Sage is one of those useful purification herbs that almost every pagan everywhere from every walk (at least in the U.S.) seems to have adopted into their own practice. It is useful to purify both physical spaces, body, and the aura. Over the years I’ve found sage will also drive off almost any oogidy boogidy or negative energy lingering in an area, though if you don’t get up a good ward or personal protection after a time things can slink back in. I can’t say too much about how wonderful a purification herb sage is.
Anyone who has used a sage bundle knows the trouble with a sage bundle. You have to keep relighting it. It sheds embers if you wave the bundle instead of using something to fan the smoke (my old apartment has holes in the carpeting to prove it) and you need a very fire proof container to ensure it is under control and to have a place to rest the smudge bundle, and may the Gods help you if you have cats. I’ve never met a cat that doesn’t want to play with and/or set themselves on fire with the sage bundle. I found myself using a mini caldron with a lid to keep our four legged friends out of it while I was doing ritual. All in all, if I’m at home it isn’t too much of a pain, but I certainly don’t want to haul it around with me, since it is only pristine the first time I use it and the rest of the time it is a shedding, falling apart, half burnt mess. One bundle might last for about a two months in our house. They’re worth the investment and they do a wonderful job, but…all those things I mentioned make it a bit unwieldy for travel or use when my children are awake.
Yesterday my significant other and I had one of those rare, child free days that come along every once in a blue moon and we decided to make the most of it and travel to our local herb shop. We can’t go there with our small children because it is a small, overcrowded haven of goodies that my children could start a chain reaction of destruction in. It’s about 20×20 feet of space packed to the gills with herbs, candles, incense, books, and all manner of jewelry and interesting odds and ends. We could spend hours picking through everything. They even utilize the storefront window for retail space turning it into an interesting little Buddhist alcove of books and treasures. Walking in is like coming home surrounded by the sweetest smell of wild plants and exotic musk.
We leisurely perused and found some Indian temple incense (no one else carries it), and not having much money to spend we were going to call it a day, and then I found them. Sage resin incense sticks. They look like compressed sage on a stick, light on the first try, and burn for over an hour-and all that for $3.99 for a pack of ten. I only sage my home about once a week, so this little package of hassle free joy was well worth it for me. I lit one this morning and ran around the house cleansing the space and laughing like an idiot. These sticks would be ideal for large gatherings, travel, ritual, and just all around any time you need to use regular sage. I found no difference in the cleansing properties of the sticks vs. the actual sage bundle, and if you desired you could easily put out the stick, it’s very sturdy and wouldn’t snap, and use it several times.
The company that produced the incense sticks I bought is Nature Nature. It seems they’re selling them online for more than the herb shop was selling them though. It might be worth it to browse locally.