Sage belongs to the Salvia plant family and is derived from the Latin word salvere, which means "to heal." "Aside from the metaphysical uses of smudging, research is showing that sage can also be used to benefit physical, mental, and emotional well-being. A number of studies that have shown that medicinal smokes such as Sage have powerful antimicrobial and antibacterialqualities, can improve mood and cognition, can serve as an insect repellent, and can even help with sleep quality by easing insomnia.
Spiritually speaking, burning sage is also thought to ward off negativity and toxicity. You can think of it like clearing the slate for more positivity to enter your space.
A vessel for burning sage
A fire source (such as a long match or candle)
A fanning tool (not completely necessary but could be helpful if you need to cover a large area such as a home or office)
How to sage your house to clear negative energy.
1. Gather your tools and have an exit strategy.
First and foremost, ensure you have all the above-mentioned tools handy and that you've opened a door or window before lighting up. After all, that negativity (not to mention smoke) needs to have a pathway to get out.
2. Set your intention and say a mantra.
Intentions are central to the practice of smudging, so take a moment before you light the sage to determine what exactly it is that you're trying to purify or release from your space. Then, decide on a mantra or prayer to repeat while saging that encapsulates this intention. It can be something you come up with on your own and let go and release what no longer serves you.
3. Light up.
Once you're ready, hold the sage at a 45-degree angle, light it using your match or candle, and let it burn for about 20 seconds. After that, gently blow out the flame so you see orange embers on one end. The smoke should now billow up.
4. Slowly walk around your space.
Slowly walk around your space and allow the smoke to waft around. Guide the smoke—and the bad energy—toward the open windows or a door, so it can escape. Give special attention to areas in front of mirrors, in corners, and in spaces like foyers, hallways, and doorways. Sage technology like our phones or laptops. Hold the sage wand underneath them and then wave it around them.
5. Be safe!
Always stay present! If you see little embers fall on the ground, tamp them out immediately. Never let the burning sage stay unattended for any reason. Also, take care not to inhale too much of the smoke. Although saging is a great way to clear your apartment or office of stagnant and possibly negative energy, it is best not to inhale it directly. Lungs are a delicate organ, and any type of smoke can be drying and irritating to the mucosa.
6. Extinguish your sage.
Once you're ready to extinguish a sage smudge stick, press the burning tip firmly into your fireproof vessel, dirt, or sand until the smoke no longer rises. Pro tip: Don't get it wet! "Don't use water to extinguish the hot embers—it will ruin the tip of the stick and make it harder to light next time. When you are done using the smudge stick, you can keep it in a vessel until you are ready to use it again.