Cleansing Your Home
White sage, blue sage, cedar, palo santo- where do you even begin? One of the most commonly asked questions in our shop here in Salem, MA is "What does sage do?" - usually followed be the secondly most asked question- "How do I do it?" With so many options, techniques, and practices available, we're here to help! The act of burning sage is called smudging, and it dates back centuries to Native American practices and traditions. Indigenous people have been using this magical herb for ages in order to clear out negative forces from places or people. It was also referenced in ancient times a medicinal remedy in Egypt, being used to cure sore throats, depression, respiratory illness, and various other ailments. In respect to traditions, we believe it is important to do your part in sourcing your sage ethically- we offer a variety of sage and other cleansing tools, all ethically grown, wildcrafted, and sent to us directly through a private grower, creating a sustainable relationship for our plants, and for our planet! Today it used all over the world- sage is used before rituals, in homes, in spaces new or old, on people, on the self, in meditation, you name it! The cleansing & purging properties of this magical herb basically creates a spiritual "clean slate". This is great in a few different settings- Maybe you moved into a new home and want to clear out the old, stagnant energy; Or maybe you had a long, treacherous day, and now that you're home, you need to *spiritually* wash all that negativity off! Maybe you're feeling frenzied, and can't focus on the task at hand, or maybe something in your space just feels a little.... off. Regardless of your situation, sage is the perfect little thing to clear out a space, or cleanse yourself.
Now that we know what sage is- what about all those other little things we see accompanying it? Palo santo traditionally originates in South America, and has been used for centuries, literally translating to "holy wood." Similar to sage, it can burned in spaces to invite blessings, happiness, and healing. You could use one or the other, and many people even use both! For example, I like to burn sage first to kind of *clear* everything out, and follow up with Palo Santo to invite new, happy energy into the freshly cleansed space. Cedar is also a popular smudging herb, associated with healing, purification, luck, and positivity. Some people intermingle these in their practice- or you may find one works better for you, smells better, feels better, whatever! You know yourself best, and it is important to listen to your gut feelings when experimenting with different cleansing methods. You may also see a large shell with these items- typically an abalone shell, these are the perfect vessel to burn your sage in, as it is naturally fireproof, and also stands in as a water element in your ritual, helping to balance the fire, earth, and air already associated with the smudging. There are many varieties of sage as well- white sage, blue sage, dessert sage, russian sage, the list goes on and on... there are also different sage blends, where the sage leaves are wrapped with various other herbs and flowers to set different intentions for your cleansing! One popular option is sage with lavender, as the lavender works to add an additional boost of relaxation, incase you are trying to clear out a particularly stressful environment. You can shop around and weigh your options for a specific space or purpose, but in general, most sage does virtually the same thing. If you are unsure where to start, we always recommend a basic white sage bundle, as it burns super easy and gets the job done! For those with allergies, respiratory issues, or excitable fire alarms, there are also plenty of sage sprays and oils that do the same thing. They take the essence of the plant and enable you to spray it wherever you like. One of my favorite nighttime rituals to calm myself before bed is using a few sprays of our White Sage with Lavender over my bedding. You could also wear a body-safe oil on your wrists, or put a dab of it on a cleansing candle before burning for an extra boost.
As always, you should never leave ANYTHING burning unattended, and be sure to do a little bit at a time until you've reached a comfortable level of smoke- it can get smokey pretty quickly, and in my experience, you rarely need as much as you think! I personally use loose sage, or pull one big leaf from my sage bundles, as the single leaf can catch and hold heat for much longer than the whole tip of a bundle. You may prefer to light the whole bundle however if you're clearing a large space. Doing single leaves at a time is also a great thing to try if you find your stick keeps going out before you can clear the whole space. It is common practice to smudge yourself first, starting at your feet (root chakra) and working your way up to the top of your head (crown chakra) before smudging the space. You can walk through the entire room, house, or building, or you if you notice the energies are particularly *off* in just one space, you can keep it burning in a single area. Some of my favorite times to use sage include: -after work -before a tarot reading
-before bed -after a stressful event or argument
-before a big event
-while cleaning or rearranging the home
It never hurts to have a fresh start, especially when something just feels *off*! It's also a great way to set yourself up with a clear mind, regardless of what kind of mojo you have going on, as it aids in focus and clarity. I like to use it especially when doing tarot readings for other people, as I feel it "cleans" off the cards between readings. There are so many ways to use sage, and it's a great tool for those just starting out in spirituality or magic. Please use great caution with health issues, pets, flammable items, pregnancies, and allergies. Sage, and this blog post, are not intended as medical advice. Please speak to a professional when it comes to your health and safety.