Know the history
Burning sage is one of the oldest and purest methods of cleansing a person, group of people, or space and of getting rid of unwanted spirits. The practice dates back to prehistoric times and it’s been documented as having been used in every corner of the world by our ancestors.
Learn the science behind the smoke
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. The Latin word for sage salvia stems form the word heal. Other qualities believed to be associated with sage when burned are giving wisdom, clarity, and increasing spiritual awareness.
Before burning, open the doors or windows
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. Why do you need to do this? Let's take a lesson from eight-grade science class: Imagine that you took a bunch of chemical compounds and put them in a jar, sealed the lid, and shook the jar. You just created a chemical reaction, but the mixture has nowhere to go; so the jar could explode, crack, or not complete its chemical reaction because of the lack of oxygen, being compressed in a small space, and essentially not being able to change. I use this example with my clients all the time because this experiment is the same as opening the doors and windows in the space you are trying to clear. If you are trying to get someone’s toxic energy out of your house post-party, after an intense meeting in a conference room at work, or you feel like there is a spirit hanging around your space, that energy needs somewhere to go.
Prep for the burning
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.
Light it up with care
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 won't stay lit, it means it was packed too tight when made and the oxygen can't get in properly. 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.
Start at the front door then walk to all the corners of every room in the home. As you leave each area or room recite, "Only joy, love, peace and happiness may remain here." Continue throughout your entire home and end the ritual by doing your final recitation at the back door.
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