How To Cleanse Your Home

Over the holidays I was given a gift from Kim Krans from The Wild Unknown. As soon as I opened the box the smell refreshed the air around me. Inside was a bundle of wild harvested black sage, Mexican sage, juniper, lavender, lemon verbena, jasmine, lupine, cedar, breath of heaven, and roses. Hanging delicately from a tie dyed ribbon was this quote:

“Strike another match, start anew”

~ Bob Dylan

I went home that evening from work which just so happened to be the 2nd day into the new year and did just that… I lit a match and burned the sage and wished for a new and healthy year. The poignant smell of the sage filled the air and it instantly felt cleansed. Sage has a lot of medical and healing properties and has been used since the ancient times to dispel negative energy, however one thing is highly important before you begin burning the sage to cleanse your home… you must have a clear mind.

sage burning

I have never burnt sage before but now I have become a huge fan. Try it, start a new year by cleansing your thoughts and space with sage.

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  1. sorry, but this is totally disrespectful to native american culture….i normally dig your posts, freepeople…but this is not cool.

  2. weshoyot, can you explain why you find this offensive? I don’t believe anyone was trying to be disrespectful, but since it bothers you, you should at least explain why.

  3. weshoyot-I am sincerely curious too. I read that it comes from Native American culture and it is not disrespectful…

  4. On a similar note, my Romanian friend told me the word ‘gypsy’ is offensive to his culture. It is one we use a lot here..

  5. I think some people may find it disrespectful for just anyone to “smudge” since most times Native American peoples use this act as a key part of traditional ceremony. In some nations, many people agree that only certain people, namely elders, have the right to conduct this act during ceremony and that if you have been asked to participate as a helper to elders it is a great honour and isn’t something we take lightly. Myself, I believe everyone can smudge if you have been taught the significance by an elder, or spiritual guide, it is a great way to start the day. However like I mentioned each nation has different protocol for how, when and why we smudge and the same for the four medicines (cedar, sage, tobacco, and sweetgrass) I would suggest if you would like to know more, get in touch with Native people/ nations around you to find out more about how and why to smudge for cleansing. Most places have friendship centres where they will offer this knowledge time to time for non-Native peoples.. I am Ojibway , and this is what I was taught. Hope that helps. In solidarity! Chi miigwetch. :)

  6. this is so interesting — my boyfriend and I always joke about “burning sage” to clear out bad vibes from one place or another, but I’ve never actually tried it. Sounds divine — I can almost smell the lemon, jasmine, lavender and other spices from your description and photos. Definitely something I will have to finally try!

  7. I love medicinal plants and find super interesting the purpose of each one of them.
    sage is used to ‘clean’ the energy, leaving good positive vibes when you burn it.
    palo santo is very much used in Colombia and South America and the smell is like being in heaven :) this one is used to increase positiveness, good feeling and good toughts.
    copal is used a lot here in Mexico, this one is to level the energy, not having either to much positive or negative vibes.

    Enjoy your gift Jemma, plants are for all humans and we are blessed to have them and use them for positive purposes :)


  8. Lindsey, I’m not native american, I’m Portuguese and as in many countries in Europe we burn sage to clean our homes, it’s not exclusive of the Native American, it’s an ancestral way of cleaning the air in your house, to clear a space and it’s not only allowed to certain people here, it’s something anyone can do (but usually the women in th family), a tradition that has centuries here. I understand your point of view and that everyone has to be respectfull with traditional ceremonies and what they mean, but sometimes the human heritage is more universal than we think! oh, but I do have to say that I too believe that evrything has to be done with consciousness and not as a shallow buy and use act, it’s magic and nature we are talking about, right?

  9. I absolutely agree with Lindsey, but I also think that herbs aren’t only allowed to be used by one group of people. We are all connected to the Earth, and if we walk peacefully with purpose, intent, and respect, then there is no reason to feel guilty about burning any herb. It crosses a line when you falsely advertise that you are one of the First People, or mock sacred rituals, or disrespect native culture in any way. I would not wear a headdress or attend a seminar on “shamanism” because I find it disrespectful. I do, however, burn sage to cleanse my house from negativity and use local plants in rituals. I do not claim to be of First People descent, nor do I claim to have any authority on their spiritual practices.
    Indigenous traditions develop in relation to local flora and fauna, geology and weather. Even though I am of European ancestry I find that it makes more sense to adapt my personal spirituality to my environment. This includes using sage, mint, cedar etc, and learning from local animals such as hawk, coyote, chipmunk, etc. This is where I live and these are the spirits around me. There will obviously be overlap with native beliefs because well, the First People were here first.
    While cultural appropriation needs to brought to the attention of people who may be naive/ignorant and don’t think about what they do I think it’s organic and natural to use local/American plants for cleansing rituals. This has been done all over the world, in so many cultures, for thousands of years. It is part of our shared knowledge as humans.
    Just please don’t wear a headdress unless you have a legitimate reason.
    My two cents, whatever it’s worth.

  10. What a fantastic gift! I smudge pretty often, too. Usually on new moons. You can cleanse your aura with it, as well. 0:)

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