The History and Magic of Sage
A beautiful plant with a rich history of medicine and magic
Gender: Masculine Element: Air Planet: Jupiter
Sage is native to the Mediterranean and most varieties are hardy perennials. Garden Sage likes a bit cooler weather and grows well in pots, herb gardens or container gardens. The bush varieties of Sage do not do so well in containment and normally prefer warmer weather. Sage is a member of the mint family, with soft fuzzy leaves and flowers that range from purple, white, pink, and blue.
The best Sage in the world is said to grow in the Dalmation Islands of Croatia. During the blooming season on the islands, bees gather nectar from Sage blooms, and as bees do, make honey. The authentic Sage Honey harvested here is highly prized and sought after for it's unique and rare flavor. I am putting this on my bucket list - visit the Dalmation Islands and get me some of that Sage Honey!
History of Sage
Documented use of Sage dates back to the De Materia Medica, a greek encyclopedia on herbal medicine. The De Materia Medica was authored by Dioscorides, a physician, botanist, and pharmacologist who lived from 40-90 AD. Woah! People have been learning and benefiting from Sage for a very long time. There is also some writings on Sage use dating as far back as Lemurian times. No wonder Sage has such a rich history.
Ancient Greeks used Sage for memory enhancement, as did the Romans. The Romans thought so highly of the herb that it was included in their sacred harvest ceremonies. They believed Sage had properties of stimulating the mind and stregthening memory. Sage was also cultivated with intention in Medieval England, France, and Germany. These cultures used the herb for fever, liver disease, and drank Sage tea for overall good health. In France it was customary to plant Sage on graves to heal sadness and grief.
Sage has been used through the ages for calming nervous diseases, kidney disease, the common cold, joint pain, tiredness, and headaches. An infusion of Sage was used to heal skin abrasions, and fresh Sage leaves were rubbed on the teeth to cleanse them and freshen breath. It seems like Sage was a cure to all ailments!
Sage also has a long history of culinary use. It has a strong and somewhat bitter taste, and is used in a variety of foods. Sage is said to aid the stomache with digestion, which is how it became a popular ingredient in many holiday dishes. Makes sense, doesn't it?
White Sage, native to the Southwest United States and Northwest Mexico, is a sacred herb in many Native American and Shamanic beliefs. In recent years white Sage has grown in popularity with modern magic practitioners, which has led to overharvesting in the wild. White Sage is a difficult variety to grow outside of it's native environment and typically doesn't do well in pots. It is not yet on the endangered species list, but conservationists are concerned about the future of White Sage. Much illegal harvesting from private lands is taking place and being sold for profit. If you absolutely must have White Sage, try growing your own for personal use, or know and trust your source. A single leaf or two is usually all that is needed to do a smoke clease of your space, so skipping the whole large "smudge stick" and only using what you really need is good practice. Common garden Sage has many of the same magical properties of White Sage, so that is something to consider as well.
Magical Uses of Sage
Sage is burned for magical use in order to cleanse spaces and people of negative energies. This is called smudging and has been used for many years by many different cultures. Science has shown that because of the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of Sage, smudging not only raises the vibe of your space, it also cleans the air of bacteria and contaminates.
Sage is a common ingredient in many different types of rituals and spells. Some other magical uses are:
- Spiritual connection
- Healing of mind, body, and soul
- Improve memory
To cleanse your space with a Sage leaf: light one end of the leaf and let the flame go out. Use the smoldering smoke to wash over your space including windows and doorways, any person you'd like cleansed including yourself, and the air. As you allow the smoke to wash what's desired, set your intention - it may be simply to cleanse the air or drive out negative energies. Do not blow on the smoke, but instead use your hand to wave the smoke in the direction you choose. Let the Sage go out on it's own or use a heat proof surface to stamp it out.
There is an old proverb dating back to the middle ages that I believe sums up the awesome power of Sage: