The Indians taught me to use sage, tobacco, and sweetgrass. Some part of my spirit was small and believed in scarcity rather than abundance. I believed there was not enough of anything good to go around. My family taught me to share what I had with a good heart, and to never begrudge another's good fortune, but no one in my family believed in abundance.
When I first went into Lodge to pray, I did not believe I was personally worthy. I had to overcome a tremendous sense of racial guilt as well. My race had taken almost everything from the Indians and there I was, a new generation trying to appropriate what was left of their spirituality. I continued to go despite the guilt because it was profoundly healing. I continued to go because the man in charge of the Lodge believed anyone with a good heart was welcome.
That is where I learned about sage. There are few things in life that go deep, right into the core of your being, few things as necessary and as beautiful as breathing. Sage is one of those incomparable things for me.
It was almost impossible to use the first sage given to me. If I burned any, it was a tiny twig pulled carefully from a stalk, the fragrant smoke hoarded and shielded from dispersal with cupped hands and bowed head.
The man who ran the Lodge said sage was a gift from the Creator. It was medicine to be used and shared. The more it was used, the more there would be of it in our lives. I heard him say these words many times and did not doubt I understood. He was speaking English, my first language. But then came the instant when I at last understood.
I began to burn sage as if the Creator had personally handed me a never-ending bundle of it. I used it joyfully and abundantly, with an open heart. I fanned the smoke into my hair and into my clothes. I fanned it throughout my home. I freely gave it away. I knew there would always be sage in my life, as much as I wanted or needed. I would never run out of the Creator's sage. Abundance came into my life as an idea and as a reality. I learned abundance fosters more abundance in the same way being scared and stingy fosters more fear and scarcity.
My life changed the day I learned to use the Creator's sage with joyful generosity, even if for no one other than myself.
My profound thanks to the "Indins" (as Leonard would say). My profound thanks to the men and women of good heart who opened their Lodges to a scared and suffering white girl. You know who you are.