Blog Post

Can a Catholic Sage Their House?

We recently had a question about the practice of "saging" one's home in order to clear the house of "bad vibrations." Is this practice compatible with Christianity?

In a word - no.

Saging is a shamanistic ritual that goes back to ancient Rome. The herb, sage, has long been used by indigenous peoples around the world for its medicinal properties and is often burned in the home by people who believe its scent is able to "cleanse" a home of bad energy or vibrations.

Also known as smudging, the belief system that undergirds the practice of saging is based in animism.

"The power of sage comes from its spirit. Since sage is a plant, it—like all living things—has a spirit, and sage perfectly embodies its name by offering a wise, protective energy to the world," this site explains.

"For us, the spiritual and health benefits cannot be separated," says Shilo and Shawna Clifford, owners of Native Botanicals, who are Oglala Lakota tribal members. "Sage is a living being that we take from the earth, which means that we are connected to it. When we make a sage bundle and burn it, we are taking its breath and purifying ourselves with it."

The belief that all created things have a soul and consciousness is known as animism. It differs from the Christian belief that man is the only creature with a rational soul. Animals and plants have a kind of soul, but not the same as the human soul. Our soul is spiritual, theirs is material. Being spiritual, our soul is immortal. The material "soul" of a plant or animal is not.

The other problem with saging from a Christian point-of-view is its connection to the occult which is apparent in this statement:  "...[T]he sage is going to do the cleansing, but set an intention for what you would like to get out of each session. Are you using sage to heal, to grow, to clear your mind, to invite in new experiences, or more abundance? Set the intention."

In other words, magical powers to bring about healing and abundance are attributed to the sage.

"It's also good to create a mantra and to thank the Great Spirit for assisting you with clearing your space of old and negative energy. You can say something like, 'Thank you Great Spirit for helping clear my space of negative energy, blocked energy, stuck energy, or negative feelings/thoughts. May this space be re-filled with feelings of joy, love, happiness, and harmony."

Praying to the "Great Spirit" is a direct violation of the First Commandment which forbids calling upon false gods.

Some users even believe that the use of sage enhances a person's ability to communicate with the spirit world during practices of channeling and mediumship.

Aside from lending a pleasing aroma to your home, saging is utterly useless for clearing "negative vibrations" from a home. The source of those "negative vibrations" could be evil spirits, in which case the sprinkling of holy water or blessed salt will be far more effective.

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