A bundle of herbs with a pink flower on it. Behind it, there are rows of crystals and more herb bundles.

Sustainable, Spiritual Living

By Caden Ziegler
Web Content Contributor

The metaphysical and spiritual fad taking over is something that is amazing. People are awakening, and growing in a way that is so great and cleansing. That being said, there are some things we need to consider when trying to “zen it up.”

One trademark of being spiritual is burning sage to clean your space and get rid of any negative energy. Another is having rows and rows of crystals around you, and maybe even some essential oils scattered in the medicine cabinet. Again, these things are all fantastic, but not when we aren’t careful about where they are sourced and how powerful they are.

Let’s start with sage since it is such a staple for people like us. While sage is fantastic for clearing out all the bad energy, you have to be careful with where you’re getting it. I have seen so many stores that sell sage, only to look up the brand and find that it is being harvested in an unethical way that ruins the point of burning sage.

These gifts from nature are only really effective if they are grown properly. Do you really want to be trying to sage a space with a bundle that is grown in the incorrect season, in a place where it shouldn’t be growing, and harvested without any kind of care? I know that I wouldn’t.

With sage being so popular, there are concerns that it’s too high in demand for nature to provide in a sustainable way. Luckily for all us woo-woo’s out there, there are plenty of alternatives to sage burning. Some cleansing herbs to burn include the likes of rosemary, eucalyptus, and juniper.

A bundle of needle like leaves wrapped in an orange cord, with a slice of dried orange wrapped with it. It rests on grass covered with early morning dew droplets.
Rosemary is a known substitute for almost any plant in energetic workings. It grows great in Texas weather, and can be snipped and tried to create your own smoking bundle. Image by Caden Ziegler. 

Of course there are somethings that can’t be grown or bought locally, so if you’re going to buy something, make sure it is coming from a sustainable and ethical farm. For things like Palo Santo, or Holy Wood, there are a few sites that are trustworthy. One good source I found was Mountain Rose Herbs. They seem to be pretty legit in their mission to sustainably harvest this deliciously sweet tree.

No matter if you grow your own herbs or buy them from a retailer, remember that sustainable farming means sustainable energy. Doesn’t that sound so much cleaner than burning that two dollar smudge stick from the gas station?

Unfortunately, there are some spiritual tools that we need to just stop buying. One of those is sandalwood. I know, I know— it has such an amazing smell that you never want to give up, but the fact is that sandalwood is going extinct and most of the stuff we buy has been harvested in an awful way.

Sandalwood is originally from India, but it has been brought to Australia and Hawaii for conservation efforts. Unfortunately, the trees aren’t the exact same as the ones in India. There are few restrictions, so people are illegally harvesting them all of the time. It can take up to 80 years to mature for spiritual use, but people are cutting them down young and smuggling the tree so they can sell more product. But again, this isn’t good for us or the trees. So I am getting off my soapbox, but I know that I won’t be using sandalwood as long as it is still going extinct.

Hopefully you’re seeing a pattern here: if it is taken from the Earth in a bad way, you shouldn’t be using it. The same thing goes with stones and crystals. I don’t want to be calling stores out, but Earthbound trading company doesn’t have real crystals. I mean, yes they are crystals, but they are all dyed or chemically transformed. If you are going to be using crystals to make your space more spiritual, then you need to do your research. Look up how the stone looks in it’s natural from. Typically, when an amethyst or a citrine is incredibly vibrant, it’s either dyed or man-made from regular quartz.

For me, the whole point of having crystals and burning herbs is to be more connected with the Earth and myself, but I can’t exactly do that if the herbs I am using were harvested in a way that hurt the planet, or the crystals by my bed are infused with chemicals and corporate greed. One major goal of spiritualists is to be mindful, but sometimes that means being conscious of where your materials are being harvested and how they are treated. So next time you want to buy some sage from a chain store, try finding some wild rosemary and take a few clippings with permission. Trust me, it makes your space a hell of a lot lighter.

Featured image by Caden Ziegler

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