Admittedly, I had no idea what the purpose of sage was when I bought it from a bookshop in Franklin Village years ago. I’d only done so because owning a bundle made me feel somehow cool and superior to my city friends who, like the sage, seemed wound up just as tight.
Despite my few attempts to try and work with it though, it never really caught on - literally. After all my lighters failed to ignite a flame long enough to generate any kind of smoke, I eventually lost interest and from that moment on it lived on a shelf, cast aside and seemingly untouched if not for the slightly singed tip that gave away all my failed attempts.
I wasn’t sure what kept me from giving up on the bundle entirely, but for some reason I never could bring myself to throw it away. Instead, I packed and unpacked it at every new residence I took up over the course of a decade; unraveling it from the butcher paper it had been wrapped in and careful not to disturb the twine that held it all together.
Then came my move to Joshua Tree a couple years back when all of that changed. Over time, the twine had frayed enough to finally separate itself from the bundle, leaving behind an impression on the leaves that kept them in place despite its absence. But, after a year of sitting on another open shelf, exposed to the dry, desert climate, the sage slowly began to dislodge itself piece by piece.
While doing a routine dusting one day, I picked up one of the fallen leaves and began rolling it back and fourth in my fingertips. I wondered if perhaps the desert air had rubbed off on me enough to make my attempts more successful if I were to give things another try? With my curiosity & interest piqued, I took a lighter to the top of the piece of sage I was holding and watched it catch fire. To my delight it held the flame, eventually extinguishing itself and yielding to a plume of smoke that steadily danced its way toward the ceiling.
The first step of knowing how to work with sage is knowing how to properly light it, and by attempting to burn the entire bundle all those years ago, I’d snuffed out any opportunity I’d had long before I’d ever had it. While it’s easy to feel embarrassed by such a novice mistake, I was more focused on the significance of timing when it came this seemingly coincidental revelation.
By this point, our home had been operating as an Airbnb for a little over two years and we’d begun to notice an influx of negative experiences and encounters with some of our guests. I wondered if by following in the footprints of Native Americans and other indigenous peoples who have long used sage to cleanse the spirit, mind, body, and space to promote healing and wisdom, we might generate better energy and thus, better experiences?
So, I decided to give it a try by incorporating a sage cleanse into our turnover services. After every guest checked out we’d open all the windows, light up some sage, and walk from room to room, wafting the smoke around to clear out the old energies and make space for the new. And, wouldn't you know it? We noticed a tremendous difference. Our next few guests seemed more respectful, responsible, communicative and grateful. But, it wasn't until we went out of town for a couple weeks that we became die hards.
In our absence, we were unable to perform our sage cleanses when turn overs were taking place and, once again, things began to turn up broken, neglected, and/or a wreck. That was all it took for us to believe sage cleanses were just as much of a necessity as disinfecting the toilets.
Things didn’t stop with our rental either. The sage slowly found its way into Kevin and my “spa nights” taking it with us into our steam shower and using bundles to reset our own energy whenever we felt it disturbed or disrupted. Every single time we did, circumstances improved, sometimes almost immediately, manifesting good news & even times good fortune. And the more often it happened, the more eager we became to share our experience with friends and family, especially when they expressed discontentment or discourse of their own. We swore by the ritual, suggested, they give it a try, and even resorting to stuffing some bundles in people's stockings at Christmas time.
For me, sage has gone from a piece of forgotten decor to a necessity as vital to me as soap. It was something I didn’t truly understand at the time I bought it, but for some reason I just felt I needed to, even if it was a tad premature. The truth is sage can be used anytime, anywhere, for any reason, and I can think of no better time to start a spiritual cleansing than now, in the wake of holiday season, when stress often runs high and postpartum can set in after all the activity has passed; at the beginning of a new year when we look eagerly toward the future and with it all the hope it brings; at the start of a new chapter when intentions for life & achievement are set; as we embark on new endeavors and open ourselves up to the possibilities they may bring; and at the start of each new day that continues to give us a world of opportunity.
Below are some suggestions for how to use your sage most effectively.
WHILE CLEANSING A SPACE
Light a single piece of sage. When it starts to smoke, begin walking through the space and wafting the leaf around so the smoke can spread around the area. As you do so, recite the following:
We thank this space for the safety, comfort, and stability it has continued to provide and ask this sage to eradicate any and all negative energies that may be lingering. We ask it to clear out energies like that of comparativeness, envy, jealousy, resentment, entitlement, disrespect, and animosity, that hold us back and stifle our growth, to make way for new, more positive energies can flourish and thrive. Energies that stimulate love, happiness, joy, kindness, humility, and gratitute, we graciously invite them in for our nourishment, growth, and prosperity. We ask that this space serve as a place for human connections to form, memories to be made, mutual respect to be exchanged, inspiration to occur, and safety to be felt. We thank this space for continuing to provide us with all the insight and opportunities it has, and for all that is still yet to come, and we thank this sage for the work it does on our behalf.
WHILE CLEANSING YOURSELF
Light a single piece of sage. When it starts to smoke, begin moving the leaf around your body, starting at your feet and working your way up to your head, in a circular motion, so that the smoke wraps itself around your body. As you do so, recite the following:
I thank my anxieties for making me aware that my focus has shifted and that I am not centered. I am grateful for them giving me the opportunity to realign myself and be grounded once more by performing this cleanse. I ask this sage to clear out any discontentment I may feel and pass through me so I am able to make space for more positive energy to flourish and thrive, both within and around me. Energy that stimulates my mind, body, and soul; that authentically connects me to myself and others; that makes me more open to the world & understanding my purpose within it.
I am grateful for the lessons I continue to learn that help with my growth and evolution, and the connections I make that allow me to feel seen, valued, important, and loved. I am grateful for the constant beauty my journeys in life bring and intend on focusing on how they do so instead of the ways I feel short changed or slighted. I look forward to letting go of energy that makes me feel stifled, incomplete, insecure, unsafe, and disconnected, so that I may instead hold space for all that makes me feel whole, healthy, happy, and fulfilled. I thank this sage for the insight and opportunity it brings, and for the work it does on my behalf.
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