Burning sage is known as smudging. It is a practice that has been passed down through the ages and is closely linked to various indigenous communities. It’s a deeply spiritual ritual and practice that dates back to prehistoric times. It is often used ceremonially for energy clearing, purifying, and chasing out unwanted spirits. The practice of smudging clears a person, group, or space and helps to bring the balance back.
It’s important to be respectful to sacred communities and ancient cultures when burning sage. The best way to do this is to always enter the act with intention, mindfulness, and with purpose and thought. Another important element to consider when bringing mindfulness into smudging is to make sure that you are buying your white sage smudge stick from places that have sourced the sacred plant in ethical ways.
Taking some time to learn how to burn sage and welcome the art of smudging into your space will help you to cultivate the best results. The ritual of sage burning starts with finding the right high-quality sage, setting the stage, connecting to intention, and participating in the act with gratitude and reverence to the sacred herb as it gets to work clearing out bad vibes and bringing its cleansing energy. You can use a sage wand or turn to a smudge kit to ensure you have everything you need. Traditionally, people would also use a pearly Abalone shell and a feather to hold the sage and to waft the smoke. You should be able to find similar items in any good smudging kit.
The act of smudging involves holding the smudge stick and letting the smoke waft through a space so it can effectively cleanse, purify, and change the energy in the room. Whether new to the practice or looking for a little refresher, we have a quick guide to help you stay connected and present when smudging your sage.
- Prepare - Gather all that you need to burn your sage such as the sage smudge stick, an abalone shell, a lighter, and anything else you think you need. You will also want to open a window or door so that the smoke (and negative energy) has an exit point to leave the space.
- Set intentions - Intentions are truly one of the most important parts of smudging as it keeps us present and mindful in the ancient act we are undergoing. Whatever prayer or mantra you have in mind, keep it in your mind and be clear on it before you smudge the space. It also helps to repeat the mantra or say it aloud while smudging.
- Light the sage - Hold the sage at an angle and light it with a lighter. It may take a moment to catch. Let it burn for 10-20 seconds and then gently blow out the flame. You should still be able to see embers on the smudge stick and it should also be smoking.
- Smudge the area, yourself, or place in abalone shell - As the smoke begins to billow you can either walk around the room (if you are smudging a space) and encourage the smoke to flow, if you can - guide the smoke towards the window or the door and show it the way out. Don’t forget to pay extra care to corners, mirrors, and big spaces where negative energy can cling. You can also simply let your smudge stick burn safely by placing it in an abalone shell.
Smudging is considered to be safe and any discomfort should clear as soon as the smoke dissipates. If you are super sensitive to smoke and can’t be around it for any reason you could look instead to using essential oils to cleanse your space, set an intention, and shift the mood.
Of course, when there is smoke involved there is always the tiny risk of fire. For those who are diligent, this shouldn’t be a worry. We always encourage you to smudge responsibly and safely. You should never leave sage, incense, palo santo or anything burning or even smoking when left unattended. You can keep your space safe by using an abalone shell to catch any debris. Always ensure your smudge sticks or incense or wood is completely extinguished when finished. Finally, we remind you to keep doors and windows open, not only so that the negative energy has someplace to go but to avoid inhaling smoke.
Smudging sage is a beautiful act that will keep you and your space cleansed and rejuvenated. When our internal and external spaces are kept clear from toxic energy, we are better equipped to thrive. This combined with the antimicrobial properties, the encouragement of better sleep, and lifting the weight of anxiety, means that sage is a sublime choice for those who crave a sacred lighter and loving space. You can smudge with sage whenever you feel the need.