Herbs have been used for centuries to clear noxious and negative energies, illnesses, and pests from living space. Sage and sweetgrass are two used by Native American tribes, particularly in the Great Plains. Sage clears the undesirable out, while sweetgrass brings positive in. You can usually purchase these two herbs at health food stores, New Age gift shops, spiritual centers, and some yoga studios. Smoke-free alternatives like our Clear Being Aura Mist and Dancing Fairies Light Shield have a special place in our modern smoke-alarm world.
Dried sage usually comes in a tightly tied, wand-shaped bundle, so it will smoke rather than burn; it is also sold as loose leaf in small bags. Traditionally, it is tied with red or multicolor cotton thread. Sage is an astringent with a drying effect and the smoke or herb can be used to purify the air when people are having colds or upper respiratory or sinus infections. Its fragrance is strong and medicinal, even sharp.
To burn sage, use a candle to light it and a shell (traditionally abalone as a representative of the Great Mother, the ocean) as a catcher for loose ash, holding the bowl or shell under the sage in the opposite hand. This prevents hot ashes from landing on carpet and furniture. Sand in the abalone shell will help to suffocate the fire when you are finished. Avoid putting it out with water; just tamp it down until the smoke stops.
To smudge yourself, rest the sage wand in the shell and using both hands or a feather draw the smoke above your head and toward your heart several times, as though you are washing in the smoke. Keeping your hands 3-5 inches from your body will cleanse your upper energy field. Then use the wand to waft smoke around your legs and feet including your soles.
To smudge a room, use the smoking wand as a pointer to outline the corners of a room, such as openings of doors, windows, the meeting line of the wall and ceiling, wall corners, and floor to walls. Start above and work to the below, moving in a clockwise circular direction. Complete each wall before moving on to the next. In this way it works as a focusing wand for your intention, as well as clearing with the herbal smoke.
Sweetgrass is bound in a long braid to remind us of the Divine Feminine. Sweetgrass brings the vibrations of sweetness and pleasure into the space and is a lovely aromatic when used after sage. I love the fresh clean smell of Sweetgrass as a dried herb and keep the braid out where I can enjoy this reminder of wide-open western spaces.
Sweetgrass does not burn, but will smoke lightly and go out easily. To keep it smoking, bounce the tip of the braid in the air, so the air circulation will feed the fire. This takes a little practice. Again, with sweetgrass you can outline the room or wave it across the walls, doors, windows, and corners. If it doesn’t go out on its own, tamp the braid into a bowl or shell to stop the smoke. It is not unusual to have to relight the sweetgrass several times.
When I have smudged with sage alone or sage followed by sweetgrass, I have always felt blessed by the plants’ gifts of renewal and refreshment. I end the smudging with a prayer of gratitude.
The first and only time I used sage to clear my office was as a novice in Denver. Within 90 seconds three people were at my office door, knocking to complain about the smoke. Their first thought was that I was burning “pot,” their second was that there was a fire. Their rapid response saved us all from the embarrassing scream of a fire alarm.
For sensitives who wish to avoid smoke or grasses, or for office buildings, lodging, or hospitals with smoke detectors and sprinklers, you can use Swanstar Essences Clear Being Aura Mist with its light lavender-anise-frankincense fragrance. Or try our fragrance-free Dancing Fairies Light Shield to clear, elevate, and restore joy to your space.