Desert Sage - This plant will drive out negative energies, spirits and influences. Use this as a smudge to purify people and places before any sacred ceremony. There are many varieties of sage, and most have been used in smudging.
White Sage - This sage is used just like desert sage, but many people prefer White Sage because of the sweeter aroma it gives off.
Cedar - This plant can also be used to purify, especially for negative emotions. Cedar needles are used in a similar way to cleanse and bring balance to the emotions and to the male/female (yin/yang) elements. To clear one’s actions and to promote forgiveness, lavender flowers can be added to the mixture to bring the quality of spiritual blessing.
Sweetgrass - This is one of the most sacred herbs used for smudging. This herb is used to bring in positive energy after negative energies are banished by using sage. Sweetgrass is a tall wild grass with a reddish bas and perfume-like, musty odor. We were taught that it was good to burn sweetgrass after the sage or cedar had driven out the bad influences. Sweetgrass brings in the good spirits and the good influences. As with cedar, burning sweetgrass while praying sends prayers up to the Creator in the smoke.
Lavender - This herb will restore balance and create a peaceful atmosphere. It will also draws loving energy and spirits.
Mugwort - This herb can used to stimulate psychic awareness and prophetic dreams. The Lakota also believe that when Mugwort is burned it “makes the bad spirits sick”, and they move away from it.
Copal - This resin was used by the Mayans as a food for the Gods. They believe that as the smoke of the Copal would rise, it would carry their prayers to the ears of the Gods. Copal is used in divination and in purification ceremonies. Copal is the Frankincense of the Western Hemisphere.
Juniper - This herb is also used to purify and to create a safe and sacred space. Juniper was often carried in a medicine pouch or a pocket for protection.
Yerba Santa - This herb can be used to purify and to set and protect boundaries. The name of this plant reflects its nature: “Yerba Santa” means sacred herb.
Osha - The root of this plant can be burned as an incense or carried for good luck and protection from bad influences. Osha is also a preferred gift for Native American elders.
The magical scent of incense can lift our spirits and transform the energetic vibrations of a room. Since ancient times incense has been used in rituals and religious practices. Whether to appease the gods or enhance magic spells, it has remained a powerful tool for spiritual use. In addition to exploring practices using incense, you will also learn about some ways its use can enhance your life.
Incense and Its Powers
The burning of incense often accompanies prayers, invocations and spells. As the smoke rises up to the heavens it often represents the requests reaching their destination and approval by a divine entity. Incense is also believed to have properties that dispel negative energy. Burning sage or “smudging” to purify and clear a room is one example. The smell of incense can also bring about heightened sensual awareness and consciousness for the user.
Incense and Religion
Incense has long been associated with religious practice. It is believed that its use began in Ancient Egypt, eventually spreading to the rest of the world. Today incense is used in many religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Neopaganism to name a few. Buddhists often use incense in their temples and for meditation at their personal altars.
Christians use it during worship to symbolize the prayers of the faithful going to heaven. Among Hindus, incense accompanies practically all forms of worship. Neopagans and Wiccans employ the use of incense in their rituals often to represent the elements and to create an atmosphere conducive to magic and the presence of deities.
Incense for Personal Use
Whether you perform any form of spiritual worship or not, the personal use of incense can help you in a number of ways. It can clear a room of negative energy and purify your space. It can help clear your mind and increase your focus during meditation or any activity requiring concentration.
In many cases it can help relieve stress and restore emotional balance. Many psychics claim it enhances your psychic ability and induces dreams. You can even use it to help attract love and abundance.
When working with incense the type you choose is dependent upon your purpose. If you choose one because you enjoy its scent that’s fine. Often we are intuitively guided to what’s best for us. However if you are working towards a specific goal you may want to consider using some recommended scents.
For cleansing and purification try Cedar or Sage. To clear your mind and enhance your meditation consider Frankincense, Jasmine, Lotus or Myrrh. If you want to relive stress use Lavender or Rose. For grounding and balance try Pine or Sandalwood. They also work well for healing. Vanilla or Spice is often suggested to help energize you. If your goal is enhancing your psychic skills try Anise, Frankincense, Lotus, or Myrrh. For inducing dreams try Honeysuckle, Jasmine or Rosemary.
To attract more positive things into your life Patchouli is an excellent option. If you are seeking love then you may want to experiment with Jasmine, Musk or Rose incense. For goals related to wealth and abundance, many experts suggest Cinnamon, Sage or Clove. Patchouli also works well for money matters.
The beauty of incense is that it is relatively inexpensive. It is available in various forms like cones, rocks, and sticks. In many cases you can purchase individual sticks of most varieties. What a wonderful way to experiment with different fragrances and powers!
When buying your incense also be sure to pick up an incense holder or burner and matches or a lighter. Once you’re set with your supplies, light your incense and set your intentions. Focus on your hopes and dreams while watching the smoke carry them towards the heavens!
This is important - The greatest guide in any spiritual or metaphysical endeavor is your own intuition and intention.
If you find yourself unable to sleep and having nightmares. Or you feel as if someone/something is in the room with you, next time try this:
Take a sage stick, or chopped up sage, light it, and pass it around your head three times, then pass it around the four corners of your bed , as if you were making a frame, and then pass it in circles around the inside. Then place it on the nightstand beside your bed(or somewhere near your head) and relax for a good night’s sleep.
I find this helps me when I can’t sleep because I feel as if a presence is in my room, or there is something troubling me.
(I’m tagging some of the other witch blogs so they can add this if they want. :) Bless!)
Ganesha peers out from every corner of the room; protective, amused, observing. Clean hair, long and damp, scents of vanilla and sage cling; lashes tickle cheekbones as eyes grow heavy. Sesame oil in palms, flames dancing and smudge rising as ceiling fan stirs air; magic potion swirling inside a cauldron. Toes tap to medicinal music; jaw softens and mind surrenders to the depths of rest. Grace infused dreams await, heavy and syrupy sweet. Sacred. Gratitude. Sanctuary. Gratitude. Clarity. Gratitude.
are there any alternatives for sage/smudge aticks? like alternative ways to cleanse? the smell of sage makes me ill
To my knowledge* Sage is in the mint family so virtually any herbs like mint, lavender, sweet grass, basil, rosemary are all in relation so probably would be just as effective. I personally just use sage but the other herbs (besides sweet grass I haven’t tried myself yet) all have a nice detoxifying smell. With ‘smudge cleansing’ you don’t -have- to use sage its just a recommended herb for the smell and its potency but many herbs related have good energy as well and as long as your smudge is with intent to cleanse, any herb that works as a detoxifier should do the trick. Before burning whichever one you choose, smell them dry to make sure you can tolerate it. A lot of herbs you can find at local stores in the spice isle where they are cheaper if you have a budget. I personally get mine at a local vegan shop where they sell dry fresh herbs you can bag yourself :) I’m not sure if there’s a shop like that in your area but if there is, fresh beats packaged! If you can’t find the herbs you want in general you could also get incense instead to do the cleanse with. Whenever I run out of my sage smudge stick I use my back up sage incense sticks. I believe sweet grass and lavender incense sticks are made. Cedar would might be a good cleansing herb as well. I hate the smell but I’ve heard good things about it.
Also make sure to have your windows open and ventilation when doing any smudges! If the area isn’t ventilated you can actually trap negative energy even more in the room/house.
**If anyone else knows good alternatives feel welcome to reblog/message about it**