Native Americans and other indigenous peoples have burned sage for centuries as part of a spiritual ritual to cleanse a person or space, and to promote healing and wisdom. It's been used since the time of the ancient Egyptians and Romans to treat digestive issues, memory problems, and sore throats. The name sage comes from the Latin “salvia,” which means, “to feel healthy.”
“Simply put, sage clears bacteria in the air. Sage smoke offers rapid delivery to the brain and efficient absorption to the body. Scientists have observed that sage can clear up to 94 percent of airborne bacteria in a space and disinfect the air. When sage is burned, it releases negative ions, which is linked to putting people into a positive mood.
Sage smudging sticks
How to burn sage sticks and smudge your space.
Before you light up, remember to open a door or window as the unwanted energy you are trying to clear must have a pathway to get out.
Traditionally, people use an abalone shell to hold the sage in and then use a feather to fan and spread the smoke around the space when burning sage. If you are just getting into working with sage you can find sage kits easily online or in your local metaphysical shop. Abalone shells are great because of the shape, they are easy to hold when walking around the space, and they can take the heat created from the burning herbs. Remember, you are lighting something on fire so making sure you have the right container is important.
Once you're ready to light your sage, grab the sage as far from the end you are burning as possible. Hold the sage at a 45-degree angle, light the sage, let it burn for about 20 seconds and then gently blow out the flame so that you see orange embers on one end.
Then you can start the process of clearing your space. If the sage bundle was packed too tight when made, then the oxygen can't get in properly and the sage won't stay lit. Loosen the ribbon around the sage and take the tip you are lighting and smash it on to a surface to give it a little breathing room. This helps to keep your sage smoking. If you also start to see the glow of the embers fading you can gently blow on the end that is lit up and remember to do this gently, otherwise, you can send sage ash flying onto your outfit or carpet.
Walk through the space or around the person or object you are clearing and move the smoke from bottom to top and around. You can meditate or use a mantra that resonates with you and what you are trying to achieve.
Remember to put out your stage stick by gently pressing it down on the bowl you used until it is out completely before you leave it alone.