Cultures all over the world have been burning sacred plants for centuries. The practice and tradition is a part of a sacred ceremony. For many, it is a purification ritual where negative energies are carried to the heavens. Some also believe that the smoke conveys our prayers to the gods. Native Americans consider sage to be a powerful plant, and the smoke from smudging disperses negative energy, thoughts, and worries. In Africa, Imphepho (African Sage) was used to induce trans states, to clear the energy, and as an offering when praying.
When a sacred plant is burned as part of a practice or ritual, one connects with the spirit of that plant. The smoke that emits from burning sage connects the physical realm with the spiritual realm. It opens up and connects you to spiritual energies. It is a sacred spiritual practice believed to remove negative energies and invite in harmony. Traditionally the herbs or plants were burned either by casting them directly into a fire or by placing them in a bowl and burning them. Today these plants are gathered into bundles or 'sticks' that can be lit and used during sacred practices or ceremonies.
Burning sage, or smudging, can deepen your connection to the universe. It creates an atmosphere of calm serenity where you can explore realms of more profound spirituality. This sacred practice deserves dedicated focus and intention. Because it banishes negative energies and instills calm, burning sage can be used to clear a space before meditation. This should always be done with the deepest respect and purest intention to honor this ancient tradition and the spirits of the plant.
When using sage for meditation, first set an intention and invite the spirits in. Ask that they bless the space, yourself, and everyone gathered: request that they purify the space and persons and invite in calm and harmony. You can then light the sage bundle until it emits a gentle smoke. Blow out any flames so that the tips of the leaves or stems smolder. Slowly and with intention, move the sage bundle over your body (front and back) while fanning the smoke towards you. You can spend more time and focus on areas where you feel blocked. Stay present and hold your intention of removing negativity and inviting in harmony.
Once you have cleansed yourself and the other people in the space, you can go around clearing and cleansing the space in a similar fashion. All the while, keep your focus. Keep your intention. Hold the sacred space. A shell or bowl made from natural material can be used to catch the ashes. You can leave your sage to burn while meditating; just remember to keep it in a safe place. When you are done, you can extinguish the embers by gently pressing them against the side of the bowl or placing them under running water. Scatter the ashes to the earth and thank the plant spirits. Using sage when you meditate helps you to enter the meditation with a calm and serene energy and mind. It also allows you to enter into a more profound connection with the spiritual world while you are meditating.