The Contemporary New England Witch

The Contemporary New England Witch
Ms Faith

Monday, March 11, 2013

Let me say it again , all sage is NOT the same when it comes to cleansing space!

 Good Evening,

Ofttimes in my humble  little witch shop, Enchantments, located in Manchester, CT USA, I come across a customer who is looking for sage. Specifically, for sage bundles used for burning to clear negative energies from a space, room or building, even for the body!  Invariably I run across many who have been sold, from other shops, the wrong sage!  Not that these shops are doing something unethical, just many are misinformed due to a book published many years ago that was more vague than specific.

Let me explain in detail. The sage that has notoriety in clearing an area of harmful, negative, frenetic energies is called desert sage also known as sage brush or tumbleweed.  The Native Americans would start prairie fires years ago to clean out the old, stagnant and dead weeds and brush allowing new growth and flowers and plant life to take hold and bloom. Unfortunately the confusion comes from another common name for desert sage which is white sage.  Here, on the East Coast, white sage is commonly known as garden sage. My research reveals that several decades ago, 'white sage' was listed as the sage for cleansing and clearing in a popular new age book. This white sage'  was misinterpreted on the East Coast as the local Eastern garden sage, which is also a culinary herb.  They are not the same!

Yet, many magickal stores will sell the garden sage wrapped in bundles for clearing purposes. In truth, the magickal property of garden sage is longevity and aligning with ancestor energy, NOT cleansing or clearing. It even smells bad, in my opinion and the order lingers and is not a pleasant experience. Whereas burning desert sage has a different herby smell and causes an area to immediately feeling lighter and more open.

Know your sage! Here's some photographs to help you determine the correct sage for your purposes:

The above picture is desert sage in its natural habitat where it grows out West in Arizona, California, Nevada and in other Western United States.  The lower photo is desert sage wrapped in a bundle meant to be burned and smoldered. It has long, slender whips of branches and looks more like hay or grass bundled together.

The next two pictures are of common Eastern Garden sage and has wide white leaves (hence the misunderstanding) and the bottom photo shows a sage bundle with the wide flat leaves easily identifiable.

Now, having written this discussion I'm sure to get all sorts of naysayers telling me I'm wrong, but I don't come by my information lightly or without credentials. I use the research and knowledge of one magickal soul that has sadly been lost to us, Mr. Scott Cunningham.  I reference his wonderful book "The Encyclopedia of Magickal Herbs" where he discusses the magickal properties of many herbs, plants, grasses and trees. For those of you who are familiar with Mr. Cunningham's work, I am sure you'll agree he really was a notable scholar when it came to magickal herbs and plants. I refer to his teachings proudly and stand by my opinions on burning sage for cleansing purposes.  But hey, if you've often used garden sage for cleansing purposes and it works for you, Great! Keep using it. It's harmless and you must do what you feel is right. But if you're up for trying something new, I would give desert sage a chance, you might be pleasantly surprised!

© 2010-2013 Faith M. McCann. Portions of this blog posting may include materials from my book “Enchantments School for the Magickal Arts First Year Magickal Studies.” For more information, see or go to the title of tonight's discussion and click, it will link you to my school's website. Please note that the copying and/or further distribution of this work without express written permission is prohibited. 

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1 comment:

  1. I agree the desert sage which you show in the pictures DOES smell awful. Reminds me of cigarettes which I cannot burn in my house. Is there any other cleansing sage? And is the white sage you refer to the same dessert sage/ tumblewees. Angela Lent