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Sage Burning In The Bible: Is The Bible For Or Against Smudging?

You must have come across the terms “sage” or “sage burning” and wondered what they were all about, right?

Well, sage is a herb that is considered sacred by many cultures. It grows in many parts of the world but is most prevalent in the Mediterranean. 

Even though the burning of sage is a common practice in today’s world, it is a practice as old as time and has passed through many generations and civilizations.

Sage may be used to fill your space with the soothing smell it exudes. Also, Sage burning has been used as a spiritual and purifying ritual for a millennium; people believed that its earthy aroma was so calming that it could induce a tranquil and calm atmosphere, making it an ideal aid for meditation.

Others claim that the smoke is so potent that it may dispel negative energy in a room as well as wandering ghosts that may wish to harm you.

Even today, the practice is still very much alive and strong, particularly among Native Americans, who use it before critical ceremonial events and for healing.

A few years ago, many others had begun to embrace the technique, turning it into an “Instagram trend,” which did not sit well with Native Americans, who saw it as cultural appropriation and a slight against their culture.

And who can blame them, given the circumstances? Most people are unaware of the significance of the practice, which is particularly noteworthy given that the burning of sage was initially prohibited.

Individuals who engaged in the practice were labeled witches and sentenced to death. And today, burning sage has become fashionable, and it is acceptable when done by the same folks who formerly chastised them for doing it.

More information can be found if you want to understand their sentiments better.

🔥 How To Properly Burn Sage.

If you’re new to smudging, you may be unfamiliar with the proper technique. We’ll get there eventually, but first, there are over 900 species of sage, also known as salvia, that thrive worldwide. However, white sage (Salvia apiana) and white prairie sage (Artemisia ludoviciana) are most commonly used.

How do you burn sage, then? You will need sage sticks, a source of fire such as a match or a lit candle, and a fireproof bowl. You need to ignite your sage sticks and allow them to burn for a few minutes before extinguishing the flame and allowing smoke to permeate.

Note. Your intention determines how you burn your sage. Is it solely for scent or for cleansing and other purposes?

If it is for purification, you might utter some affirmations there, such as “let the smoke purify this home off evil deities.”

📖 What The Bible Says About Burning Sage.

Sage burning, or smudging, is a touchy topic among Christians. It all stems from the fact that spirituality’s definition and meaning are extremely ambiguous. Although some Christians believe the practice is harmless, others consider it occult and passionately oppose it.

Burning Smudge with Quartz on Blue Table

However, burning sage is neither promoted nor clearly prohibited. Admittedly, it is not even referenced explicitly in any scripture. The Bible cites the burning of incense made from various herbs.

Even today, incense burning is widespread in the Roman Catholic Church and other eastern orthodox churches, which adds to the misunderstanding by being so similar to smudging.

The Bible contains numerous citations to incense burning.

For instance, in the book of Exodus, GOD instructs Moses to gather 11 herbs, including frankincense and myrrh, for an incense offering. Aaron is commanded to burn fragrant incense on the altar each morning while tending the lamps.

He must burn incense once more when he lights the lamps at twilight to ensure that incense burns consistently before the LORD for future generations.

Furthermore, quoting Leviticus 16 11:13 of the new international Bible 

11 “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering.

 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. 

13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law so that he will not die.

Leviticus 16 11:13

It is clear from the Bible that the practices of burning incense and smudging are very similar, even though sage was not one of the herbs used in either practice. 

Both practices have been employed for spiritual purposes at some point in history.

🏠 Is It Okay For Christians To Burn Sage In Their Homes?

The same question has been asked, “Does the Bible mention the practice of burning sage?”

When I was initially asked this question, my first reaction was to say no because I couldn’t locate a reference to ‘burning sage’ anywhere in the Bible.

You would believe that since the Bible does allow a similar practice, such as the burning of incense, and there is evidence in the scriptures that burning incense is acceptable for Christians, then burning sage should be justified as well.

Nonetheless, smudging appears to be highly spiritual. It can be challenging to distinguish between rituals that are desirable to GOD and those that are sinful and so unsuitable for a Christian.

As a result, most Christians are concerned that sage burning has occult roots and is associated with witchcraft. On that note, the Bible expressly bans the practice of witchcraft and the casting of spells or the use of mediums.

The scriptures, according to Deuteronomy 18:10-12 in the new international Bible, say

 10 Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft,

11 or casts spells, or who is a medium or spirits or who consults the dead.

12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord; because of these same detestable practices, the Lord your God will drive out those nations before you.

Deuteronomy 18:10-12

See this here for more information on how God forbids the use of witchcraft and other supernatural powers in his creation.

The second point is that we are living in a new period as Christians. When GOD allowed his only son Jesus to suffer for the sins of all humanity, he heralded the beginning of a new era, a time in which Christians no longer require incense burning to approach and be in the presence of God.

Everything must be done through the son in order to reach the father.

Therefore, any incense or even sage burning is unnecessary, and Christians are relieved of the obligation to practice.

Conclusively, I’m guessing there is no consensus over whether or not smoking sage is a beneficial practice. It depends entirely on your motivation and subjective opinion on your interpretation of the scriptures.

🩺 Health Benefits Of Burning Sage

Aside from the airy, earthy aroma produced by sage burning and its spiritual benefits, sage has been discovered to have myriad health benefits.

Smudging and spiritual burning of smoking sage
  • Assistance with anxiety and depression.

It should come as no surprise that the smoke produced by the burning of sage has been shown to have mood-stabilizing properties. It soothes your nerves and puts you in a quiet, tranquil mood free from negativity.

This is precisely what a person suffering from anxiety or depression requires. So the next time you’re feeling apprehensive, light a little sage.

  • Improves the overall quality of your sleep.

Lack of sleep can result in various physical and mental health concerns. Scientific studies have confirmed that.

  • Enhances cognition.

Being in a good mood and getting enough sleep can assist you in maintaining prolonged attention and better memory.

  • Antibacterial properties.

Medicinal smokes like sage, for example, have been shown to possess highly effective antimicrobial and antibacterial properties.

As a result, it will not only cleanse out negative energy but also serve as a disinfectant, removing fungi, bacteria, and viruses from your home.

🕊 Can Christians Burn Sage?

As far as we know, the Bible does not include formal prohibitions against the burning of sage herbs, either in the old or new testaments. Furthermore, there is no indication in the Scriptures that you will go to hell if you do it.

how to cleanse your house without using sage

This leads me to conclude that the burning of sage is entirely a personal preference.

If Christians want to burn sage, they must first consider how God would perceive the act. Is there anything about it that conflicts with Christian teachings?

Then, you’ll have your answer.