Just broke up with a toxic dude? Burn sage. Moved into a new apartment? Burn sage. Mercury Retrograde wreaking havoc? Burn sage. House is on fire? Burn sage.
It seems like every solution for our issues, big and small, is to burn sage and has been for as long as we can remember but have you ever stopped to wonder why? Why sage? Why not burn a stick of, say, basil?
Here, I’m going to answer every sage-related question you may have and give you a few witchy tricks to help you harness the ancient magic vested in those earthy leaves so you actually know WTF you’re doing the next time you perform a smudging.
When did people start torching sage to fix their problems?
Despite being commandeered for commercial purposes in recent times via every basic bitch hippie shop, sage burning is one of the oldest and purest methods of cleansing people and places.
In fact, our ancestors have been using sage sticks to rid themselves of negativity and unwanted spirits since prehistoric times.
The Native Americans referred to the ritual of burning sage as ‘Smudging’ which is where that term comes from.
This isn’t just me on my witchy BS, there’s legit documentation that proves it.
Can’t argue with facts, people.
How can a simple herb banish evil?
Herb? Yes. Simple? Hellll no.
The Latin word for sage is salvia which means ‘heal’ – v fitting!
White sage is considered to be one of the most potent cleansing and protective botanicals.
Sage smoke is said to drive away illness, negativity and all things bad, creating a blank slate of sorts so fresh energy can bloom.
Where can I purchase this mystical branch?
Sage sticks can be found in most hippie-type stores including Tree of Life and from some local markets.
Alternatively, you can make your very own sage stick by hitting up your local grocers for sage and tying the leaves into a stick using string.
Ok, I’ve got my sage. Now how do I do it?
It legit couldn’t be more simple: Carefully light the end of the sage stick, blow out the flames and allow the smoke to waft over the person, item or place you wish to cleanse.
As with all kinds of rituals, it’s always best to focus on the goal at hand as you do it. Remember, intention and visualisation is EVERYTHING.
When you feel like the cleansing is complete, stub out the stick like a cigarette (but gentler, obvs) and reserve for future use.
Be warned that sage smoke can be thick, heavy and pungent so it’d be a good idea to crack open a window and avoid your fire alarm (I have yet to set off the fire alarm in my apartment, thank Christ).
It’s also believed that having a nearby door or window open will provide a path for the negativity that’s being chased out to exit your life.
My fire alarm goes off when I burn toast, how on earth am I gonna light sage?
There are other ways to harness the power of sage that don’t involve lighting up.
Grab yourself a sage spray and spritz that on the subject instead. It comes from the same plant so you’ll still be accessing its powerful energy.
You can also try applying or burning sage oil, crystal essences or Palo Santo oil.
Is all this mumbo jumbo purely based on hippie beliefs?
First of all, it’s not mumbo jumbo, nor is it simply a ‘hippie belief’ as the practices come from sacred ancient tribes.
Second of all, nup, there’s legit science behind it.
Sage smoke can clear up to 94 percent of airborne bacteria in a space and disinfect the air, according to scientists.
Burning sage releases negative ions which is said to make you feel less shit and more happy.
Sage ya later, hater!
Image: Getty Images