How to Cleanse a Space with Sage

April 17, 2020

How to Cleanse a Space with Sage | Happy As Annie. How and why to burn sage to cleanse a space of negative energies. Practical tips and a step-by-step guide. #sage #burnsage #sagesmudge #sagewand

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We are spending more time than ever in our homes. And staying positive is more important than ever.

Want an easy and natural way to cleanse your home’s energy? Try burning sage. Learn more about why and how to burn sage in this post.

What is sage?

Sage is a shrub most commonly known in its green variety for use in cooking.  But that is not the variety of sage we are talking about here. Don’t burn the dried green sage from your spice rack. It won’t work!

When people talk about burning sage as an energy cleansing ritual or for its incense-like aroma, they are usually talking about bundles of dried white sage. White sage is considered a sacred healing plant by many cultures, particularly Native Americans.

Now, before I go on, I will mention that there is a movement against burning white sage because the plant is being over-harvested and is now considered endangered. While I am not an expert on this matter, I will say that if you are concerned about this, there are alternatives to burning white sage (blue sage, for instance, is not considered endangered as far as I know) and efforts can and should be made to source your sage responsibly.

Sage wands, as they are commonly called, are dried and wrapped into bundles using natural fibers, like yarn. The bundles are then burned at one end like a giant incense stick to release hauntingly fragrant smoke as the sage burns.

Why should you burn sage?

There are many touted benefits of burning sage. Here are some highlights:

  • It quite literally cleanses the air by disinfecting microbes and pathogens floating around.
  • It is believed to dispel stale, negative, or toxic energies lingering in the air.
  • The aroma may help soothe anxiety and relieve stress.
  • The uplifting fragrance can also boost mood and aid concentration.

Ready to give it a try?

Here is what you will need.

  • a sage wand (bundle)
  • a small fire-proof dish to catch ashes
  • a flame source


When I burn sage to cleanse a space, I move around the entire space waving the sage wand around. I will explain this in more detail below. For this reason, you need a small fire-proof dish to hold underneath your sage wand to catch falling ashes and embers. I speak from experience when I say that this is necessary to prevent them from falling on your priceless Persian rug or your poor dog’s unsuspecting head.


How to burn sage to cleanse a space

How to Cleanse a Space with Sage | Happy As Annie. How and why to burn sage to cleanse a space of negative energies. Practical tips and a step-by-step guide. #sage #burnsage #sagesmudge #sagewand (Smoking sage bundle in hand with table of potted plants and other objects blurred in background)

Step 1: Light your sage wand.

Some people will insist that you stay au naturale and use a match to light your bundle. I, however, want a big enough flame I can hold my bundle in for several seconds to really get my bundle smoking. So the small and short-lived flame of a match stick doesn’t do it for me. Feel free to use a long lighter or just do what I do and use the flame on your stove top. (Hey, if I do anything on this blog it’s keep it real.)

Step 2: Hold the sage wand in your dominant hand and your dish underneath it in the other.

Safety first, remember? So you want to make sure you always keep your fireproof dish underneath the sage wand to catch the floating embers and ashes. Cleansing the energy of a space involves actively waving your sage around the room. This means you should hold the sage in your dominant hand and the dish underneath it with your other hand.

Step 3: Recite a cleansing intention as you go.

As with most things, intention is key here. Our intention is to clear the space of any stale or negative energies that may be lingering. Sometimes you just feel it in the air from the moment you wake up. Or, you may be called to do it after a contentious or comically pointless Zoom conference, or (if we weren’t all self-isolating) after a particularly trying family gathering that had you smiling and nodding at inane and just offensive enough conversation all night.

The sage won’t work if you don’t. So I suggest repeating an intention like the following as you move around the room or the entire house: “I cleanse this space of negativity and make room for love, light, and abundance.” Or something like that. I just made that up because it felt right to me. Feel free to use that or play around with something of your own.

How to Cleanse a Space with Sage | Happy As Annie. How and why to burn sage to cleanse a space of negative energies. Practical tips and a step-by-step guide. #sage #burnsage #sagesmudge #sagewand (two sage bundles and black feather in white square dish on wooden table)

Step 4: Let your sage burn out in the dish.

When I am done, I gently lay my sage down in the fireproof dish and let it burn itself out. Some people are hardcore and say that a sage wand should only be used one time and never reused for another ritual or ceremony. But I think that is ridiculous and wasteful. Sage bundles are huge and last forever! And the embers usually die out rather quickly too. So unless you’re dousing yours in gasoline and using a fire-breathing dragon to light it up, I don’t know how this one-time use rule could possibly apply.

Let me know why and how you use sage in your life. Or, if you have any questions or additional tips for us, leave a comment below!

3 Comments

  • Reply Use Tarot to Channel the Energy of Taurus Season - Happy as Annie April 20, 2020 at 6:08 am

    […] spiritual tools I have available to me in the form of sage, essential oils, and scented candles. Cleansing the energy of our homes and inviting in more pleasant and positive energy is especially crucial now that we are all […]

  • Reply How to Cleanse Tarot Cards - Break In New Tarot Cards - Happy as Annie May 6, 2020 at 6:01 am

    […] its other benefits, burning dried sage, or smudging, is believed to dispel stale, negative, or toxic energies lingering in the air. Smudging a tarot […]

  • Reply 10 Full Moon Rituals for Letting Go - Happy as Annie June 5, 2020 at 6:04 am

    […] cleansing and releasing negative energy is a classic full moon ritual. The above ritual involves sage smudging, but you could use another type of herb bundle or wood, like lemongrass or palo santo, if you […]

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