May 30, 2009

Smudging With Sage

White sage is a flowering perennial that is native to the Southwest U.S. Its tall woody stems and tiny white flowers love dry, arid slopes with lots of sun, and flourish in the rocky heights of the southwestern canyons. The aromatic herb has been used for centuries as incense and in smudge pots for ceremonial use thus its common name of white ceremonial sage.

The History Of Smudging:

Smudging may seem a very modern practice. We read about city highfliers using it to sell their apartments or improve their business luck. But smudging has been used for thousands of years. When you light a smudge stick you are connecting with a spiritual tradition that originates from the depths of time.

The use of incense dates back thousands of years. It can be traced to ancient Egypt where materials were burned in religious ceremonies, and to drive away demons and gratify the presence of gods. It is mentioned on an inscribed tablet that was placed on the Sphinx at Giza, Egypt, in about 1530 BC.

How to Smudge:

Focus on your intent

Any action, undertaken with intention and belief can become a potent ritual. Consider your intention before you smudge and hold it clearly in your mind. You may wish to invite the spirit of the herbs to join you and guide and assist with your intention.

Get a shell, abalone is what I always use. Any small, flat, heat-proof container will do. Light the sage and let it flame for a minute or so. Extinguish the flame so the sage is smoldering and smoking. Take the smudge container and using circular clockwise movements, encircle yourself with the smoke, asking that all negative energies be cleansed away.

A candle flame is recommended to light the herbs as it may take a little time to get the herb smoking. Once there's a flame, put it out so that the herb is smoldering, not burning. Wave the flame with your hand or feather to put out the fire. Allow the smudge herbs to smolder, freeing the smoke to circle in the air.

You can do this for the whole room and even the whole house. Start at the most northerly room and working again, clockwise, through your home, let the smoke from the sage permeate throughout. Try and finish off the smudging process by ending up at an open door towards the most northwesterly part of your home. You should have come full circle around your home.


Celestite said...

Just wanted to add...I live in NM for a very long time and never tired of watching the sage. It is normally a pale dusty green color with sparse leaves. After a heavy rain it is a brilliant blue green and the aroma of the sage carries for miles. It is magickal.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I love sage smudges!