools available to you - it covers smoke, sound and light clearing. This eBook is free when you join The Membership Program. Not ready to join yet? Check out a few of the articles below -
Amanda Linette Meder
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Last updated 2019.08.12