February 13, 2023
for the possession of wisdom,
judgement, and experience.
When the chemistry of wisdom, judgement, and experience become alchemical, merging with mysticism, those who embody these energies are known by many names. We call them shaman, wise woman, mystic, prophet, medicine man, medicine woman, and sage. There are many other names in cultures around the globe. But why sage?
There is an understanding that these individuals, thus venerated, hold a depth of knowing and alliance with the natural world. And it’s global. The following poem is from what is considered China’s oldest mystical text, The Original Tao, written in the 4th century BCE. The reference here is to the energy of Qi; the energy that pervades all life, harmoniously linking the plant, animal, human and divine worlds, and enabling them to fulfill their potential.
The vital essence of all things:
It is this that brings them to life.
It generates the five grains below
And becomes the constellated stars above.
When flowing amid the heavens and the earth
We call it ghostly and numinous.
When stored within the chests of human beings,
We call them sages.
So, why sage? Doing a bit of etymological exploration, the word comes from the Latin salvus which means safe and in good health which reflects the healing and curative properties attributed to the sage plant. In English folklore, sage is said to grow best where the wife is dominant which, it seems to me, speaks to an interweaving of the plant and wise women. Healing and curative powers are generally attributed to those venerated within the many mystic archetypes, those who embody the energy that pervades all life.
Sage. It makes sense.