The Sacredness of Sage
Terri J. Andrews
Herbs can be powerful medicine. Some herbal remedies, whether used in tincture, tea or capsule form, holds an incredible and potent medicinal quality. In addition, there are other plants that, when burnt, the smoldering smoke offers various remedies for many physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental imbalances - one such herb is SAGE.
Sage is held sacred by many Native American Indians, because of itís effective purifying energies. It heals by bringing the patient back into balance and cleanses the body and mind of negative spirits and impurities. It played an intricate part in ancient, as well as current ceremonies and was often included as an ingredient in a mixture called Kinnikinic, and then smoked in a pipe or used was used externally for smudging.
When smoked, it can be mixed with other plants such as white clover, bear berry leaves and mullein. This creates the Kinnikinic smoking mixture to be used in the sacred pipe. The smoke is then given as an offering to the Sprits. The pipe itself acts as the line to the Spirits and the smoke, as it rises, carries the messages. Those who share the pipe, and the smoke, share the same breath.
Sage is a traditional choice for burning and smudging for the Native Americans because of all of the herbs, it is one of the best for cleansing. Medicine People used this herb on people who were ill, to bring them back from the negative place where their body and soul laid. Today, sage is often used in smudging ceremonies for those who are seeking balance and pure thought, spirit and body. An updated smudging ceremony can be performed by nearly anyone who wishes to relieve their worries, open their mind, clear negative thoughts and feelings, harmonize the body and de-stress the spirit. It is often used when a person faces a personal difficulty, when negative luck has seemed to follow, prior to a major transition, within a new house, over a new baby or following a major emotional difficulty. In a sense, whenever a person feels "out of balance" or unlucky.
The following is a Smudging Technique that you can try. But remember - this is POWERFUL MEDICINE and you should be open and understanding of the entire experience.
What: Smudging is a ceremony that uses cleansing smoke to clear away negative energy and to attract positive ones.
Need: * A "bowl" - examples would be, a shell, a stone that has an indented round surface, a piece of pottery or a stone bowl or mortar
* The dried-leaf herbal mixture. If desired, you can also add in cedar (healing) , sweet grass (brings positive energy) and , juniper (for healing).
* A feather, if possible. If not, you can make a feather-like object from paper or material, or simply use your hand.
* Drumming or Native music, if desired.
1. Use your hands to roll the dried herbal leaves, crumbling them into your bowl.
2. Placed the rolled and mixed plants into the bowl.
3. Burn the leaves until they begin to smolder, giving off clouds of smoke.
4. Fan the smoke with a feather or with your hand to circulate it into the air. Starting with your heart and working your way up to the head, you will visualize the smoke entering your body and spirit, pulling out the impurities. Continue this procedure all the way down the body, and back up again.
5. All the while, pray for your spiritual deity to assist you on your life path and ask for good, positive energy and spirits to guide you.
6. Offer the smoke to the 7 directions - North, South, East, West, Father Sky, Mother Earth and the Great Spirit. Request their assistance on your journey and ask they will help to lead the negativity that is attached to your life - out of your life.
7. Continue cleansing anything that you may feel needs the purification. Your home, your family and friends, or even something that is causing you great pain such as a person (smudge their photo or a letter), finances (smudge the bills) or even an illness (smudge the medication).
8. Following the smudging, you should pray to your spiritual advisor and relax your body with soft stretching and then relax your mind with meditation or sleep.
Note: Some people like to incorporate their smudging ceremony into fasting plans, visions quests and mediation.
Other Medicinal Properties of Sage
As mentioned before, Sage is powerful medicine. Not only its smoke help to purify the mind and body, but the plant has some other equally amazing healing properties. For example, it is an antiseptic, a sore throat tonic and it works well for darkening gray hair. Below is a list of beneficial uses for this wonder herb that you should never be without!
Oil: It is said that sage oil and tonics may be helpful in the fight against alzhelmizers, improves brain functions and memory and aids in the circulation through the coronary arteries.
Leaf Tea: regulates menstrual cycle, reduces breast flow, natural deodorant, sore throat tonic (when gargled). antiseptic and astringent, healing of the scalp and hair, calms the nerves, great for the skin when bathing, aids in healing burns, nausea, flatulence, liver ailments, kidney stones, gallstones, mouth and gum lesions, antidepressant, and tonsillitis. When mixed with rosemary - it can darken graying hair.
Raw Sage Juice: warts, skin cancer, tumors.
From the past to the present, Sage has been a natural way to heal every aspect of man. Whether in the form of oil, teas, smoke or juiced, this medicinal marvel should be part of every herbal garden, sitting on the shelf of every pantry and located in every first aid kit. From flavoring to functional medicine, Sage is the king of all plants!