Burning sage is one of the oldest methods of cleansing, used commonly by indigenous Americans, but a practice shared by other cultures, too.

The Latin term for sage is ‘Salvia’, which stems from the word ‘to heal.’ The process of smudging, in which sage is burned with the purpose of cleansing away negative energy, is a tradition that goes back thousands of years as part of the spirituality of indigenous Americans.

Our bodies, and the physical spaces we occupy, vibrate with invisible energy currents, or life force, that can be strongly affected by both physical and spiritual forces. Toxic products or foods, fighting, and stress, are all examples of forces that can lower our vibration and increase negative energies around us. Smudging allows us to cleans unwanted emotional and spiritual negative energy that gathers in our bodies and our physical spaces over time. Similar to the practice of yoga or meditation, the goal is to connect the physical plane with the spiritual in order to move the stagnant energy that’s built up and open up space for new, positive energy.

The most commonly used herb for smudging is sage. You can find smudge sticks of sage, and other additional herbs, at your local organic health store. The more pure the sage the better, so be weary of sage smudge sticks at box stores.

The process of smudging, or sage burning, can be as elaborate or as simple as you need it to be. With every practice that I teach, whether essential oils, journaling, meditating, or even smudging, I always stress the need for alignment. These practices are individualized for what each person needs, so developing a practice from what feels aligned with your intuition is critical.

Smudging Process

  1. Gather a ceramic bowl or plate, something heatproof.
  2. Place the bundle of sage into the bowl and light it, using a match or lighter, for just a few seconds.
  3. Extinguish the flames and let the smoke begin to rise.
  4. While the smoke is billowing, slowly walk around and take the smoke to each area you would like to cleanse, being careful not to breathe in the smoke directly. For example, when I quit my very toxic full-time, working from home job I smudged my home office heavily. If one of your kids are struggling emotionally, you might consider saging their room. High-traffic areas and entryways are also good places to sage, too.
  5. Use your intuition, you’ll know where to cleanse.
  6. You’ll want this process to move slowly, but not too long. You don’t want to saturate your house with the smoke.
  7. Say a prayer or affirmation as you are smudging. I always use affirmations of what I want to bring in such as joy, confidence, abundance, etc. Again, use your intuition here but the key is to always focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want. For example, you would want to say, “I welcome in wealth and abundance.” rather than “I don’t want anymore debt.”
  8. After saging, burn something sweet, like sweetgrass or incense. The process of smudging is a masculine process, bringing in feminine energy will help keep the balance. 
You can sage as often as weekly or however you see fit. The key is to always follow your intuition. If things feel off, it’s time to sage. If things feel heavy or negative, it’s time to sage. I choose to sage with each moon cycle, starting with each new moon, setting new intentions, releasing the old, negative energy, and welcoming in new.


I do want to make one note. When I share these practices, I share from a place of healing, from my own journey and experiences. I’m a firm believer that each person has their own divine journey, no one being more superior to the other. With that being said, when we talk about practices like smudging sage it begins to cross into an area where religion and spirituality meet. I always reach out to my friends with varying practices to gather their opinions; it’s part of my curious, forever learning self to do so. One of the best remarks I was given was that cleansing a home with sage was no different than asking a priest to come bless your house, or speaking of the holy spirit with your prayer group. I ask that any negative comments regarding personal religion or spiritual preferences in regards to smudging be refrained…the key word here is negative. I’d hate to have to smudge your comment away.

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Hi, I’m Jennifer!

Hi, I’m Jennifer and I’m on a mission to empower high-achieving women release the overwhelm in order to create a more balanced lifestyle. After spending 20 years pushing my way up the corporate ladder, I realized that I was chasing a mirage. What I thought would bring me satisfaction in life, the career, the title, the salary, the degrees, the recognition, was slowly killing me. I realized I wasn’t living in alignment with how I truly wanted to feel and it was throwing my entire life off balance.


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