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How to burn sage or herbs

For myself, I find it helpful to have an intention before even starting. Did I just receive a stock shipment or something new for the house? Yes, and I want to remove any not so nice energies that may have been picked up before arriving to me.

Does the energy in a sacred space or home feel stagnant and heavy? Yes, time to do some energetic house cleaning then. Am I thankful for blessings received? Yes, and I'd like to thank the Divine and pass on that I was not unaware of what I received.

Burning sage or herbs has been a practice for many spiritual paths, probably since we discovered fire.


Burning SageWatching the smoke swirl to the sky is a visualization of carrying our thoughts, prayers or well wishes to our version of the Divine. We can also watch as it dissolves negative, unwanted, or energies just no longer needed, sinking them down to be cleared by the earth

While many different types of herbs and plants can be used, white sage is probably the most popular here in the states. This is mainly due to about 2,000 years of Native American traditions. Shamans threw dried sage onto ritual fires as a way to call to their ancestors. When a person walked through the smoke, conflicts, anger and illness would be absorbed by the smoke. This releases negative energies and cleared a persons energy field.


Will the smoke hurt me?

The short answer is no. While most of the benefits are on the spiritual and psychological levels, there is an actual physical part as well.

Science has shown us that Sage releases negative ions into the air when it is burned, and research has suggested that exposure to negative ions can correlate to lower rates of depression. While the strength of this connection is still unclear, so far sage has not been shown to have any negative effect.

The Latin word for sage is Salvia, which stems from the word to heal. The other qualities of sage when burned, like providing wisdom, clarity and increasing spiritual awareness, are also indicated in the name.

Using Sage


Smudging ToolsYour sage ritual can be as fancy or simple as you like, but more importantly, your intention needs to be firmly set before beginning. If you have a special shell, bowl or other item, go with it - as long as they are non-flammable - remember, you are using fire and the sage will be burning and hot to the touch.

If cleansing a piece of jewelry or small item, usually breaking off a leaf or two will be sufficient to complete the process. This also works well on yourself when you arrive home after a hectic day out in the world.

My choice for clearing large spaces is an abalone shell and a feather. I work in a clockwise circle around a room, start/end at an open window or door. In clearing an entire home, open the door most used to enter your home. This may, or may not be the "front' door. Start in the rooms farthest from the door and complete a clockwise circle in each room starting and ending at its door. Don't forget to do hallways and stairwells. Finally end in the room with the door open to the outside. Basically, you have just chased all the stale energies out the door!


Chant Your Intentions

So, you have your intention in your head. This process seems to work best stating what you want out loud though. What to say? My best advice is go with what feels comfortable to you. We each walk our own variation of a spiritual path, so there is no hard and fast rule. Whatever you choose to use, put some energy in it and say it like you mean it.

One of my faves for whole house or room clearing:
Darkness and negativity be gone, only light and good intentions are allowed to be here.

If you walk a pagan/witchy path, you may want to use:
Water, earth, air and fire, clear this space as I desire.

Dedicating a new sacred space might call for:
I clear this space of all darkness and negativity. I dedicate this space to life, love, light, and all that is good.


A Final Note

Nature doesn't like blank spaces and will attempt to refill what you just cleared. A way to set and keep a nice high vibe environment is to finish off with ringing a bell or chimes, drumming, Reiki, playing some soothing music, or burning some pleasant incense. This will fill the 'empty' spaces with a nice high, positive engery.

A little smoke goes a long way! Remember, you are not fogging for mosquitos, you are clearing energies. And, because you are creating smoke, you may need to disable smoke alarms during the process - remember to turn them on when things clear.

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