The Broadened use of California White Sage 

We see California White Sage kits at health and new age stores and websites claiming to cleanse negative energy. Many sellers also state that they harvest naturally. But what does that mean for California Native People who have used this plant for cultural purposes for time immemorial? When it comes time for Natives to gather their medicine, they often find plants that have been disrespectfully butchered or pulled by the roots. They often leave empty-handed with feelings of sadness, anger, grief, and frustration. 

What does this mean for people who buy sage? California Indigenous people believe that ceremonial plants such as sage are to be gifted and never sold; otherwise, they lose their value.  All Native peoples have ceremonial medicines from their region, including other types of sage. Native teachings explain that plants absorb our intentions and thoughts and share them with those we have gifted them to or participated in ceremonial ways. If someone has butchered a white sage relative with intentions to sell, is it likely that they had good loving intentions? 

Indigenous people learn to wrap bundles to preserve the sage. When not properly prepared, sage can become moldy. So, when you burn it to clear negative energy, you might be surrounded by bad intentions or mold. In Los Angeles County, our tribal relatives receive hundreds of pounds of sage illegally harvested and confiscated, damaged, moldy, and unable to use. 

If you feel the need to use white sage, why not grow your own? If clearing negative energy is what you wish to do, you can utilize meditation and energy work. Try this technique:

  1. Sit or lay comfortably with your back straight, breathe in deep, hold your breath for five seconds, and release that breath for seven seconds.
  2. Continue to breathe in this way as you mentally walk through your body, saying each area is calm, relaxed, and healed.
  3. Start with your feet and end with the top of your head.
  4. Observe your inner dialogue and maintain love in the way that you speak to yourself and others, as well as how you allow others to speak to you.

No one is all-loving all the time, but when you feel the need to burn sage or clear negative energy, sit back and utilize this practice and know that you can cleanse the energy in and around you with your intentions and energy. 

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