Sage in Spiritual Traditions & Modern Research
Sage is one of my favorite space clearing tools. The practice of burning sage (and sometimes other medicinal herbs like sweetgrass ) can be referred to as "smudging" and is a great way to calm the mind as well as clear & refresh your space.
Smudging comes from Native American healing traditions, but many world traditions incorporate the burning of sacred herbs into ceremony and daily life. For example, herbs & offerings to the fire are a mainstay of many Hindu ceremonies, Buddhist traditions often incorporate incense and traditional catholic mass makes use of frankincense.
Modern medical research has also confirmed that burning medicinal herbs has a purifying effect on the air, in one study, eliminating 94% of bacteria counts for up to 24 hours in an enclosed room.
Smudging has been growing in popularity and even got a feature in Oprah magazine, although in the mainstream, the focus is purely on the scientific and not this practice's spiritual and energetic roots.
The Energetic Level of Sage
On an energetic level, burning sage helps to clear your field of the kind of unhelpful energy that we can sometimes pick up from other people, environments, or charged situations.
Understanding how astral or unseen energy works, how it can benefit and cause us trouble was once only the secret domain of shamans and traditional healers.
As a spiritual guide and licensed acupuncturist, I find it is very useful to give people a practical understanding of this realm of reality, how it works, and how you can deal with any issues that can arise where unhelpful energy is concerned.
Graduates of my self mastery training, The Body Wisdom Academy (BWA), learn the ins and outs of how to keep themselves and their loved ones free of any unhelpful energy that could cause them trouble.
Here's an experience one graduate shared with me after visiting a war memorial:
" I felt that tightness in my chest and heaviness as we walked through. As we stood out and looked at the [ ] Memorial, I realized what was happening..... I started saying the clearing phrases and I immediately started to feel lighter. I must have said it 3-4 times until I felt “back to normal”.
Here are three ways to incorporate sage into your life for a more peaceful mind and environment.
1. Use Sage to Transition from Work to Home Life
It can be tough to be out in the hustle and bustle of the outside world all day, especially if you are a more energetically sensitive person.
Burning sage as a centering ritual after you arrive home will help you energetically and mentally transition into a restful time at home. This practice will also encourage you to leave work agendas behind you at work so you can focus on your own self care, your family life and relationships.
2. Sage for Anxiety & Depression
One thing that my patients are often surprised and relieved to understand is that taking on energy that is not our own is a fairly common contributor to feelings of anxiousness or depression. Now, there are many biological, nutritional as well as psycho-spiritual causes that affect our moods so I am not insinuating that unhelpful energy is the sole cause of anxiety or depression.
What I've found as a clinician over the past decade is that there are often subtle body issues at play with most cases of persistent anxiety and depression. One of these issues that can be remedied by smudging is that of unhelpful energy that one has often unknowingly "picked up."
If this is the case for you, you'll feel a deeper sense of calm or lightness after smudging, or a greater sense of ease or relief.
If you'd like to learn how to heal your anxiety from the inside our without decades of therapy, you can discover your particular "Anxiety Type" as well as the herbs & supplements that will work best for you in my "Healing Anxiety Naturally" Course which you can access on my classes & trainings page.
3. Sage for Better Sleep
Where as our ancestors were naturally winding down their day with the setting sun, our modern conveniences allow our busy minds to stay active and on our electronic devices well up to bedtime.
This busy pace often makes it hard to sleep, and when sleep patterns get off balance, everything get's worse.
Smudging as a part of your evening bedtime ritual can be helpful in clearing your mind and transitioning towards sleep.
Here's a routine to try for 7 days straight to see how your mind, mood and sleep improve:
7 Day Smudging Routine for Better Sleep
This routine will be particularly helpful for you if a "racing mind" and trouble turning off your thoughts is a particularly strong contributing factor in your sleep issues.
1. I recommend first ending whatever you have to do on your phone or devices then putting them in airplane mode so that you are reducing the amount of electromagnetic fields that are around you while you sleep at night.
2. Perform your personal care rituals like teeth brushing, face washing and put on your pj's so you're ready for bed.
3. In a quiet space, ideally your personal altar or meditation space, light the sage with a candle until there is a decent amount of smoke.
4. Use one hand to waft the smoke towards your body, moving the sage past the lower and upper parts of your body (the order and direction is not particularly important.)
5. As best you can, include the space behind your body with the sage smoke, being mindful of fire safety.
6. Imaging that all of the outside thoughts and events of the day are being carried away with the smoke. Set your intention that you are giving back anything that you've taken on that is not yours, and you are calling back any of your energy that you may have given away inappropriately.
7. Take three to five deep and easy breaths, and feel a sense of gratitude for yourself for taking this time for you.
8. Extinguish the sage either in some sand in an abalone shell (traditionally used) or in a small cup of dried rice, sand, or small beans to snuff out the flame.
9. Head to bed and enjoy a peaceful night's sleep!
I have an outrageous belief that anger is very rarely a "primary emotion."
What I mean is that when we are angry, there is generally something underneath that the anger is merely compensating for or trying to express.
This came up recently with a male client who was feeling hurt and caught off guard with his girlfriend's pattern of lashing out at him and criticizing small and large things that he did, seemingly out of the blue.
There are lots of things that can be hiding underneath as the real cause of anger, but let's examine a few common ones and some strategies for dealing with the situation when it arises.
FOR WHEN YOU ARE DEALING WITH AN ANGRY WOMAN:
What's normally happening underneath is that she is either scared or has a need that isn't being met.
