Burning Sage in the Bible

Burning sage, also known as “smudging,” is a spiritual practice as old as time. The method is used as a ritual for the protection and extermination of negative energy. While this method can be controversial, it’s mentioned in the Bible and in every religion and tradition. To better understand this practice, we’ll unveil what burning sage in the Bible means.

Burning sage has been used mainly by native people and the church for many purposes. Those who indulge in these practices believe it provides relaxation, wisdom, and spiritual cleansing. However, others regard it as an occult or witchcraft ritual.

Continue reading this article to learn more about the origin of sage and what the Bible has to say about it.

Burning Sage in the Bible
source: oprahdaily.com

Burning Sage in the Bible Biblical Meaning

Sage is an evergreen perennial herb that comes from the mint family. It has grey leaves and somewhat lavender flowers. Its usage is widely known in alternative medicine. However, burning sage has a different purpose and meaning in the Bible.

Sage is not directly mentioned in the Bible. However, many significant references exist to burning sage and practicing “smudging.” This may have directly connotated one particular purpose of burning sage. Casting out evil spirits and negative energy has been the main reason why this herb is still popular among believers.

Christian believers have many understandings and meanings for this herb and its countless practices. Some may see it’s against the Lord’s desire, while others may regard it as a spiritual herb carrying great power.

Furthermore, in both the Old and New Testaments, we also come across burning sage being referred to as incense. This has been chiefly used as a fragrance or an offering for our Lord, as stated in Psalm 141:2.

Nonetheless, only the Holy Book can truly answer all our questions about burning sage. Let’s take a look at what the Bible has to say about this practice.

What Does the Bible Say About Burning Sage

Burning sage began with Native American people, later spreading around the globe. They held smudging rituals that provided spiritual healing and positive energy and cast out evil spirits and negativity.

Sage burning is a delicate and touchy topic for Christian believers. Many believe this is an evil practice and passionately oppose it, but some consider it harmless. However, the Bible doesn’t necessarily define whether this method is good or bad.

This practice involves bundling a few herbs like sage, lavender, and cedar into sticks and then slowly burning them. Many have taken part in purification ceremonies with these methods. Most believe that burning sage will bring positive energy and ward off illness or sickness.

Additionally, this practice has also spread among the Christian religion. Incense ceremonies are held in the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Christian churches, and other Eastern Orthodox Churches. Burning sage is used as a purification ritual before the prayer so believers can worship their Lord with a clean slate.

This further adds misconceptions about burning sage and incense since this practice is very similar to smudging. Either way, there are several verses in the Bible regarding this method of purification.

What are the most used Bible verses referencing burning sage

Rituals and burning herbs for protection have been practiced since biblical times. The Bible shows us that burning sage and smudging can be very similar. Both these practices have been incorporated into spiritual purposes at some point throughout the years.
As we said, the exact practice of burning sage is not mentioned in the Bible. However, there are several mentions which indicate smudging or burning herbs for spiritual purposes.

In the book of Exodus 30:34-38, God instructs Moses to prepare a similar ritual for an incense offering. This includes gathering eleven herbs, such as frankincense and myrrh.

Furthermore, in the verses of Exodus 30:7-9, God commanded Aaron to do a similar ritual each morning. At the same hour every day, he was to burn fragrant incense while tending the lambs.

In contrast to the above-mentioned verses, the verses of Jeremiah 18:15 clearly state that burning incense in the golden censer of the golden altar is forbidden. However, many people have forgotten about the Lord and begun to intermingle pagan deities and idols with their worship of God.

Many of these rituals are still in force among the Eastern Orthodox churches, Roman Catholic, and some Lutheran churches.

Burning Sage in the Bible
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Spiritual Meaning and Symbolism of Burning Sage

Much like visions, dreams, and ceremonies, rituals are people’s ways to access and shift the spiritual realm. Burning sage and other herbs is a powerful source that helps enhance the connection

Sage is one of the most dominant and beneficial herbs for these practices. It has the same uses in every religion, occult, tribe, and culture.

Many use it in bathwater or burn it to foster wisdom and problem-solving mindfulness. It has been widely used for discernment and mental clarity of unveiling truths or lies.

Burning sage enhances the chances for spells to work in many ceremonial practices. Sage has been widely used to heal and attract abundance. Most light up sage in the hope of money, love, healing, protection, and for cleansing spells. Some cultures also believed that cultivating sage in their garden would give them immortality.

Furthermore, in ancient times, it was also used by women intending to get pregnant. They drank sage tea in tonics and believed it would help and potentially get them pregnant.

However, the intention and faith you deliver for these practices are important to gain the potential benefits this herb may bring you.

The Ancient History of Burning Sage

The roots of burning sage date back to ancient civilizations. This historical ritual has spread worldwide and is still practiced to this day. While traditional values and beliefs vary from religion to religion, their spiritual significance is everywhere.

