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To sage or not to sage...

Quite often when someone asks about smudging the immediate suggestion is to use white sage. Now I don't have a problem with that, it is a very good herb to use for smudging and if that is what you prefer to use who am I to judge?...however... I don't personally use it.

White sage

The reason being that white sage is not native to the UK and doesn't generally grow very well here (don't think it likes our climate) so to procure white sage I would need to order online or find a shop that sells it knowing that the product had been shipped halfway across the world and then pay a fair whack of money for it...which doesn't make any sense to me.

In the UK we have any number of other varities of sage that grow here, I have common green sage and variegated sage in my own garden (my dad also grows a very pretty purple variety) and it works extremely well as a smudge.

No sage?

In fact you don't have to use sage at all...*gasp*

I like to make smudge sticks with garden sage, mint, lavender and rosemary (all from my garden) and it not only smells lovely it works for cleansing and purifying just as well as white sage. I was at a workshop last month where mugwort was used to smudge and not only did it work brilliantly it grows like a loony in the UK.

Other options

I am a great believer in working with your intuition and whatever you have to hand. So if you want to smudge your home and only have jasmine incense sticks ... use them. If you don't have any sage but you have a truck load of thyme then use that.

I don't believe that magical ingredients should cost the earth, I don't believe that you need to purchase rare and expensive items from exotic places and I also believe that those grown native to your area/country give a little bit of added energy as they are more personal to you.

And yes I even believe that herbs purchased from the supermarket will work just as well.

Take a look in your herb and spice cupboard...I bet you have all sorts of ingredients that would work really well in an incense blend. Cloves, star anise, cinnamon sticks and cardamon all work really well in cleansing and purifying incense. Chuck them on a piece of charcoal and away you go.

Nothing fancy

You don't have to buy or make fancy smudge sticks (although they are really easy to make), you don't have to spend time crushing herbs and spices by hand in a mortar and pestle to make loose incense (although again it is easy and fun, just takes a little time) you really can just use ready made incense sticks or cones.

At the end of the day it is the smoke that you need to be able to waft it into the corners and more importantly it is your own intent that does the real hard work.

If your cupboards and garden are bare and you have no spices or herbs in the house then sprinkle some salted water in the corners and on the window sills instead (just a little you don't want to flood the house).

And if you don't even have any salt walk around your home and visualise a white cleansing and purifying light clearing out any negative energy.

Keep it simple, keep it cost effective and keep it in tune with your own intuition.

Originally posted on Beneath the Moon blog, Patheos Pagan 19.1.16


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