Sage Illustration by Quinn K Dyer

Salvia officinalis & Salvia apiana

wisdom, purification & longevity
 samhain, air & masculinity
Gemini, sagittarius, Pisces & scorpio
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Sage is one of the most commonly used magical herbs.

It’s used for wisdom and protection; very often in the form of a smudge stick, an essential tool for any witch. In fact, it never really feels like a ritual’s begun until you can smell the burning sage.

Sage is also used for healing, purification & money spells. Certain varieties are quite delicious in the kitchen & can be used to make tea, sage chips & herbal butters.

A simple way to pass on protection & luck to someone is to gift them with a sage plant.

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Varieties of sage vary wildly around the world.

These different varieties are used for vastly different purposes both culinary and medicinally; including white, clary, blue, scarlet & black. Some of the ornamental varieties attract butterflies & bees.

White sage is the traditional variety used by Native Americans. While it possesses some steller cleansing properties, the plant is also quite sacred to a very persecuted people. Reconsider buying commercial/mass market smudge sticks & sage that are often sold by companies profiting off other culture's traditions and instead try growing your own. 

Sage is one of those plants that sucks in the energy that it is met with. And there’s something very special about growing your own plants for magickal use; letting your energy intertwine with the plant’s energy. There’s nothing quite like it.

Now, White sage can be hard to cultivate at home. So, if you’re having trouble consider substituting garden sage which is less picky & more abundant. It's also more in line with European traditions.

Sage doesn’t like to be planted alone. It doesn’t grow well with onions or garlic, but other plants love sage & good vibes it puts out.

Rosemary & sage do well together as they both like the sun & drier soil.

Sage can easily be grown in pots, but some varieties will get larger & bushy with enough time & space.

Leaves are best to harvest at midday by stripping them from the stem; prior to flowering.

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Even though I can never get wrapped them as nicely as the store bought ones, it’s pretty simple to create your own smudge stick.

You can use sage along with other herbs like lavender, rosemary, mugwort, sweetgrass, etc. There are a lot of possibilities!

Start by tying the stems of your herbs together and wrapping tightly downwards; preferably using a natural, undyed cordage.

Once you reach the end, wrap back toward the other end. Criss-cross your string as you wrap back the other way and tie it off at the end.

I’ll then slip the new smudge stick into the oven to speed up drying times; never over 170 F.

The smoke from sage is extremely powerful. Smudging is probably the most common use for sage; the smoke carries negative energies away with it as it disperses. 

Sage aids in lifting the veil; burn with mugwort & catnip in a fire (or make a smudge stick) at Samhain to grant the wisdom of the Crone.

Burn & breathe in sage smoke to enhance psychic abilities. Or burn it at funerals for remembrance & emotional healing; it can restore a weary spirit. Write on the leaves to burn and release desires into the universe.

The smoke can also be used to cleanse ritual tools, such as crystals and mirrors.

Before a ritual, use sage in a purification & protection bath with rosemary & lavender. This couples well with Epsom salts which are also purifying.

Garden sage tea can be used as a mouthwash in combination with sea salt to cleanse and heal sore throats and mouth sores. It’s a natural antiseptic. The tea is also good for digestive issues like heartburn.