Skip to content

sage smudging prayer for home

Burning sage is a spiritual ritual practiced by native peoples around the world. The specific practice of burning sage is not mentioned in the Bible, though God did instruct Moses to prepare a blend of herbs and spices to burn as an incense offering.

Also known as smudging, the practice of burning sage is done as part of a ritual which involves the bundling of certain herbs such as sage, cedar, or lavender into sticks and then slow-burning them in a purification ceremony, for meditation, for blessing a home or space, or for the purpose of healing, which is considered to be different than incense burning.

Burning Sage in the Bible

  • Burning sage, or smudging, is an ancient spiritual purification ritual practiced by some religious groups and native peoples around the world.
  • Burning sage is not encouraged or expressly forbidden in the Bible, nor is it specifically mentioned in Scripture.
  • For Christians, sage burning is a matter of conscience and personal conviction.
  • Sage is a plant used in cooking as an herb, but also for medicinal purposes.

Burning sage began with native cultures in many parts of the world, including Native Americans who held smudging ceremonies to ward off evil spirits and illness, and to encourage positive, healing energy. Over the course of history, smudging found its way into occult rituals, like spell casting, and other pagan practices.

Burning sage has also attracted New Age interest as a way of purging “auras” and eliminating negative vibrations. Today, even among ordinary individuals, the practice of burning herbs and incense is popular simply for the aroma, for spiritual cleansing, or for the supposed health benefits.

Burning Sage in the Bible

In the Bible, burning incense began when God instructed Moses to prepare a specific blend of spices and herbs and to burn them as a holy and perpetual incense offering to the Lord (Exodus 30:8-9, 34-38). All other mixtures of spices used for any other purpose than the worship of God in the tabernacle were expressly forbidden by the Lord. And only the priests could offer the incense.

The burning of incense symbolized the prayers of God’s people going up before him:

Accept my prayer as incense offered to you, and my upraised hands as an evening offering. (Psalm 141:2, NLT)

Altar of Burnt Offering with priest making sacrifice
Altar of Burnt Offering (Exodus 29), wood engraving, published 1886. ZU_09 / Getty Images

Over time, however, burning incense became a stumbling block to God’s people as they began to intermingle the practice with the worship of pagan deities and idols (1 Kings 22:43; Jeremiah 18:15). Even still, the appropriate burning of incense, as God had initially commanded, continued with the Jews into the New Testament (Luke 1:9) and even after the Temple was destroyed. Today, incense remains in use by Christians in Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and some Lutheran churches, as well as in the emergent church movement.

Many denominations reject the practice of burning incense for several reasons. First, the Bible expressly forbids any practice associated with witchcraft, spell casting, and calling forth spirits of the dead:

For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering. And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the LORD. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the LORD your God will drive them out ahead of you. (Deuteronomy 18:10–12, NLT)

Thus, any form of smudging or sage burning tied to pagan rituals, auras, evil spirits, and negative energies, goes against biblical teaching.

Secondly, and most importantly, through the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ on the cross and his shed blood, the Law of Moses has now been fulfilled. Therefore, rituals like burning of incense as a means of approaching God are no longer necessary:

So Christ has now become the High Priest over all the good things that have come. He has entered that greater, more perfect tabernacle in heaven … With his own blood—not the blood of goats and calves—he entered the Most Holy Place once for all time and secured our redemption forever. Under the old system, the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer could cleanse people’s bodies from ceremonial impurity. Just think how much more the blood of Christ will purify our consciences from sinful deeds so that we can worship the living God. For by the power of the eternal Spirit, Christ offered himself to God as a perfect sacrifice for our sins. (Hebrews 9:11–14, NLT)

The Bible teaches that God is the only one who can protect people from evil (2 Thessalonians 3:3). The forgiveness found in Jesus Christ cleanses us from all wickedness (1 John 1:9). God Almighty is the healer of his people (Exodus 15:26James 5:14-15). Believers do not need to resort to burning sage to ward off the devil or his evil spirits.

Freedom in Christ

There’s nothing wrong with burning sage for non-spiritual reasons, such as the pure enjoyment of the aroma. Christians have freedom in Christ to burn sage or not to burn sage, but believers are also called to exercise our freedom to “serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).

If we choose to burn sage, we ought to treat it like any other freedom in Christ, being sure not to let it become a stumbling block for a weaker brother or sister (Romans 14). Everything we do should be for the benefit and not the detriment of others, and ultimately for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:23-33). If a fellow believer comes from a background in paganism and struggles with the idea of burning sage, we are better off refraining for his or her sake.

Believers are to consider their motives for burning sage. We don’t need sage to increase the power of our prayers. The Bible promises that through Jesus Christ, we can boldly approach God’s throne of grace in prayer and find help for whatever we need (Hebrews 4:16).

If you’re feeling stuck, negative, sluggish, or even downright depressed, it may be due to some stagnant energy in your field to allow positive energy to enter. Your field can include your emotional, energetic, mental, spiritual or physical body, and your environment—whether it’s your home, office, or other physical space. Stagnant or negative energy can have extremely detrimental effects on your mental and physical state and is even believed to manifest into things like a lack of happiness and success as well as pain and disease.

Smudging can help combat this negativity, clear the energy in your field, and help you start anew. Smudging is an ancient ceremony in which you burn sacred plants, such as sage, to allow the smoke to clear and bless a space.

To get some insight into the ancient art of smudging, Native American healer and singer Grandmother Wapajea Walks on Water—with lineage from the Choctaw, Creek and Cherokee tribes—sheds some light on the topic.

Grandmother Wapajea says, “The goal of smudging is to make a place clear of lingering energy that is different from what you may be intending for that space. You want to prepare the space for ceremony, the way you would clean your house, cook, and decorate when your family comes for a holiday. We are welcoming Great Spirit, angels, and ancestors to come and share clean space with us as well.”

What you use to clear a space depends on your location and what plants you have access to. Grandmother Wapajea says that people on the East Coast use tobacco, cedar, sweet grass, juniper, pine needles, deerstongue, cypress, and sage. Out west they use tobacco, pinion, desert sage, and sweet grass.

“My family uses sage and cedar to purify, tobacco to send our prayers to the Chihowa, and sweet grass to attract angels and sweet-spirited ancestors. We also use sweet grass to bring ease to a space when we need to discuss something that is difficult to say,” Grandmother Wapajea says.

What You Need

  • Sage or other sacred plants listed above. Sage represents the earth element and when burning sage, the smoke from it represents the air.
  • Abalone shell. This is meant to hold and burn the plants. The shell represents the water element.
  • Matches or a lighter. These represent the fire element.
  • Feather. This represents the air element.
  • Drum(s) or sacred drumming music, which represent the beat of the heart.

For indigenous people Great Spirit is in all of nature and creation, each thing representing a different aspect of divinity and sacredness. Therefore they honor the elements, and all natural things, from plants and minerals, to animals and people.

The Smudging Process

Often, smudging involves a four-direction ceremony. Here’s a guide to help you get started.

Clear your space of clutter and mess and open up windows and curtains and allow for clean air to enter. Light your sage (or other herbs) on fire and then fan the smoke with your feather around your body and anyone else in your space.

Wapajea’s Smudging Process

  • “We start in the East where the sun rises, and brings us the opportunity to begin again with each new day. Breath.
  • We go to the South and honor our creativity, our children, the child in us, our playfulness, joy, and hope. Earth.
  • We go to the West where the sun goes down, and the blackness of introspection begins when the day is done. Water.
  • We go to the North where our rest awaits us. Knowledge, stamina, compassion, silence. Fire.
  • We use a feather to fan the sacred smoke in each direction, one drums, one sings, one dances, one prays, until we have circled back to the east.”

Tips for Smudging

The art of smudging is a sacred act and Grandmother Walks on Water says these are some things to keep in mind before starting the ritual.

  1. Hold sacredness and respect when connecting with the plant people who help you in this ceremony and when you pray.
  2. Remember and honor your ancestors with good deeds.
  3. Honor the divine by caring for what the Great Spirit has created.
  4. See the divine Mother in everything. Women are the embodiment of Great Spirit’s creation on Earth, thru the gift of birth, so women are holy. We are all from the same womb.
  5. Everything is related to everything; nothing is random.
  6. Caring for creation is everyone’s responsibility.
  7. This will is not religion; this is love.

Clearing Your Body

Smudging is not only for spaces; it’s also for clearing your body, mind, and spirit of any negativity, stagnation, or energetic disturbances within or surrounding you. As part of the ritual, make sure to invite the sacred smoke around your body from head to toe and front to back to help set your intentions before smudging your space.

