How to “Sage” Your Home

July 24, 2017

An herbalist shares secrets on the space-cleansing ritual.

Photography by Carolina Mariana

Alongside millennial pink and ruffled clothing, sage is all the rage. Beyond its ability to bring earthy, musky flavor to food, the herb serves as a spiritual detoxifier when burned. The smoke from dried sage actually changes the composition of the air, in turn reducing our stress response. So what’s the best way and time to burn it? We asked herbalist Giselle Wasfie of Remix Apothecary to share how to sage (also known as smudge) your home, store your sage, as well as why it works—on yourself, your living space, and even your phone.


Photography by Carolina Mariana

1. Sage is a potent plant, and burning it is a powerful ritual.
Burning sage (aka, “smudging” or “sage-ing”) is a ritual used to “cleanse” a space or environment from negative energy, generate wisdom and clarity, and promote healing. Intention is everything with this ritual, so before you light up, ask yourself what you’re trying to purify, and/or heal from or release—inside you or in your space.

2. Burning sage has roots in Native American tradition.
Many cultures follow burning practices: Catholics burn frankincense in their churches, Asian cultures burn incense, and native Amazonians burn Palo Santo. The word “sage” in Latin (salvia) translates “to heal” and it’s also a word we use in our American cultural to describe a wise person. In Chinese medicine, we use the Salvia root (known as “Dan Shen” in pinyin) to cool people off, soothe irritability, and calm the spirit.

3. Sage variety matters less.
White sage is preferable but any sage wand (sage wrapped by twine in a bundle to make a stick) will do. It’s really about intention. You can order them online, or a buy sage at a crystal shop. Even Whole Foods carries them now!

4. The best time to smudge…is whenever you feel like your intuition is telling you to.
Opportune times to smudge are when you first move into a new home or office. “At my clinic, I do it between patients. But instead of using smoke in the office, I specifically created the REMIX Clear Aromatherapy Spray for cleansing negative energy,” Giselle says. Made with sage, rose, and eucalyptus, it has a similar effect of purifying a space for the next patient. She also also smudges after having people over to her apartment or after a family gathering in her home. Another good time to smudge is on a Full moon to cleanse and purify. Giselle even sages her computer and iPhone. “They definitely need it!”

Photography by Carolina Mariana

5. The best way to sage:
Light one end of the wand, carefully allowing the flame to go out and ignite the dried leaves into a smolder, then let the smoke billow up. You can blow on the end to release more smoke and fan the smolder, but keep your face far away (at least two feet), because it’s typical for little sparks of ash to break off, and you don’t want them flying in your face. Start to waft around your space and through your different rooms, with your intention in mind. Pay special attention to wafting in corners and mirrors, and high traffic areas like hallways and doorways. Also, pay extra attention to windows. You can get expressive here with your waving, but always remain conscious of the fact that you’re holding a burning object. Also, keep an eye out for those fallen ashes and put them out immediately.

6. Store your sage safely.
After clearing and cleansing, extinguish sage by gently pressing it into a clay dish, glass bowl or ashtray or by allowing it to burn out. Then, open any windows to let all of that stuck energy out.

7. Follow it up with incense.
Now that you’ve created a new, pure space, burn your favorite incense to bring in positive energy. The idea is that whenever you clear something, replace it with a positive thought or intention. “Plus, your neighbors are sure to think you’re interesting!” she says.

Photography by Carolina Mariana

CATEGORIES: house party

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