Where did the practice originate?
Burning sage — also known as smudging — is an ancient spiritual ritual.
Smudging has been well established as a Native American cultural or tribal practice.
It may be purifying
The most-used types of sage have antimicrobial properties. This means they keep infectious bacteria, viruses, and fungi at bay. It's also been shown to repel insects.
One 2007 study found that burning sage for an hour decreased the level of aerial bacteria by 94 percent. These effects were preserved for up to 24 hours afterward.
It may help relieve the symptoms of some conditions
It turns out that sage may help clear the air of lots more than bugs and bacteria.
Though scientifically unproven, burning sage is thought to release negative ions.
This is said to help neutralize positive ions.
Common positive ions are allergens like:
- pet dander
If this is the case, burning sage may be a blessing for those with asthma, allergies, bronchitis, and other respiratory conditions. But inhaling the smoke during the smudging can aggravate it. Wait until the smoke clears before spending time in the room.
Smudging may also be used as a ritual tool to rid yourself — or your space — of negativity.
This includes past traumas, bad experiences, or negative energies from others.
This may help you establish a positive environment for meditation or another ritual. Choosing to sit and let go of negative thoughts in a ritual like this sets your intention and dedication to self-improvement.
Tradition suggests that smudging can literally lift one’s spirits to banish negativity.
An important traditional remedy for treating anxiety, depression, and mood disorders in certain cultures.
It may help soothe stress
If burning sage can lift one’s mood, it could also be a great ally against stress.
A 2016 research project for the University of Mississippi established that white sage is rich in compounds that activate certain receptors in the brain. These receptors are responsible for elevating mood levels, reducing stress, and even alleviating pain.
Smudging has been traditionally used to safeguard against negativity that could interfere with sleep.
Some research suggests that sage contains compounds that could help ease insomnia.
Ridding the body, objects, and spaces of bad energy can help welcome in newer, fresher, and more positive energies. In a way, this could have an energizing effect and help with fatigue.
For some, this may be the best of all benefits: Sage is a lovely incense with a divine aroma, pure and simple. It also works great as a chemical-free air freshener or odor controller.
The practice of burning sage or smudging is fairly simple, with few necessary tools.
Basic tools include:
- a sage bundle (or smudge stick)
- some recommend a seashell or bowl of ceramic, clay, or glass to hold burning sage or capture ash
- some recommend matches over a manmade lighter
- optional feather or fan for fanning smoke
It’s also important to leave a window open before, during, and after smudging. This allows smoke to escape. Some believe smoke also takes impurities and negative energy with it — so don’t skip this step.
These steps apply whether you’re smudging yourself, your home, or an object. You can smudge any of these as often as you’d like. We smudge our office once a week to remove negative energy and keep creative energy flowing.
Light the end of a sage bundle with a match. Blow out if it catches on fire.
The tips of the leaves should smolder slowly, releasing thick smoke. Direct this smoke around your body and space with one hand while holding the bundle in the other.
Allow the incense to linger on the areas of your body or surroundings you’d like to focus on. Using a fan or feather can also help direct the smoke, though this is optional.
Allow the ash to collect in a ceramic bowl or shell.
Smudge your home, creative space or office
In this instance, direct sage smoke over all surfaces and spaces in your home or living area.
Be thorough. Work in a clockwise direction around your home, ending back where you started. Don't forget corners of rooms were negative energy hides. Smudge from corners inward then out the door.
Smudge an object
Direct smoke around and over the object of your choice.
This can be done to a new item, such as jewelry, furniture, or clothing, to protect or dispel it of negative energy. Items related to negative experiences or memories may also be smudged.
Some people burn sage over special objects, to acknowledge the object with sacred meaning.
You can also light and burn sage to improve odor, fragrance, and mood.
Simply waft sage smoke in and around your home. You can place the bundle in a fireproof bowl or burner and allow it to smoke for a while.
Make sure your smudge stick is completely extinguished. You can do this by dabbing the lit end into a small bowl of ash or sand. Check the end closely to make sure there are no more embers burning. Once it’s completely put out, store it in a shell or smudge plate. Keep in a dry place out of the sun.
Each beautiful organic blue sage stick is carefully hand-wrapped with our handpicked roses, hemp string and vintage velvet ribbon. Rose petals and rose colors based on season availability.