Saging a house is also called “smudging,” and it’s the practice of burning herbs (traditionally white sage) to cast out negative energy and clear the room. Many pagan communities smudge a home to bless the house and invite good energy into the home.
While burning herbs to eliminate negative energies and entities is almost universal, sage burning is primarily linked to Native American cultures. In the US, this practice was first popularized by native shamans.
Since then, this practice has become widespread among spiritual circles of all types.
Cultural Note: Many people believe that sage burning, particularly white sage, is being done as an act of cultural appropriation. Natives have asked that people not purchase white sage or use it flippantly. Take this note as you may.
Saging is done for several main reasons, though your particular reason may be a bit different. Everyone who does it seems to have their own reasons or beliefs about its outcome. The most common things sage has been claimed to do include:
- It can clear out stagnant or negative energy in corners of your home. This is why people sage a new home once they move in. They don’t want to inherit the baggage that comes with an old house.
- It’s also said to banish negative entities and ghosts. If you feel like your home is haunted, then this could help remove whatever is going bump in the night.
- Many also believe it welcomes in new positive energy. If you’ve been feeling down in the dumps, saging your home may be a good way to elevate the overall mood of your home.
- It smells nice, kind of like a pizza place. Okay, maybe that’s just my take on it.
Now that you know the why’s, let’s talk about the process of saging a home.
- Purchase the Tools and Ingredients
- Get in the Right Mindset
- Light the Sage
- Start Wafting the Smoke Through the Home
- Tell Any Bad Energies to Leave
- Open a Window
- Close the Window and Put Out the Sage
- Light a Candle
- Recite a Prayer or Hymn
1. Purchase the Tools and Ingredients
The first step to saving your home is getting the right supplies on hand. Besides sage, you'll also need a few other tools. Here's what you'll need:
- A smudge stick or a bundle of sage
- A bowl of sand
- A feather or fan to blow the smoke around
- A bowl or shell to catch the ashes of the burning sage
- A lighter
- A scented candle
2. Get in the Right Mindset
Saging your home is most effective when you're in the right mindset, so you'll need to prepare yourself. Think positive thoughts. Do a little meditation if you feel like it. You must be in a good state of mind for the sage to work well.
3. Light the Sage
The next step in smudging a home is to light the sage. To properly light a smudge bundle or a sage stick, you need to use the lighter to spark a flame at a 45-degree angle. Let it burn for 15 to 30 seconds, then blow it out.
4. Start Wafting the Smoke Through the Home
Place the sage on the shell or bowl, and use the feather to waft the smoke throughout your house. Many people suggest paying special attention to doorways and mirrors. While you’re wafting, ask all the negative energy in your home to clear out of your home.
5. Tell Any Bad Energies to Leave
As you sage the home, you'll want to expel any bad energies. If you feel some kind of spiritual resistance, get firm and tell the bad vibes to leave. Don’t be nice to not-nice energies!
6. Open a Window
Open a window to give the energy a way to leave. This also will help prevent your home from being too smoked up. Some suggest lining the windowsill with salt to prevent bad energy from returning.
7. Close the Window and Put Out the Sage
After you've finished wafting the sage smoke through the home, you'll need to close the window and put out the sage. You can use the bowl of sand to put the sage out. We strongly encourage you to keep the bowl covered so that it remains airtight. It can be a fire hazard otherwise.
8. Light a Candle
Light a candle that smells nice as a way to invite good energy in. You can choose the scent of your candle.
9. Recite a Prayer or Hymn
If it’s in your faith, you may also want to recite a prayer or sing a favorite hymn. If you feel like you need extra blessings, nothing stops you from adding your spiritual twist to things.
White sage may be the most common due to its easy burning, but blue sage is also said to have cleansing powers. Many pagans also will smudge a house with bundles of lemongrass, lavender, palo santo, or calendula flowers.
If you aren’t sure what to use, ask a spirituality coach or go to your local spiritual store to find what kind of “sage bundles” they have in stock. A good sales rep will help you find the right one for your needs.
Many people add other herbs to help give the sage a specific intention, such as roses for love or thyme for money. If you want to jazz it up, definitely give it a shot. With that said, most people will do fine with sage alone.
Author’s Safety Tip: It’s always great to find a flower to add to your sage bundle. However, there is a risk of burning a poisonous plant if you are not careful. We strongly encourage all sage newbies to read up on plants to find out if they’re toxic prior to burning anything.
When it comes to spiritual practices, nothing is necessary per se. However, we’d be lying if we didn’t point out that people find it to be cleansing. It’s a popular practice for people who have eclectic beliefs, and many people swear by it.