When you can remember that certain energy or constitutional types of women (and men) tend to lash out when what's actually happening is that they're feeling scared. Knowing this can help to have more compassion for dealing with them in the moment.
Remember, it's never about what it's about.
So, if you can muster up the composure in the moment where you are the target of a woman's anger (which is not always possible), you can ask something like, "I'm wondering if there's anything else you're upset about underneath...." "What are you feeling on the inside?"
Note that this is most feasible in personal and intimate relationships and would need to be modified in other social or work situations.
This can be a helpful re-direct for allowing a woman to get back in touch with her more vulnerable emotional side and get closer to the real issue under the surface.
In my self-mastery training, the Body Wisdom Academy, we teach energetic grounding techniques you can use to diffuse and navigate conflict without even using verbal queues which can be helpful in those situations where you don't have the social permission to engage deeply with the other person (ie. work and in public).
FOR WHEN YOU ARE AN ANGRY WOMAN:
If you're a woman and are noticing that you are frequently angry, "congratulations!". Noticing this and recognizing you have control over your healing means you can find ways to feel differently.
Step One: Take responsibility that this is your anger. Others involved may be acting poorly but ultimately you are in charge of getting what you need.
One of the most powerful things a therapist ever said to me (while I was dealing with a very angry person in my life) was, "Leslie, angry people are in charge of getting their needs met."
Step Two: Know that if you are feeling angry, you are likely not communicating your needs frequently enough, clearly enough, or in a way that others can understand. (....even if you think you are.)
This step actually addresses a huge chunk of anger issues.
Developing communication skills that share your needs in a way that actually inspires other (especially men) to help you meet them is an art, and one that has been one of the biggest breakthroughs in my life personally.
In my teens and early 20's, I often felt secretly angry and indignant, feeling like the people in my life weren't as giving to me as I was to them. I felt justified in feeling angry because it seemed like they should be doing something differently.
I came to realize that the real problem was that I was actually not letting others know what I needed or wanted, so there was no way for them to reciprocate.
I now teach women how to become "man whisperers" and to get their needs met in friendships and family relationships by using energetic communication skills on the path to self-mastery.
Step Three: Get in touch with what you're actually feeling underneath. To transform our anger into it's healthiest expression and to increase our feeling of inner peace, we have to get to the deeper source rather than just managing it on the surface.
Obviously the beginning step is to stop yelling at and taking out our anger on the people around us, but if we stop there, we'll just be suppressing those feelings and causing problems elsewhere.
Finding ease with our difficult emotions, feeling a sense of calm, enjoying fulfilling, loving relationships and the ability to engage in healthy conflict require that we do deeper healing work to clear the more unconscious levels of our energetic system.
This means doing healing work to uncover things like our current view of our self-worth, familial patterns we may still be carrying from childhood, and energy we've taken on that doesn't even belong to us.
While this may sound like counseling or therapy, that's only the very beginning.
Therapy is important, but it often doesn't make a big dent in angry or frustrated reactions.
You may have noticed this if you've been in therapy for years; you understand WHY you feel a certain way, but that hasn't actually helped you to naturally FEEL differently when the trigger arises.
What's required to really dissolve the angry patterns from the inside out requires an understanding of how the energy, mind-body-spirit system actually works from the inside out (which ancient healing systems already understood) and to couple that with energetic communication that ensures your needs and messages are most likely to be met by others.
ANGER AND FRUSTRATION HAVE THEIR PLACE:
The true function of anger is an acknowledgement that some higher principle or order has gone out of balance. It's healthy to feel anger when we witness injustice. Anger is a sign that something needs to be re-balanced or corrected, like a righteous warrior serving a higher good.
If you're frequently feeling anger and getting stuck there, likely there are some aspects of your inner world that are asking for healing. Addressing these will certainly lead you to a happier, more peaceful and fun soul path in your life.
May you be happy and free!!
Ever felt like you need a cosmic do-over?
The truth, is that your body is helping you to do just that. Your cells are constantly changing and renewing.
You are LITERALLY not the same set of molecules you were even days and moments ago.
Check out this handy chart from bionumbers.org.
Often when we feel like it's impossible or super difficult to change, it's actually a combination of CHOICE , WILLINGNESS and ENERGETIC BLOCKS.
Sometimes, we just haven't really gotten to the point where we're willing to make a CHOICE to do things differently to get the results we want.
Sometimes we've made the CHOICE, but from there we need to be WILLING to CHOOSE and CHOOSE AGAIN, when we slip up or fall down.
And sometimes, we're doing our best, but have ENERGETIC BLOCKS, unconscious patterns that are sabotaging our progress.
THIS is the most frustrating and is my area of expertise.
When it comes to ENERGETIC BLOCKS, you need the help and reflection of others, and ideally, someone trained in how to 1) Uncover the blocks and most importantly
2) Help you dissolve them rather than just try and work around them (which doesn't generally work long term.)
So this New Year, I challenge you to set your sites on what you're truly wanting to experience in your life, and to lay out the choices you need to get there.
I'm here to support you and so is your biology!!
Leslie Huddart L.Ac.
Healer and Spiritual Guide for Women on a Healing Life Path
You are LITERALLY not the same set of molecules you were even days and moments ago.
Here's another article from The Daily Mail on your cells and organs renewing themselves.
Leslie Huddart L.Ac. is a Healer and Spiritual Guide with over two decades of experience in natural medicine, yoga and spiritual practice. Leslie helps women on a healing path achieve their Heart's Desires and the live the life they're called to.