The use of sage is for healing.
The smoke is used to bless, cleanse and heal the person or object being smudged. Sage is used to 'wash off' the outside world when one enters ceremony or other sacred space. Objects are likewise washed off with sage medicine smoke to rid them of unwanted influences.
The plants that are called sage can come from very different families of plants:
True sages are in the genus of Salvia; this includes Salvia Officinalis and Salvia Apiana (White Sage), also called California White Sage and Sacred Sage.
Many of the herbs called sage come from a completely different family of plants, the Asteracea family. This family brings us the genus of Artemisia from which come New Mexico Sage (Artemisia tridentada), and the sage from the Dakotas (Artemisia ludoviciana), also called Grey sage, Prairie sage, Dakota sage, Lakota Sage and mistakenly sometimes called White sage.
All of these sages (Salvia and Artemisia) are used for healing and cleansing.
The act of smudging is done with a bowl or Abalone Shell with the appropriate herbs directly lit or burned on a coal or Charcoal Tablet. When using charcoal tablets, the bowl or shell should be filled with sand or a flat stone to prevent overheating the container."I use sage in this manner very often," says Rob Hawley, "a 1/4 cup pile should burn for at least 10 minutes and if your ceremony is longer you can just sprinkle a bit more sage on the pile or put another pile right next to or on top of the first pile. Be careful as the bowl or dish may get very hot and burn surfaces below it or your hand, you can put sand in the bowl to prevent this or use one of our smudge Bowls made especially for this purpose." Smudging is also done with herbs tied in bundles called smudge sticks. In either case the smoke is 'washed' over the person or object with a feather or by fanning the smoke with one's hand.
Blessings Smudge Sticks
To do a blessing of a person, begin by looking into the eyes of the person for a moment to 'greet' them, fan the smoke first at their heart and then up to the right side (your left) of the person's head, moving around clockwise (sun-wise), gently washing them with the smoke. Continue brushing smoke down over their left shoulder and the length of their arm and back up again to the shoulder. Wash the smoke down the left side of the torso, left leg and foot. Now smudge the right foot, up the left leg, torso and down the length of the right arm and back up to the shoulder. Now turn the person around, turning to their right (sun-wise again) and repeat these movements as you smudge and bless the person's back.
bless them moving sun-wise around them also.Smudging in the Seven Directions
Feather Facing East - I welcome the energy of the beginning way, the rising sun at the beginning of the day and the light of illumination. Welcome Eagle, flying nearest the heavens, with the clearest of vision. I welcome the energies and spirits of the East. HO!
Facing South - I welcome the energy of service to all my relatives, the heat of the noonday sun and the spirit of action in the world. Welcome Coyote spirit. I welcome the energies and spirits of the South. HO!
Facing West - I welcome the energy of looking within to find the gifts of healing. Welcome Bear spirit going deep within to seek the gift of renewal. I welcome the energies and spirits of the West. HO!
Facing North - I welcome the energy of wisdom and blessing and the Grandmothers and Grandfathers who teach me. Welcome Buffalo and the spirit of giveaway, teach me to be generous and honor all that I receive. I welcome the energies and spirits of the North. HO!
Looking up - I welcome the energy and spirit of Above. Father Sky, Star people, and Cloud people. Welcome all that is masculine, grandfathers, fathers, brothers, uncles and sons. And that masculine energy that also exists within the feminine. I welcome the energies and spirits of Father Sky. HO!
Looking down (touching the ground) - I welcome the energy of Mother Earth, the feminine principle, the energy and spirit of Below. I welcome the energy and the spirit of our grandmothers, our mothers, sisters, aunties and daughters. And that feminine energy that exists within the Masculine. I welcome the energies and spirits of Mother Earth. HO!
Looking within (holding your hands over your heart) - I welcome the energy of Within, the principle of being connected, the energy and spirit of Within. I welcome the gifts of balance, oneness, and the connection with all things, for all things are one and all things are related. HO!
To prevent a fire hazard is it always necessary to use a container that is not flammable under the burning sage. You can use sand in the bowl to prevent the burning of surfaces below your container.
Use Caution When Burning Sage
Smudge Urn White Sage is very fragile, we handle it carefully but there is always some that is broken. It will burn just as easily though when the leaves are broken. To prevent a fire hazard is it always necessary to use a container under the burning sage. Even with smudge sticks burning embers can fall to the floor and start a fire.
To burn broken leaf white sage first get a bowl or dish that is not flammable and put a pile (about Â¼ cup) of sage in it and simply light a match to the leaves and hold it there for a few moments. The sage will begin to glow and if you blow gently the entire pile will eventually burn.