As requested, here’s a bit about the sage bundles mentioned in the weekly email.
First, the disclaimers: Most of what information is available about smudging and burning of plant materials has not been scientifically tested. Also, some of the tests that were done were mis-attributed to sage when it wasn’t the plant being tested, or an extract of sage was being used, not the plant itself. Many opinions have been repeated over and over and eventually ended up on news websites, so please do your own research and decide if this is something for you.
Note: Breathing in smoke carries some possible risks. Although researchers haven’t studied sage burning specifically, burning incense has been linked to lung problems and allergies. As long as you burn sage for only short periods of time, it’s unlikely to cause problems, but if you have asthma or other lung problems, check with your doctor before using it. Some pets may also become irritated by the smoke—especially cats.
Smoke offerings and ceremonies are found in many cultures from the Zulus to the Maoris, from the Mayans to the Chinese, in Buddhism, Native American and other spiritual traditions. The smoke ceremony is used to create transformation and bless a space and the inhabitants. Smudging is one of the ways to energetically cleanse a space to invite positive energy. When smudging a space, you burn plant material and the smoke fills and purifies the environment. You shouldn’t be creating enough smoke that it would set off the smoke detector – but opening windows and doors is recommended.
There are many plants that are used for smudging and here we are talking specifically about sage which is used to ‘wash off’ the outside world.
Basic tools include:
*a sage bundle (also called a smudge stick)
*a seashell or bowl (ceramic, clay, or glass)
*feather or fan for fanning smoke (optional)
How to prepare for a smudge:
Before burning sage, it’s recommended to set intentions, clear and clean your space, and open a window for the smoke to escape.
Light the end of a sage bundle with a match. Blow it out quickly when it catches on fire. The tips of the leaves should smolder slowly, releasing thick smoke. Let the ash collect in a ceramic bowl or shell. Starting on the lowest level of your space, move room to room and use your hand or a feather to waft the smoke into all four corners, where the ceiling and walls meet. Then, direct the smoke out through windows and doorways.
Alternatively, you can place the bundle in a fireproof bowl or burner, allow it to smoke for a while and simply waft the sage smoke in and around your home. After you are finished with the smudging 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. Then store it in a safe, dry place out of the sun until the next use.