- wise, especially as a result of great experience
- a plant whose greyish-green leaves are used as a herb to give flavour to some foods
Wisdom is obviously an important part of this plant’s character! In particular, wisdom that comes with age and experience and doing and reflecting. It is the knowledge that is amassed over a long, filled life.
It is said that “the desire of sage is to render man immortal”; this plant knows the secrets of life and death and the deep knowings of the world. Sage invites respect from us and reminds us how to move through the world respectfully.
It’s name comes from salvere, to be in good health, to cure, to save. And indeed, the kind of wisdom aquired through long life can save. Sage is known to be a humble kitchen herb, but it also has valuable medicinal properties.
Historically, it has been used to help snakebites, to increase fertility, as a diuretic, as a local anesthetic. It was one of a number of herbs said to ward off plague and was also used for a number of mental health conditions. Like Rosemary, it was said to clear the mind, to enhance memory and to aid wisdom.
I believe that sage contains estrogen or a similar chemical and this then sheds light on why it has been used since ancient times for fertility, for menopause and for other menstrual problems. I think I read somewhere that it was also used to try and get rid of unwanted pregnancies as it can stimulate early contractions.
From a more symbolic perspective, it is said to release blockages in the throat chakra which are hindering expression and communication. It helps with processing and experiencing emotions, feeling them and letting them move on.
Ritually, sage has been used for a very long time to ward off evil and today, sage smudges continue to be a popular way of cleansing ones home or self. It is used to purify, to mark the start of ceremony and as part of initiations. The wisdom of this herb makes life transitions, the times of initiation (into adulthood, into parenthood etc), easier. It is a reminder to listen to those who have gone before you and to learn from them.
Sage is associated with Sagittarius and Jupiter. Sagittarius ends with the winter solstice, another time of transition and initiation into the new year. This is a time of darkness and reflection and introspection. Sage can help us with these experiences, shedding light on our thoughts and feelings and helping us to heal emotional wounds. Sage takes the experiences and lessons from the year that has gone and turns them into wisdom for the year that lies ahead.
None of the above should be considered medical advice, do not eat anything unless you’ve done your research. Plants go by different names in different places and have different properties at different times of year. Some of the possible uses of this plant have come from folklore and should not be taken as fact.