Rolls of white sage on a shelf

Smudging Sage: Give Your Space a Fresh, New Start

There are many ways you can create good feng shui as you decorate your home or office. Add flowing water for wealth and prosperity. Incorporate live plants for positive energy. Include a Buddha statue or figurine to create a sense of calm. But did you know there’s something you can do even before you start decorating?

A Native American tradition

The practice of smudging or burning sage comes from Native American and other indigenous traditions. Smudging in general has long been used across cultures to remove negative energy from the body, aura, physical spaces, and personal articles. Even science backs it up: a study from 2006 showed that the burning of medicinal herbs and plants helped clear 94% of bacteria in the air.

Various plants might be used, including sweetgrass to attract positive energy and beauty, cedar to keep illness away, and tobacco to ward off negative feelings and bring people closer to the spiritual world. As for sage, burning it is believed to expel negative energy, a good idea for a new place, whether home or work, where you’re starting fresh.

A sage isn’t a sage isn’t a sage

However, when we talk about sage, we don’t mean the spice jar in your kitchen. That’s garden sage, also known as Salvia officinalis, and used only for culinary purposes. Smudging involves white sage, or Salvia apiana. But this shouldn’t be confused with white dalmatian sage, a variety of Salvia officinalis and used for cooking.

How to smudge your space with sage

Here's what you'll need to get started.

A bundle of white sage. We have bundles available in three, five, seven, and nine inches long.

A fire resistant container. An abalone shell is a traditional choice, but keep in mind they:

  • May be irregularly shaped and therefore difficult to hold
  • Conduct heat and so will get hot as you burn your sage
  • May contain holes — the last thing you want is to drop cinders and ash on your brand new floor.

You might want to consider other heat resistant choices such as soapstone and cast iron bowls.

A feather. Again, a traditional choice. Use the feather to wave the sage smoke at the appropriate areas of the space.

Now you have your smudging implements. What’s next?

  1. Open doors and windows so the unwanted energy (and smoke) has a way to escape.
  2. Hold the sage bundle over your fire resistant container and light it very carefully. You’ll want to grab the bundle as far away from the flame as possible and tilt it at a 45 degree angle.
  3. Let the bundle burn for five to 20 seconds, depending on the size.
  4. Douse the flame by blowing it out gently (to avoid dispelling ash or embers) or pushing it against the interior of the container.
  5. Purify your space. Start at the front door (or entrance) and walk around clockwise, waving the smoke into the air with the feather. Concentrate on corners, and don’t forget to open closets and other closed doors.

Ready to start smudging? Check out our site.

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