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  • Writer's pictureStars Aberystwyth

Sage Smudging: What it does and how to do it.

Where does sage smudging come from? Burning sage is one of the oldest and purest methods of cleansing a person, group of people, or space and getting rid of unwanted energy. The practice dates back to prehistoric times and has been documented as having been used in every corner of the world. This ancient practice, known as "smudging", is becoming more popular as people continue to seek out new ways to relax, stay focused, and combat everyday stress. Those who engage in these cleansing rituals claim that burning dry sage can help clear the air, promote mindfulness, and remove unwanted and negative energy. Sage is an aromatic plant that has long been used for both medical and spiritual purposes. Ancient Romans called sage a salvation plant (literally, salvare, meaning "save" or "cure"), and it was used in Ancient Egyptian, Roman, and Greek medicines for its natural healing properties. Charles the Great, or Charlemagne, ordered its usage during the 8th century, at the famous medical school in Salerno-the emperor reportedly favoured the plant. While sage has deep historical roots, that doesn't mean it isn't relevant in modern medicine. According to recent scientific studies, sage has powerful antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory qualities. One of those studies discovered that the use of medicinal smokes such as sage resulted in a 94 percent reduction in airborne bacteria. There is also evidence pointing to the possibility that smoke based remedies are often absorbed more efficiently by the body. Researchers are currently exploring sage as a natural treatment for a whole host of issues, including depression, dementia, obesity, lupus, heart disease and cancer.

What are the Benefits of burning sage? 1.Mindfulness If you bring more awareness to what you are doing, especially by engaging your senses, you can reduce your stress. It's close to mindfulness, in which we bring our full sensory attention to what we are doing, and that is easier to do with a sweet-smelling movement practice like smudging. Mindful meditation can actually change your brain pattern and help you handle stress, so if burning sage helps you relax and enter a more focused brain space, then it's totally worth it. 2.Aromatherapy Whether or not you believe that energy can be cleared by smudging, the scent alone can have a grounding effect. This allows you to think more clearly, reduces anxiety, and creates a sense of calm in your day-to-day life. Sage has powerful antimicrobial and antibacterial qualities, can improve mood, help with sleep quality by easing insomnia, and even serve as an insect repellent. Research shows that relaxing aromas such as sage can actually help improve physiological and cognitive function after stress. If the scent of sage isn't your thing, you can also incorporate other aromatics into your smudge stick as well. Lavender, rosemary, cedar and rose are all great additions to burning sage, and have their own individual therapeutic properties. 3.Belief in intention So even if you're on the fence about whether or not burning sage can purify the air, its stress-relieving benefits can be totally great for your health.This helps provide a grounding effect that helps you relax and focus your thoughts. Rituals and routines can help calm us by bringing order and predictability into life, so smudging will almost certainly reduce tension. Whether you're smudging for spiritual reasons or simply to relax, engaging in this practice can be calming and centering. How to burn sage Ready to engage in the practice? It's fairly simple, and only requires a sage smudge stick, a flame to light it, a feather (optional) and a dish or shell to catch the ash and keep things safe! Allow enough space and time for the ritual so you don't feel rushed. If possible, meditate for at least five minutes to calm your mind and heart. You'll want to make sure to use a heat-proof bowl or abalone shell to hold your smudge stick. Be sure to crack any windows or doors and visualise the negative energy leaving out through them. This will help focus your thoughts, and set your intent. Once you are ready to go, light the end of the smudge bundle until it starts to smoke. Be sure to light the sage evenly, and -after letting it burn for a few seconds-the flame should go out on its own. (If it doesn't, blow it out gently.) We recommend repeating your intention throughout the ritual almost like a smudging prayer. Carry your smoking sage throughout your house to clear the built up energies. Starting on the lowest level of your space, or by your front door, 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. It is important to get into hidden places, such as dark corners, cupboards, cwtches etc. Then direct the smoke out through windows and doorways. When you arrive back at the front door, visualise the entire home is filled with bring white sunlight. Then speak your intention aloud one last time to close the smudging ceremony. Remember to give thanks. Once you've finished smudging, extinguish your sage by rubbing it in dirt or sand, on concrete, or stamping it out in a ceramic bowl. (Whatever you do, just don't put sticks out in water-you won't be able to use them again.) Be sure not to leave a burning smudge stick unattended. Once a space has been cleansed, the energy often neutralises. At this moment it is important to fill the space with the energy of love. We recommend placing sun charged rose quartz crystals around, spraying rose water, or burning a rose scented oil. How to sage yourself If you are interested in smudging yourself, you can essentially follow the steps above, but the focus will be on your body instead of your space. Stand in the shape of a T with legs slightly spread. Then, keeping the sage stick at an arm's length distance away from you, work your way up from your feet. Repeat your intentions (either internally or aloud) as you go, envisioning the smoke is clearing you of any and all lingering negativity. How often should you smudge? There are no hard-and-fast rules when it comes to how often you should sage smudge yourself or your space. We are our best guides when it comes to identifying negative energy-so pay attention to your intuition. If you feel weighed down by stress or worry, it's usually a good indication that a cleansing is in order.

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