Sage is an herb that is favored in magical and spiritual practice -- and for good reason. The plant has a plethora of powerful magical applications. Among the myriad of energies Sage embodies, it is associated with protection, purification, immortality and mourning, as well as wisdom and the granting of wishes.
Sage most notably corresponds with wisdom and mental clarity. This attribute is further expressed by the fact that Sage is represented by the element of Air and has Jupiter as its planetary association, both of which deal with matters of the mind and thought.
Even back to the 1500s, Sage was believed to improve brain function. Herbalist John Gerard in Herball, a book on botany, referred to Sage as "singularly good for the head and brain, it quickeneth the senses and memory."*
Simply sniffing a sage leaf has been shown to improve mental clarity. Ingesting sage has benefits for mental processes as well.* A little sage left to dry on your altar space can help clear the mind and ready it for magical workings.
Place some sage at the base of a blue candle and burn the candle to dispel melancholy and mental malaise.* Sage also offers its power to protect the mind from negative energies, making it especially effective in driving off nightmares when placed under the pillow.
The use of sage is for healing. The smoke is used to bless, cleanse and heal the person or object being smudged. Sage is used to 'wash off' the outside world when one enters ceremony or other sacred space. Objects are likewise washed off with sage medicine smoke to rid them of unwanted influences.The plants that are called sage can come from very different families of plants. True sages are in the genus of Salvia; this includes Salvia Officinalis (garden sage) and Salvia Apiana (White Sage), also called California White Sage and Sacred Sage. Many of the herbs called sage come from a completely different family of plants, the Asteracea family. This family brings us the genus of Artemisia from which come New Mexico Sage (Artemisia tridentada), and the sage from the Dakotas (Artemisia ludoviciana), also called Grey sage, Prairie sage, Dakota sage, Lakota Sage and mistakenly sometimes called White sage. All of these sages (Salvia and Artemisia) are used for healing and cleansing. More can be learned from the book Sacred Sage, How It Heals.