Got Sage?
     Sage and the ceremonial practice of Smudging is the common name given to a tradition that has been performed for thousands of years.  From the incense of Asia all the way up to the indigenous Americans, the smoke generated from burning Sage and other herbs have long been regarded as a sort of spiritual cleansing and a way to drive away negative influences and unhealthy energy.
     The smoke itself has long been deeply symbolic and it has been believed that the smoke actually ascends to the heavens bringing our intentions and prayers up to the gods.  With its long and beautiful history, it is important to remember that today as you are smudging your home, workplace, or even yourself, you are taking part in a very sacred and magical tradition.  I should also mention that if you are like me and love a good second hand shop or Estate Sale, it is always important to smudge the items you bring home since we have no idea what sort of energetic environment they were living in.  This is especially important to do with second hand mirrors!!  
While white sage has long been the go-to plant for smudging, there are now an almost unlimited amount of options as far as what you can choose to blend along with the sage or even burn on its own.  Each plant brings its own healing, cleansing or other properties as well as the amazing scent they leave behind.  When I initially learning about smudging and wasn't comfortable with it, I was only performing this beautiful ritual every once in a while.  Now, as I have incorporated many different variations of smudge sticks and blends, I find myself smudging a couple of times a day.  By simple allowing the smoke from the burning leaves to wash over me, there is an instant calming and clearing effect and within moments my mood is suddenly lifted and my environment immediately feels lighter and brighter.

There have been countless times when I've come home and felt weighted down by the energy of a cranky salesperson, a crazy-crowded store, or even when I have read Tarot for several people in one day and I want to be sure nothing has "stuck" to me energetically.... There really is no right or wrong time to smudge, just do so intuitively as you feel it is needed and be sure to do so in a well ventilated space with gratitude and good intentions.
The idea of smudging is that as the leaves are burned, you express your gratitude to the plant and in return, the smoke will release a spirit of protection and clear the space, person or object that needs the "cleaning."  As the sage is doing its job and clearing out the space it is carrying the negative energy back up to heavens where it can be transmuted into something beautiful and positive.
As you become comfortable with it, I believe you will find that smudging is a beautiful way to connect with Mother Nature and offer gratitude for all that she sacrifices for us.

For a wonderful Smudging Ritual and
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Shop for Sage and Sage Blends
White Sage:  (photo below) The most common sage used for smudging practices; drives away negative energies, raises the vibration of a person or space, energetically cleanse a space or person.  Science also tells us that the various forms of sage carry anti-bacterial properties as well.
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Desert Sage:  Also known as Desert Sage (photo below) Also used to remove negativity, a slightly richer and more soothing fragrance than White Sage, but not as pungent.
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Sage and Sweetgrass (photo below) Regarded as sacred and is also known as "holy grass" or "vanilla grass."  Its vanilla like scent combined with the sage is called on to drive out evil and misfortunes  and to replace them with positive, benevolent spirits instead. This particular blend is often only used after the main smudging is completed as a means to invite good energy or spirits into the ceremonial space.
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Sage and Cedar:  (photo below) Cedar is the medicine of protection.  This is a fabulous blend for cleansing a new home and attracting good energy to a space that has long been empty or stale.
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Sage and Lavender:  (photo below) Long known for its calming and peaceful properties, lavender is wonderful to burn for it's beautiful fragrance.  It is known to attract love, calm anxieties and inspire loving thoughts and energy.
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Sage and Copal:  (photo below) Copal is a natural tree sap from Mexico that is very similar to Frankincense.  It is a delicious almost citrus-like fragrance when .  The Copal combined with the white sage is burned as a way to raise the intuitive vibrations of a space and to drive out any lingering negative spirits.
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Mugwort, aka Black Sage: (photo below) Also known as the dream weed.  It is burned along with sage before bed as a way to invite restful sleep and pleasant dreams.  This is also a wonderful blend for those interested in Shamanic Journeying and divination.
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Sage and Pinon Pine:  (photo below) Pinon pine is an Evergreen tree from the foothills of the Southwest.  When burned it releases a woodsy scent and is an excellent all purpose variation of a plain white sage smudge as far as cleansing, healing and strengthening the energy of a space.  It is also excellent for keeping mosquitos at bay!
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Yerba Santa: (Holy Herb) (photo below) This plant was given its name by Spanish monks who said they were impressed with its wonderful healing properties.  It is most often burned as a means to honor our ancestors, spirit guides and bring about healing and protection.
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Red Sage, also known as Dragon's Blood: (photo below) The Dragon's blood name comes from the natural red resin found on many trees.  This particular variety offers a fresh woodsy and sometimes spicy scent when burned.  It adds to the energetic clearing process and some believe that it brings along a plethora of money and love blessings too.
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Palo Santo Sticks:  The Palo Santo tree is a mystical tree whos name in Spanish literally means, "holy wood."  It is a magical old tree that grows along the coast of South America and is a cousin of Frankincense, Myrrh and Copal.  Unlike Sage and the other plants listed above, Palo Santo is actually burned in stick form or even wood shavings as seen in the photo.  Its scent carries hints of it's citrus origins as well as a bit of pine and mint.  Palo Santa is a wonderful and uplifting scent that is known to enhance creativity and bring good fortune to those who are willing to receive it.  This wood is also fabulous for calming stress and anxieties as well as grounding the energy of a space and helping to prepare us for meditation.  It is a strong plant medicine that brings an overall sense of peace, happiness and wellness when burned.  When using your Palo Santo stick, simply light one end of your stick and allow it to burn for about 30 seconds, then blow it out.  As it continues to smoke, first using your hand or a feather, guide the smoke over your heart and then the rest of your body.  Then you may hold your stick over a ceramic bowl or seashell and move throughout your home or space allowing the smoke to waft with you and clear out the energy.
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