The rise of smudge sticks in the Illawarra

Alternative Therapies, Local Business Articles

There’s a buzz about town lately and it might surprise you. It seems that the practice of “smudging” (the use of smoke to clear negative energies away) is growing in popularity in the Illawarra area…

So, exactly what is smudging?

Smudging is the term given to the deliberate burning of selected herbs to create smoke, which is then used to clear negative energy from within a space or away from a person.

Smudging is an ancient practice that has been widely used from the eastern philosophy of Feng Shui to ancient Indian, indigenous African and traditional Native American ceremonies.

places to buy sage sticks near wollongong

In Australia, smoke has been used in indigenous ceremonies for thousands of years and is also seen as a common part of ceremonial practices in the Catholic Church through the burning of Frankincense. It’s apparent that humans from all over the globe have recognised there is something behind the practice of smudging. While you might be sceptical of the benefits of smudging, it turns out there is actually some science to back up the theory behind the practice, which I’ll get to shortly.

If your mental image of the person who burns sage sticks is one of a saggy-titted hippy in a tie-dyed kaftan, think again. It turns out that sage smudging sticks are in high demand all over the Illawarra and the people who are using them are relatively (wait for it) …normal!? I’ve seen the evidence for myself!

I recently visited the Wollongong Ishka store and spent about 30 minutes perusing the eastern flair furniture and jewellery. In that time, three separate people approached the counter enquiring about whether they stocked smudging sticks or where to buy sage sticks in the Illawarra. I peered around the rack of crystal pendants to get an eyeball on these smoke wafting creatures and was surprised to see they were all unassuming “regular” looking women in their thirties or forties… (shaved armpits and everything!)

smudge sticks for sale near me

Fast forward a few weeks and I found myself chatting to the shop owner of a local organic store. She tells me that they’ve been getting people coming in week after week wanting to buy sage smudge sticks. “I don’t know what’s going on, but there’s a whole lot of people clearing negative energy from their houses in the Illawarra! We can’t keep up with the demand!”, she laughed.

I decided to test the theory that more people were on this bandwagon than I realised by asking a couple of my neighbours casually about it. (I live in a particularly friendly part of the Illawarra and my neighbours and I regularly borrow things such as sporting equipment or pantry items from one another.)

The first neighbour I asked is a pretty typical, tattooed Aussie bloke with a young family who enjoys food and practising martial arts. When I asked if he had any sage smudging sticks lying around that I could borrow, he said no, but didn’t flinch. No weird looks, no “what’s that?”… just no – as if I’d asked if he had a tin of tomatoes I could borrow.

My second neighbour is slightly more alternative. Married, two young kids, but passionate about organic food, screen free parenting and the great outdoors. My question of “Hey, do you have any sage smudge sticks I could borrow?” was met with a raised eyebrow and an apologetic laugh. Apparently, smudging is a little further along the hippy spectrum than her “norm” and she was amused to see I was taking things to another level. Still, she knew exactly what they were!

smudging sticks stockist near me

how does sage clear negative energy?

It turns out, the ancient practice of smudging really does improve the air in a space, as the burning of sage and other herbs offers antiseptic, anti-bacterial benefits and releases negative ions into the air. This balances out positive charge in the air that is caused by electromagnetic fields from televisions, computers, wifi and mobile phones and is the same effect that causes people to incorporate salt lamps or indoor plants into their homes. A 2007 paper published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology concluded that smudging indeed offers air purifying and health benefits by removing up to 94% of harmful bacteria for up to 24 hours. Maybe this explains the recent spike in Illawarra smudge sticks being sold, with the well publicised flu epidemic upon us this season?

The process of smudging your home is an exercise in mindfulness in itself. By methodically moving through each room with a clear intention, it becomes an act of moving meditation that can have positive effects such as reducing stress, improving sleep and boosting one’s mood.

Why use white sage for smudging?

While there are a range of herbs that can be used for smudging purposes, the most popular is Californian white sage due to its healing and antibacterial properties. It has traditionally been used as a powerful clearer of unwanted energies and is considered a sacred and powerful herb for healing and cleansing both people and spaces. Interestingly, the Latin word for sage, ‘salvia’ originates from the word ‘heal’. In addition to purifying the air, white sage is said to aid with sinus infections, sore throats, menstrual pain and increased alertness.

Where can you buy sage smudge sticks in the illawarra?

Sage smudge sticks can vary in size and quality. It is not necessary to use a whole stick at a time, in fact you will get several “smudgings” from a single, quality sized bundle. If you are wondering where to buy sage smudge sticks in Wollongong or the Illawarra area, try contacting Figtree Holistic Therapies by emailing or send a message to Figtree Holistic Therapies business page on Facebook. Judy can also provide a wealth of information and advice on smudging practices and other ways you can improve the energy within your home.