Some cultures use the smoke of red cedar as part of their purification and cleansing ceremonies. On the other hand, many use other ingredients to bless people, places, and objects. While these herbs are accepted and practiced in some religions, in others, they may be opposed or used for different purposes in others.

This herb is usually found in high deserts but most commonly in the areas of California. For most tribes and cultures, sage is often referred to as the “Sacred Sage”.

Native Americans are the first on record to have used this herb for spiritual and ritualistic practices. This method of casting out negative energy has also been associated with tribes such as the First Nations, Inuit, or Métis. In recent years, this practice has been adopted in some religions but mostly in pagan rituals for purification.

In these cultures, plants are much more than living things. They have a soul, spirit and bring harmony and balance to nature.

Should Christian believers burn sage

The church and the Christian religion are strongly against this type of practice to attain enlightenment and spiritual cleansing.

However, the Bible also mentions how we can protect and purify ourselves from these negative beings without burning sage. Among the verses of Ephesians 6:10-12, we see that the only way to do so is by wearing God’s armor. Only with an alignment between you and the Lord are you able to win any spiritual battle and face anything coming our way.

In the Scripture, it’s clearly stated that God is the only source of power. So, Christianity and its believers don’t necessarily support burning a natural element for protection and purification. As it’s stated in the verses of John 15:5, without God and His will and protection, we are nothing.

Spiritual Benefits of Burning Sage
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The Spiritual and Health Benefits of Burning Sage

Burning sage has several benefits to offer for your spiritual and physical health. This is why it has been in force for many decades among all kinds of cultures and tribes. Whether used before prayer or as a ceremonial guest, sage is one of the most popular methods for cleansing negative energy.

This plant has many properties for your overall well-being. You can gain anything from protection, purification, spiritual cleansing, and divination by simply burning sage. The original idea is that ancient and sacred wood, plants, or herbs have great spiritual importance in nature. Thus, burning them will cast out any negativity it touches.

Traditional methods and reasons for burning sage vary from religion to culture to tribe. While some use it for its spiritual benefits and beliefs, others use it for medical purposes.

Spiritual benefits of burning sage

Smudging and burning sage or other herbs are a signature practice of Native Americans. When thinking of this ritual, the first thing that comes to mind might be cleansing and purifying objects and places from negative energy.

The negativity is replaced with the sacred smoke of sage from the burning process. The native energies of that smoke combined with prayer, hymns, chants, or any other form of word-based ritual further enhance the cleansing power.

This practice has been embraced in the New Age Movement, so the significance has stuck with many cultures. Along with crystal therapy and oils, burning herbs has been essential for our spiritual well-being.

Health benefits of burning sage

The basic concept of burning sage is said to neutralize positive and negative ions. People cleanse negative energy from a room, space, or object through the smoke of burning sage. With the right intent, this is said to bring many spiritually positive benefits and help with putting people in a good mood.

These ions are believed to build up around us, blocking electromagnetic fields. They block any negative energy and can lead to positive vibes and happiness. This enhances the chances of reduced stress and anxiety, which helps you get peace of mind.

Furthermore, sage burning cleanses the air, provides good moods, and slices through stress, which may lead to restful nights. Many believe that burning this herb is an excellent bedtime ritual for those struggling with insomnia.

Ancient cultures such as the ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks also used sage as a medical herb. They believed that the plant and its smoke healed sore throats cured infertility, and addressed gastrointestinal issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of sage do you burn?

Also known as “sacred sage,” white sage is most commonly used for ceremonies and ritualistic practices. Many tribes and cultures consider this the “Holy Grail” and won’t consider any other type of sage for burning.

Is sage a holy herb?

Sage’s specific name, Salvia, comes from the Latin word “salvare”, meaning to save or salvage. It has long been considered a sacred herb and associated with peace and wisdom.

Bottom Line

Burning herbs, according to the Bible, is neither good nor bad. Even though there are instances in the Bible that implicitly indicate the burning of the sage, the Bible doesn’t allow using this practice to battle spiritual warfare instead of through alignment with our Lord.

Burning sage in the Bible isn’t explicitly mentioned, but here are several verses which indicate smudging or burning herbs for spiritual purposes. The most renowned one is the story of Moses preparing such rituals for God’s will.

Hopefully, this article has provided you with enough information on burning sage, smudging, and its origin.


Greetings in faith! I'm Tracey, a devoted follower of the Word. This blog shares my passion for Christ, prayer, and biblical studies. I practice daily meditation, have visited sacred sites worldwide, and cherish my Holy Land pilgrimage. In my leisure, I craft prayer beads, spiritual artwork, and faith-inspiring handmade items. Join me as we explore the Bible's richness and the transformative power of faith.

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