Question on White Sage!

Hello everyone,
I have a question regarding the use of white sage! I have a bundle at my house that I have not used simply due to some research that I have done.I am Canadian, and as a Canadian we have a sad and horrible history of the mistreatment of Indigenous individuals through residential schools, stripping them of their land, and also erasing their culture.

I had seen that white sage is a herb that we as white colonizers have been depleting and as of right now white sag here in Canada is very sparse.

I am just wondering if this is accurate or if I am still allowed to use it? Also wondering if there is any alternatives to white sage bundles for cleaning purposes? Thanks everyone :crescent_moon::sparkles::heart::jack_o_lantern:

Attached is a bundle I just bought. Does anyone know what herb this is?

9 Likes

This is a great question.

As a native Wabanaki part of the Algonquin nation. Let me say this The use of sage white and others is not bound to only natives. Many cultures use sage in many forms. It would be wrong of any native to stop you as you are walking your own path and the sage can help. As long as you use it in your own way or if you do use it in a native style. You do so with respect and understanding that it is not your own.

It would only be wrong in my eyes if you were to use it and native ceremonies and call them your own. but the borrowing of a ceremony is not a huge deal as long as you do it properly and honor those who it comes from.

11 Likes

This is such a great question and I applaud your desire to be respectful to the Indigenous peoples of Canada and North America. I’m not a member of any recognized tribe so I can’t speak to whether or not using white sage is appropriative. In that respect, I would suggest reaching out to your local tribes and asking them. They may have more guidance on using sage respectfully.

From an ecological perspective, white sage is historically overharvested and poached for profit from people and corporations that don’t usually care about the planet, the spirit of sage, or ecological conservation to begin with. Even if using white sage isn’t appropriative, I always suggest using a different herb for conservation’s sake.

Other herbs you can use for cleansing include rosemary, garden sage, juniper, and lavender. :herb:

I don’t know what herb you’ve got in that bundle, though. It looks pretty strange to me! However, I’m not an herbalist and I’m not the greatest at identifying herbs.


A friend of mine made a YouTube video on white sage and palo santo from an ecological perspective. You might find it helpful :heart:

9 Likes

Hello, and what a great question. In the conversations I have seen around the use/non-use of white sage and smudging among non-indigenous peoples, the concern is that there is a lack of understanding and respect for the tradition/practice. I personally do not use white sage as I do not feel it is appropriate due to the over-harvesting reasons stated above. As you express the desire to be respectful, I feel that you could use it if you wanted. But as @MeganB suggested, I would reach out to a local tribe to confirm.

I do use smoke cleansing (different from smudging) with rosemary, mugwort, or eucalyptus (which is what it looks like your bundle may be??). You can also cleanse with sound or incense as well.

If you choose not to use the bundle, I strongly encourage you to give it back to the earth rather than simply throwing it away. When I get white sage bundles in one of my witchy subscription boxes, I either offer them to my indigenous friends or bury them.

6 Likes

I love this answer!!!

I personally use white sage in my practice. I have 2 smudging sticks that were recently gifted to me by a black foot shaman. I also use loose white sage and burn in my abalone w/ a charcoal disc, however i will only purchase it from a member of one of the tribes.

@BethanyCaroline always do your research as @LadyDennaRahl described before use. Honor and respect it and it will serve u well.

3 Likes