Whenever I burn sage (aka smudging) at my yoga studio before a session, I've heard comments like: "It smells like weed in here!" Or, "What smells like barbecue?" And then there's my all time favorite, "It smells like my grandmother's cemetery."
Sure, dried white ceremonial sage has a distinctly beautiful scent when burned. And if you're new to this practice, just try to be open minded about it. You can take a moment of meditation to notice if the smell evokes a sense memory for you. Where does that resonate in your body? Examine whether you feel a spiritual connection, or an earthy, ancestral stirring within your blood.
This is the smell of thousands of years of spiritual communion and ritual.
Smudging your sacred space, your home or office, or even your body with sage is like taking an energetic shower, or doing a deep metaphysical cleansing. The smoke from dried sage actually changes the ionic composition of the air, and can have a direct effect on reducing our stress response.
Smudging is ritual alchemy — changing and shifting the air element, and transforming our current experience to a mystical one.
The use of incense and other smoke and vapor to connect humans to the spirit world, can be easily traced throughout the East in parts of Asia and even dating as far back to Ancient Greece.
The use of dried white sage however, is a 2,000 year old Indigenous American practice. The shamans used dried sage plants on their fires as a ritual of calling upon ancestral spirits. Any conflict, anger, illness or evil was absorbed by the sage smoke to be released or cleansed from the energy field of a person.
Next, sweet grass would be burned to call forth the energy of peace and love. This ancient shamanic mystical ritual is a simple one to incorporate into your daily or weekly routine, or any time you feel like you might need a little aura polishing. You can never really smudge too much!
Some ideal (or necessary) times to sage smudge your aura and/or space would be: