Have you ever used a smudge stick? Smudging is a Native American tradition for clearing out bad energy in yourself and your space. I use smudging as a reset button for myself when I’ve been in high stress or toxic situations. This year I decided to make smudge sticks for myself and friends with the herbs from my garden.
I used sage (smudge sticks are traditionally white sage), lavender, rosemary, colored embroidery yarn, and colored twine (bought from Etsy.) The color of twine or embroidery thread you use can be what you prefer or perhaps have symbolism.
I wanted to do an initial wrapping in white, so after I bundled my herbs, I began to tightly wrap the ends (leaving a small tail to be tied off later). When you’re bundling, be sure to evenly distribute the leaves on the top and bottom of the stick, so that the amount of leaves is neither too fat or too thin in each area. You may have to cut off some longer stems to ensure you have leaves in the lower parts of the stick. Also, I wanted my lavender and rosemary to be in the center, so I bundled them this way. I used white embroidery thread since this is what I had on hand. This was my first time using this, and I would recommend twine for this layer. The embroidery thread is slick and doesn’t grip as well.
Here is the smudge stick after the initial wrapping. I started at the bottom, wrapped up, came back down, and tied the thread to the tail of my starting place. When you get to the top, you can either tuck a few leaves in or cut off the excess leaves to give it a “crew cut.” You can see examples of doing both in the picture below. I think it will be easier to light if you cut, and I will do that on all mine in the future.
I used the same wrapping technique to place colored twine on the stick. When you wrap with the colored twine, it doesn’t need to be as tight, and I tried to space it evenly since the color stands out more. (I’m giving some of them away, so I want them to look gift worthy.)
The smudge sticks need to dry. You can use a dehydrator, hang them outdoors in the sun, or place them in a paper bag in a warm,dry place. (Note: Don’t dry the sage or the rosemary prior to making the sticks. It makes them too brittle for wrapping. The lavender is fine either way.)
Maybe smudging isn’t your thing? You can also use the herbs I used here (or so many others!) to make fragrant fire starters for yourself this winter. An example of that is here on Haute Nature.