A sage gathering and blessing event in front of the Ludwick Center on March 9 drew in many students who were eager to learn about the uses and importance of sage.
The event was presented by Trevor Thomson, director of music and liturgy at Holy Name of Mary Catholic Church in San Dimas, and Jose “Bear” Gallegos, an indigenous community member.
During the event, participants sang, prayed, called upon their ancestors, cut sage, and made sage bundles. A man known as Grandpa Raymond Stone passed down the songs used during the ceremony, and it was noted that he had gone to jail for leaving ceremonies in the past. The ceremonies were often done at night prior to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
While the ceremony was taking place, a hawk circled overhead along with butterflies and hummingbirds, which were seen as a sign that the ancestors were present. It was emphasized that it is important to follow the ways of the ancestors and to call upon them during ceremonies.
“Shout at the ancestors; they are here among us,” Thomson said. “The importance is the joy you feel.”
The songs were used to call upon the ancestors, and it was noted that it is okay not to understand the lyrics.
The full moon on March 7 is known as the worm moon, which is a time when worms start to come up. The ceremony is a way of signaling that spring is coming and it is time to start waking up. In Southern California, the full moon is a reminder that the medicine is ready to gather.
Sage is considered a medicine, and it is important to ask for its permission before cutting it. Bear explained that it is important to treat sage with respect.
“Sage is becoming extinct; it’s important and cultural to us, we put our energy on it, this doesn’t happen when it’s processed, it is not good to sell sage, it’s dishonorable,” he said.
He mentioned that when cutting the sage, it should be done with the left hand because it is closest to the heart.
During the ceremony, participants were invited to cut sage where it called them and wrap it using red string to make a bundle. The sage in front of the Ludwick Center is known as Bonita; it is extremely rare because it is one plant with two different types of sage.
“I didn’t really know what sage was, and I didn’t know it was on campus, but it was a really nice feeling connected to one another; the sun came out, and it got warmer,” Aki’yah Tribble, a sophomore legal studies major, said.
It was a first-time experience for many students, but they found it peaceful and fun.
“A hawk flew over us, and it was so cool. It was our ancestors and spirits. Bees were flying and butterflies; it was amazing,” Madison Bravo, freshman psychology major, said.
Students were told to keep this as a beautiful memory. The sage bundles would eventually dry out and are used to cleanse energy.
“I enjoyed that we lost track of time,” Thomas Taniguchi, freshman psychology major, said. “I have a class after this, but I don’t care to check. It is nice being able just to relax.”
The Sage Gathering and Blessing event was a peaceful and enlightening experience for all those who participated. The importance of respecting and honoring the traditions of the ancestors was emphasized, and the ceremony served as a way to connect with the natural world and the spirits that reside within it.
Jasmine Soria can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jasmine Soria, a junior broadcast journalism major, is a staff writer for the Campus Times.