Smoke ceremonies have been around since man discovered fire. Herbs and resins were burned before, during, and after rituals for various purposes. The smoke of the burned plants would fill the air, and the scent would enter the bodies of the participants. Depending on the plant, the shamans would have prophetic dreams, heal others, or shape shift.
Many cultures use smoke ceremonies, and all have the same basic principles - it helps to heal, connect, and awaken. Some used the smoke as a way to connect the living and the dead, others for divination. Even in modern-day Catholic churches, different incense are burned at mass. Our ancestors used herbs that were abundant to the area they lived. Thanks to modern transportation, we are able to access herbs from all over the world. In America (and more increasingly across the globe), the burning of sage in smoke ritual is becoming more popular by the day. It is usually referred to as "smudging," but none of the indigenous peoples of America refer to it that way. No matter what you prefer to call them - they are still herb bundles that are used in a smoke ceremony.
There are multiple types of sages used in herbal bundles - some are not even in the sage family! The names may be confusing, but hopefully the explanations below help you know what is best to use for your rituals. All of the bundle types that are covered in this article are available at our store. Please head on over to our shop to check them out!
White Sage - This sage is the smell most people associate with burning sage. It has a very strong, distinct odor (some call it pungent). It is perfect for any smoke ritual. It can be used for cleansing and meditation. Many mixed herbal bundles have white sage as its base, since it ties together the scents wonderfully. This is a perfect herb to use when in doubt of what is best.
Black Sage - There are three plants that are referred to as black sage - Salvia mellifera, Artemisia nova, and Artemisia douglasiana. Two of them (the Artemisia) are really mugwort! It does not matter which type is used, since they all contain thujone - a chemical compound that is known to help relax the mind. Its scent is not as strong as white sage, and has a sweeter hint to its scent. However, it is a sage known to help with dreams and restful sleep. It may also be used as protection during journey work. I personally prefer to use it when I do necromancy, in conjunction with a ritual bath.
Blue Sage - Similar to black sage, blue sage may be from multiple sources - either Salvia clevelandii or Artemisia tridentata. Unlike white sage, blue sage has thin leaves, and noticeable stems. It even has a blue hue. Its scent is not as strong as white sage, so those who want to burn herbs during a ritual that are not as overpowering may be more welcoming to blue sage. Like white sage, blue sage is great for cleansing and mediation.
Lavender Sage - Do not confuse this sage with Lavandula! It is a true sage, and it is normally one of two species, Salvia leucophylla or Salvia mellifera. This sage helps to relieve anxiety and is considered a good herb to use for attraction rituals (not just love spells). It is calming and cleansing, which is perfect for rituals dealing with emotions. This will pair perfectly in a ritual with our Lofn soap and scrubs. This sage can be burned before, during, and after ritual and the ritual bath to tie together the ceremony.
Juniper - This is made from the actual tree within the Juniperus family. This is an extremely ancient plant is in the cypress family and has been around long before humans. Unlike newer evolved trees, Juniper has leaves that look like needles. As the leaves and branches of this tree are bound together, they make a perfect bundle. The smell of Juniper is lovely - a woodsy, spicy scent. Like most herbs used for burning, it is grounding and cleansing. It does like to crackle when burned, which is always a lovely sensation. Burning it will help cleanse the air of negativity, and energize the mind. It works well for rituals for new beginnings and overcoming roadblocks.
Cedar - Similar to Juniper, Cedar herb bundles are made from a tree. It may be one of many species within the Cedrus family. It has a warm woodsy scent, and can be used to strengthen focus. It helps to preserves as well as protect, so it is an excellent herb bundle to use for rituals meant to hold long-lasting effects. Similar to Juniper, Cedar crackles and pops when burned. Historically, Cedar has been used during sweat lodge, and is considered to attract benevolent spirits. Both the Cedar and the Juniper herb bundles can be used in conjunction with the Waldeinsamkeit soap for a powerful ritual.
Dragon's Blood - This is possibly my favorite herb bundle. Dragon's blood has been around for centuries, used for various medical conditions. It has a complex scent that is sometimes described as earthy, musky, and woodsy with hints similar to patchouli, sandalwood, and amber. With herb bundles, dragon's blood is usually a resin that is coated on the outside of white sage. When it burns, it has a distinct smell of the famous white sage, as well as the dragon's blood. The scent of dragon's blood helps to dispel anything negative, and is a great for protection. This combination helps with almost everything, from bringing good luck to overcoming grief. This is a powerful combination of scents that uplift the spirit within and harnesses power. We offer two different types here at Lasabrjotur. One style is white sage with a coating of the dragon's blood resin, so that the whole bundle is red. We simply have called that one Red Sage. The other is a mix of mountain sage with dragon's blood, so the red hue is speckled throughout the bundle.
Sage Brush - This desert sage is either Artemisia tridentata or Artemisia californica, both of which are in the mugwort family. This herb bundle has a unique smell that remind many of bay or mint. When burned, it helps reduce anxiety to enable inner strength to grow. It is known to drive out negative energies, and to keep them away while ritual is conducted. It is perfect for spell work creating new beginnings.
We believe that the wide array of options that we have in stock will help with any needs for smoke ritual. Use these herb bundles to help unlock the potential within!