We’ve all heard that sage can clear a house of ghosts, poltergeists and negative energy. But how can a simple herb do so much? In Latin, “salvare” means to heal and salvia – the species name for sage – is a direct divination. Sage heals. Throughout history, sage has been used in ceremonies for medicinal purposes. Sage is found in the Russian steppes and throughout Western North America. It’s incredibly adaptable and can survive temperature extremes and periods of drought. Sage has been used to cure night sweats, hot flashes, and headaches. The Navajo, in addition to using Sage in ceremonies, used it to cure headaches and fever. They made infusions of the leaves to cure intestinal worms in their sheep and goats. They applied hot poultices on the leaves to relieve migraines. The “49ers” made sage poultices to help heal gunshot wounds.

It is placed in medicine bags to protect sacred items. Before entering a sweat lodge, sage is used to purify the body. During the sacred Sun Dance, dancers wear sage wristlets and anklets for protection and purification.

Recent scientific studies have proven that sage acts like an air purifier, killing up to 94% of the bacteria in a room. A scientific paper published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology wrote, “We have demonstrated that using medicinal smoke it is possible to completely eliminate diverse plant and human pathogenic bacteria of the air within confined space.” The study showed that the pathogens were still undetectable a month later. Burning sage releases negative ions which has been shown to uplift moods.

You can use sage in your own life to enhance your energy, cleanse your space and invite protection.

Every person, rock, plant, animal and home has an auric field which can attract and capture negativity. If this energy is not cleansed, it can create illness and depression. Our aura extends around our physical body and is constantly receiving information. When we are around negative, angry people or in homes and stores that have witnessed arguing, yelling and sadness, our aura can absorb this energy like a sponge. Just as we need to clean our body once a day, we also need to clean our energetic body. Smudging yourself with sage allows you to do this quickly and efficiently.

You can find smudge sticks and loose sage on line or in metaphysical stores. They are inexpensive and easy to use. You want to look for “White Sage” sold loosely or in a bundle. You don’t want to use kitchen sage which is used for cooking.

To begin smudging yourself, light the smudge stick and usher the smoke around your body. Start at your head and brush down and away, constantly flicking and motioning the negative energy to the floor. Called aura brushing, you can simply motion the smoke down around your head, arms, chest and legs. Ask a friend to help you smudge your back – again being mindful to brush the smoke down to the ground where mother earth can absorb and heal the energy.

Alternately, you can place the sage in a burn proof bowl and allow the smoke to grow heavy and thick. Stand over the bowl and perform the aura brushing technique described above. Turn around in a clockwise direction to ensure the smoke encompasses all parts of your energy.

To smudge someone else, you will need to find where their aura begins. Some people have large auras – they project and push their energy out while others have very small auras, preferring to remain hidden and keep their energy tucked in. The average person’s aura extends about six inches from their physical body. To determine the boundary of someone’s aura, rub your hands together to awaken and activate your hand chakras. Position your hands about two feet away from their body, palms facing out. When you touch their aura, you will feel either a temperature change or an invisible barrier pushing against your palms. Sometimes you might feel a pressure or stickiness. Other times, you’ll feel a heaviness. Either way, the air will feel different when you hit the auric boundary.

Now, light your smudge stick and fan the smoke around the person’s auric border moving in a clockwise direction. Begin at their head and moving clockwise motion the smoke down and around their body. Ask them to turn around and do the same thing to their back and sides. Then begin to spiral inward, closer and closer toward the person’s physical body as the energy feels cleaner and lighter. Once the aura feels cleared, focus on the chakras. Starting at the root chakra, motion the sage smoke toward this energy center, standing at least a foot away from the person, move up to each chakra finishing at the crown chakra.

When these steps are completed, take a large feather (most metaphysical stores sell turkey feathers but any feather will do) and use the feather to move smoke down the body.

Then, beginning at the feet, motion the feather up and around your body. This will fluff up and air out your aura ensuring that your energy is completely cleansed.