Smudging- Burning Sage
- Purifying: Beliefs that burning sage clears out spiritual impurities, pathogens, and even insects have been fundamental to the practice of smudging.
- Symptom relief: 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, pollution, dust and mold. 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 any respiratory condition. Wait until the smoke clears before going into the room.
- Spirituality: Smudging has long been used to connect to the spiritual realm or enhance intuition. For healers and laypeople in traditional cultures, burning sage is used to achieve a healing state — or to solve or reflect upon spiritual dilemmas.
Research shows that thujone is mildly psychoactive. It’s actually found in many plants used in cultural spiritual rituals to enhance intuition.
- Release negativity: Smudging may also be used as a ritual tool to rid yourself — or your space — of negativity. This includes past traumas, bad
- Stress relief: Tradition suggests that smudging can literally lift one’s spirits to banish negativity. Some research supports this.
A 2014 study documented white prairie sage (also known as estafiate) as an important traditional remedy for treating anxiety, depression, and mood disorders in certain cultures. 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 (Salvia apiana) 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.
- Sleep quality: Classic garden sage (Salvia officinalis) is sometimes burned like white sage. It’s also been used to improve sleep and soothe anxiety.
- Brain booster: In addition to dissipating negative energy, improving mood, and strengthening intuition, smudging with sage might improve your memory and focus.
- Energy booster: 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. Some sage-like species closely related to white prairie sage are also used for smudging. Many have documented antifatigue
- Uplifting fragrance: 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 odour controller.
- How to use
- Light the end of a sage bundle with a match. Blow out quickly 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.
· What to do after a smudge
- 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 safe, dry place out of the sun.
· Are there any side effects or risks?
- When done correctly and respectfully, smudging is completely safe and the effects last after the smoke clears.
- Be careful with sage when it’s lit. If you aren’t careful, burns and even fire is possible. Have water nearby.
- Never leave burning sage unattended. Make sure to put your sage bundle out completely after every use.
- Setting off smoke alarms is common. Consider this if smudging in a public building.
- People with asthma and other respiratory conditions may be more sensitive to the smoke and have adverse reactions.
- Always leave a window open while smudging. Inhaling smoke can be hazardous to your health.