7 ways to energetically cleanse your home through a cleansing prayer or ritual

1. Smoke

As mentioned, the most popular way to smoke cleanse—using white sage—is a big no-no. Another popular option, palo santo wood, is also on the naughty list for environmental and cultural appropriation reasons. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if you’re a fan of the practice of smoking out your home’s demons. “I am definitely a big user of smoke to cleanse,” says intuitive and spiritual coach Jordi, who regularly conducts home cleansing rituals for clients. They use incense regularly to “shift space” in their house, as well as herb mixtures. “The bundle I have now was collected by a friend, and it includes rosemary and mugwort,” Jordi says. “Rosemary is a beautiful herb to cleanse. It has circulation properties, so it can really move energy through the house.”

If you’re unsure of what materials to use for a smoke cleansing ritual, Jordi recommends digging back into your ancestry for clues. “Tap into the cultural practices you’ve may have been disconnected from,” they say. “Research the plants of the lands that your blood is from. So if you’re from the Isles of Scotland, there’s wild lavender there, so maybe lavender is something you can burn. I invite people to retrace the steps to their own indigeneity.”

2. Sound

You can also use sound to clear a house, says Valle. “Intentional sound vibrations have the ability to transmute negative energy and transform the energy in any space into uplifting vibrations,” she explains. Her favorite tools to use are Tibetan singing bowls. “Even the smallest ones are mighty,” she says. “The resonance of these ancient sacred instruments is so powerful, especially when coupled with an intention or a mantra.”

“Intentional sound vibrations have the ability to transmute negative energy and transform the energy in any space into uplifting vibrations.” —Natalie Valle, energy healer

Tuning forks can also be used. “You can really be intentional with what intervals you create with the different frequencies and notes,” Valle adds. “I have a whole Sound Healing Training, where I dive deeper into the different intervals with their respective benefits and intentions.”

And if no instruments are available, Valle points out that most of us have access to what she calls “the most powerful instrument to ever exist”: the voice. “It’s the most powerful because it contains consciousness, therefore you can sing, chant, hum, and [recite] mantras, intentions, and prayers,” she says. “My favorite mantra is a simple and all-encompassing one: ‘Into the light for the highest good’.”

3. Water

Jordi also likes to use water to both physically and energetically cleanse at once. “I usually bless the water, and how I bless it is by mixing a couple of essential oils, or rose water if I have it, or orange blossom water,” they say. “Whatever my intuition is guiding me to add, I’ll put in there, but I just want something that really boosts the smell and makes me feel good.” Jordi recommends tapping into your ancestral background for inspiration here, too.

How the dynamic energy of the number 5 relates to manifestation and money

May is here, and if you’ve been sowing the seeds of prosperity, now is when you will begin to see them sprout and flourish. The month of May represents prosperity and abundance. We welcomed in the month with Beltane – a celebration of fire, fertility, sex, and abundance. The energy is much different than in April – a different astrological climate, a different energy, a different elemental correspondence too. April’s wind element energy blew through and created havoc for many of us that earthy Taurus and the grounding energies of May can be called upon to tidy up.

May is the 5th month of our calendar year, and 5 is the number of money. Five is the number of the four elements and four directions plus Spirit; it is the number of leaves on the stems of many of the money-drawing herbs, as well as a sacred number in nature that creates a perfect star. The dynamic energy of 5 calls for constant shifting and changing so you may adapt and go with the flow to call forth the energy of abundance. And, did you know Taurus rules over financial matters as well? It’s true! In fact no other sign is better known for making, attracting, and saving money. Emerald, the birthstone of May, is a natural money and attraction gem.

Are you ready to attract prosperity in its many forms? You’ve already earned it; it’s just waiting for you to call it forth. Like all that is, money exists first in the etheric realm as an energy, then manifests in the material realm. All you wish for is already there, waiting in the ether. But your goals cannot be achieved when you have blockages in place to prevent them from coming to you. These blocks can be literal or figurative. Most blocks, in fact, are mental.

Call on your guides, angels, or deities for help. Invoke Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of prosperity and abundance this month. Call on Ganesha, the great remover of obstacles, if you feel stuck. Your guides are watching over you. Rewrite outdated belief systems no longer serving your Highest Good. Let them go.

Blocks to manifesting abundance

To me, money magic is quite serious. Remember, money is just energy – it flows. Or it doesn’t. Money just simply is. Yet many create a story and belief around money. You love it or hate it. You may give it all the power, believing that it has power over you versus power with you to create the things you seek. And what stops the flow is fear and poverty consciousness, or what I call the “lack track.” It begins with a lot of “what ifs”:

What if I don’t have enough money to retire?
What if we buy this house and can’t afford it next year?
What if we lose our jobs?

Now, many of these “what if” scenarios are rooted in past realities, so I’m not saying they aren’t justified based on past experience – but they aren’t going to help you imagine a different and more prosperous future.

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *