Sage is the most common and most important purifying herb used in Native American ceremonies. You will never see a Native American traditional ritual were burning sage is not one of the first things the medicine person or shaman will do. Sage is a very masculine plant. It is the strongest of the Native American purifying plants. Sage dispenses a strong earthy smell. The significance of its English name, sage, also means wise old man. Many sage varieties contain hormones. It is probably one of the reasons Native Americans consider it as a masculine species. In fact, herbalists will often use the garden variety (Salvia officinalis) as a tea to harmonize the hormonal balance in women. The smoke purification that it offers is so powerful that it sometimes causes respiratory discomfort in those who have lung diseases due to excess mucus. We often surround our sacred objects with sage before storing them so that they are constantly protected against any evil or negative influence.
Buffalo Sage (salvia apiana) also called white sage is much appreciated by First Nations. It burns well and gives an abundance of smoke whose virtues are very powerful. It’s the best smudge to purify people or homes. This sage is a very sturdy plant. It grows freely in the desert, is wild and pungent. Its leaves contain a good percentage of oils, which helps it to survive in the dry hot sand of the desert. These oils also offer excellent combustion when we burn it as incense. It grows wild in the American south-western deserts.
We also add another sage, artemisia tridentata, or in English, sagebrush, also called desert herb. Desert sage used as smudge, is a powerful purifier of negative energies. It eliminates heavy and evil influences. It’s easier to burn when combined with other herbs like white sage. It grows wild in the deserts of the American south west. This sage is extremely powerful and we use only a very small quantity. It acts to cleanse any unhealthy and evil influence which may have corrupted our spiritual energies. Our Spirit is so powerful. Most devils and demons were created by humans. It is often from within us that they gather their strength and their very existence. This sage is useful to chase away the thoughts-forms that gave birth to these tendencies in our psyche. It can help us to refine our thoughts, our words and our actions so that we avoid all disharmonies and inappropriate energies.
Mugwort (artemisia vulgaris), also called Black sage, Moxa, Wild Wormwood, is used by Native Americans to smudge in ritual ceremonies and was smoked instead of tobacco. Fresh mugwort is put in sleep pillows to improve sleep, help remember dreams and assist with lucid dreaming. It is known in North America, South America and Europe as a plant for divination and spiritual healing.
Prairie Sage, Artemisia ludoviciana grows wild on the Canadian prairies and in my garden. It’s the one I prefer above all others as it’s the natural wild sage native to where I was born. It’s the one I always use.
All these herbs are available in our online store. More info on smudging very soon.