The delightful smell of sage is one that takes many people back to Holiday meals and warm kitchens. It has an earthy quality that is able to comfort and inspire. I find it interesting that sage is a member of the mint family.
In Europe during the witch hunts, sage was one of those nonsensical “indicators” of witchcraft. Sage in one’s kitchen garden was thought to be a clue that you were a witch even though the whole neighborhood grew sage. It was imagined that, because sage tends to attract toads, it was a favorite of witches.
Sage is also thought to ensure long life. Drinking sage tea or eating sage daily will keep one going into old age. Along those same lines, sage promotes wisdom. In modern Wicca and in hoodoo root work, sage is added to sachets and mojo bags to help people make wise decisions. Carrying a leaf of sage in your pocket on a day when a choice must be made is encouraged. The leaf is also thought to avert the Evil Eye, which may then go back to the ability to choose well. I might suggest doling out sage leaves en mass to our U.S. Congressional representatives right about now.
Dried sage can be added to reversing incenses to clear unwanted conditions. It is important to keep in mind that culinary sage and sagebrush are two different things. When you hear the term “smudging with sage” which has become an unfortunately misunderstood way to accomplish everything from house blessing to self-purification to ghost busting, sagebrush is the herb in use. The tradition of burning sagebrush or soaking in sagebrush infused baths for purification and healing comes from Native American lore and is appropriate in many situations. Unlike sage, sagebrush is not, safe for ingestion in large doses or if pregnant. Sagebrush, in fairness, is a topic for another post.
Sage is thought to be lucky in one’s garden but only if two rules are followed closely, according to Scott Cunningham. First, a stranger must plant the sage for you. And second, you must mix the sage with other herbs (mints work well as do tomatoes) and not devote an entire bed, box or pot to it. He also recommends this sage wishing spell: write your wish on a leaf of sage and tuck it under your pillow for three nights. If, on any of those evenings, you dream of your wish it will materialize. If not, bury the leaf in an isolated part of your yard or at a local park so that your wish doesn’t backfire on you.
Consider using sage this Holiday season with intent to improve health, impart wisdom and ensure long life. Why not nurture the spirit and the body all at the same time? Bon chance ~
Header: Deborah Hall by William Williams c 1766 (note her pet squirrel on a leash)