Sage and Feather: A Cleansing Ritual
As we have mentioned, Neometheus and I are currently exploring Shamanism. Cleansing is a ritual entwined in both Shaman and witch rituals (NOTE: I will not use the term ‘Wicca’ on this blog, as that is a particular strain of neopaganism. Not all witches are Wiccans, though the term has become synonymous with witch-hood). This is something that I am discovering: that there are a lot of overlapping areas with these two paths, and I am amazed at how similar, yet different, they are. I will not go into the details here, as we will continue to explore this in further posts.
As a witch, I have done cleansing rituals before. As a Shaman, I haven’t. The ritual I did the other night was the first experience I had with burning sage. Witches use sage too, but it wasn’t something I had ever used before, having had other means and other ways of doing things ‘my way’. This time, however, I decided to try it, spurred on by the content of an excellent book I am reading: ‘The Shamanic Witch’ by Gail Wood.
For the past week, I was immersed in every day routine and reality. This is fine – reality happens, but I realised I was slipping dangerously close to a slide towards depression. I felt disassociated from my emotions: nothing excited me, nothing moved me. I felt like I was living in a fog, in shades of grey. I felt flat and dull. There is no specific reason I can point to that made me feel this way. Except: I hadn’t connected Spiritually for a while-for a long while. I’d been ‘too busy’. I knew I had to do something about this – I couldn’t carry on this state. It wasn’t healthy, not for me nor my family.
I went and bought some fresh incense sage-not the incense sticks, but a ‘bundle’, and a smudging feather. That evening, we switched off the television and dimmed the lights. I did a Reiki session on Neometheus, immediately removing his on-going headache, which also had the added effect of ‘shifting’ my energy to a higher state – thus putting us both in the right frame to do a ritual.
We placed some small gravel-like stones in our little cauldron, and placed the sage on top of them, lighting it. Sage works like incense: it should smoke, not stay on fire. Neometheus had a rattle in his hand, which he shook around the areas I was cleansing. A rattle is a tool of the Shaman, used for cleansing, scaring away negative energy/unwanted spirits, and much more. He rattled, I cleansed. It was a very simple ritual. I used the feather to waft the sage-smoke around the front door of our house, the windows, and around the living room. I used simple words:
Cleanse this place, cleanse this space… Clear away the negative energy, let it be cleansed.
I repeated this at each space we wafted the smoke. After we had cleansed the room, I took the rattle and shook it all around Neometheus, then smudging him with the smoke, cleansing his energy. He did the same for me.
A very simple ceremony. I called on no deities, cast no circle. Some say you should do this, to respect the ritual and spirits. Sometimes, yes – but I wanted to make this non-ordinary reality part of everyday reality – a connection between the two ‘worlds’. It is INTENTION that matters most when you walk with magic.
Did it work? Did anything change? I certainly felt more relaxed that evening – happy, even. Next morning when I awoke – what a difference! I virtually sprang out of bed, fully awake, alert, and ready to face the day. That has not happened for a very long time! I was at peace – with myself, my family, and the world around me. I haven’t felt any negative energy around me since – and we did this ritual 5 days ago.
So yes, it worked!
Such a simple thing to do, that takes very little time – all you need is sage and a feather… as long as you do the ritual with respect and sincerity, with an open heart, then it will work for you. If you are have any negative energy in your life, I recommend doing a cleansing rite.
Please feel free to share any experiences you have had with sage, or cleansing rituals.