The practice of “smudging”, burning white sage or other herbs in cleansing rituals in your home, has grown wildly in popularity over the last few years, but many who follow this practice do not understand its origins or even how to properly perform this ritual, and might be causing more harm than good.
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The video displays a clip from a woman who attempted to “sage” her house, only to result in an increase in paranormal activity, including a bad smell, a “heavy” feeling and items going missing or being broken by the angry spirits. TikTok Witch Uncle Birch helpfully explains why. White sage, the plant indigenous to the American southwest and Mexico and deeply important to the spiritual traditions of the Native people from those regions, is not use to banish negative spirits or energy from a space. Instead, Natives use it in rituals to open a space for “the Great Spirit.” Thus, using this hard-to-find herb in order to send troublesome spirits away ends up doing the opposite.
Instead, Uncle Birch recommends smudging with rosemary or frankincense. Other options include cedar, bay leaves, and salt.
There is a huge debate in the comments section of this video, with many saying they used white sage with little trouble and others claiming that other types of sage work well for this work. One of the issues is that white sage is becoming increasingly difficult to find for the native populations that depends on it for their ceremonies. In addition, using this specifically native plant for native rituals can be problematic because before this ceremony was popular in the mainstream, it was actually illegal for the ethnic groups that invented it, and Native Americans are still battling to be allowed their traditional ceremonies in many places.
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Plus, rosemary smells great.