White sage and its importance as a ceremonial herb and natural medicine to Native American cultures, both historical and contemporary, cannot be understated. In an interview with Fashionista, Indigenous blogger Bianca Millar of the Wendake reserve in Quebec explains that Indigenous citizens were banned from using not only sage, but any traditional medicine in Canada until 1951.
As Native Americans practice smudging today for practical and ceremonial reasons as well as to reclaim a once banned culture by oppressive government regimes, the use of white sage by non-Natives is seen by many as exploitative; removing this closed practice from its cultural heritage as those who use white sage to smudge often don’t know this history of smudging and just know it as a cleansing herb. White sage is also at-risk according to United Plant Savers, an organization dedicated to protecting native plants of North America.
As a part of our commitment to ethical practices and out of respect to Native American cultures, we are no longer stocking white sage. While white sage may seem the go-to herb for cleansing, there are plenty of ways you can cleanse and purify your space, tools and spirit without it! We have a brand new witch kit for cleansing your space with a variety of tools and herbs but here is a breakdown of the white sage alternatives we have available to purchase separately:
The cedar is a hardy conifer from North America whose leaves have a beautiful woody aroma. It has been historically valued for its resistance to the elements and decay as well as its natural insect repellant properties. As an evergreen, cedar represents eternal life and its oil has been used as a preservative.
Cedar lends its strength well to spells to increase their potency, whether burned alone or combined with other herbs in incense blends. Its evergreen nature associates it with longevity, making it a good component for rituals involving long life and spiritual growth.
Most importantly, its powerful nature makes it a great sage alternative, with its healing smoke cleansing your space, repelling evil spirits, providing protection as well as inviting good fortune. We have cedar wands alone as well as bound with white sinuata.
Desert sage is a hardy evergreen variety of sage. While it is a North American herb, it is not endangered like the white sage variety making this a sustainable alternative. Desert sage emits a light, peppery scent when burnt and its smoke has additional healing benefits, including easing anxiety and headaches. We sell 10cm bundles of desert sage here.
Rosemary has strong folkloric connections to memory: ancient Greek scholars wove rosemary into garlands to help them during their studies and today in Australia we wear a sprig of rosemary to honour and remember the dead on Anzac Day.
Rosemary can be burned as sage is for smoke cleansing, but its smoke has additional healing properties-surrounding yourself in this smoke will clear your mind and support your general health. Unburnt, it can be carried in bags or added to poppets to protect yourself from nightmares or hung at your door to protect your home. We stock rosemary as a loose herb, plain cleansing wand and bound in a wand with yellow sinuata.
Celebrate the land by using native Australian alternatives! Eucalyptus is a versatile leaf that has been used by Indigenous Australians for thousands of years. It's regarded as a cure all due to its antiseptic properties and commonly used in protection magic. We sell bundles of eucalyptus leaves for smoke cleansing as a part of our cleansing kit but you can buy them separately here.
CLEANSING YOUR SPACES WITHOUT SMOKE
Smoke cleansing may not be an option for some, whether it be due to allergies, asthma or the presence of small children and pets. If this is the case, there are plenty of smoke-free alternatives that are equally effective at cleansing an area:
- Sweeping your space with a besom, cleaning the area with intent.
- Using sound: you can do this with a ritual bell, singing or even just making sounds that resonates with you.
- Placing crystals at the borders of your house, crystal spheres project their energy around the room if you’re cleansing a smaller space. You can also bury crystals outside your home to remove negative energy and create a protective border.
- If you still want to clear the air with uplifting scents, incense oils are a great option.