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Smudging 101: May The Cleanse Be With You

Sage, as per our modern-day interpretation "sage sticks," are an ordained cleanser of bad vibes. Burning sage remains an effective healing ritual for both spiritual ceremonies and the departure of bad people alike. The smoke is known to contain antibacterial properties which can keep infectious bacteria and viruses at bay, plus have a direct effect on reducing stress response.

Burning dried plants to produce smoke as means to purify the air and conjure healing benefits is an ancient tradition used to clear away negative or stagnant energy in a space, leave old relationships behind and move on to new ones. Celebrate different times of the year, to wake up feeling full of confidence, energy, and hope. It allows you to ease into the world of deep sweet dreams and invigorating sleep, to bathe away stress and feel more centred and protected from the world.

Many cultures and religious structures believe the smoke of burning plants carry prayers to the heavens. Our western culture most often pulls from the Native American Indian practice of smudge sticks and their use of dried herbs such as sage, sweetgrass, cedar, and lavender as healing plants.

What Will You Include?

Sage — considered one of the most prized and sacred herbs, sage instills peace + tranquility

Sagebrush — to treat wounds + headaches + colds

Cedar — protection + grounding

Eucalyptus — relaxing spa feel

Pine needles — cleansing + purification

Frankincense — to send prayers intentions to gods

Balsam fir — cleansing + purification

Sweetgrass — healing + purification + brings positive energy

Mugwort — lucid dreaming + purification + calming

Juniper — cleansing + purification

Holy basil (tulsi) — purification + calming

Rosemary — mental acuity + purification

Lavender — calming

Mullein — cleansing sickrooms + heals/improves respiratory function

Rose petals — luck + grief + attracts love + healing

Desert chaparral — negative energy clearing + protection + calm

Peppermint — healing + protection

Yarrow — eliminates toxins from the body

Lemon balm — spiritual cleansing + calm

Palo Santo Sticks — healing + good fortune

When making these you must exude positive thoughts and energy. You don’t need to say a prayer or speak out loud to harness the effects of smudging, but it is important to have an intention in mind. As you walk around your space, visualise the old, stagnant energy dissolving and fresh energy taking its place. You can also speak your intention out loud if you prefer, using a feather to disperse the smoke.

In order to make your sage bundles you will need to gather your dried/ fresh herbs or leaves and incense of your choice, along with twine or cotton thread.

Your first step would be to layer your ingredients, positioning the chubbiest bases of the largest leaves at the same level as each other. This makes the binding process a little easier.

Cut a piece of twine that is approximately 4 times the length of your bundle or longer. Make a loose knot on one end of the string, tighten it around the stems, binding the bundle. This should leave one side of the string a minimum of 3 times the length of your bundle.

With the long end of the string, begin to twist the bundle tightly, spiraling up towards the top of the bundle. Fold in any stowaways, tucking them under the string as you go.

Once you reach the top of the bundle, continue wrapping, crisscrossing the string as you head back down toward the base until the length runs out, eventually knot the loose end to the original knot at the root of the bundle very tightly, cutting the ends of the twine. Bear in mind that the leaves will dry and loose volume.

For best results let the bundle dry by hanging it upside down in a well ventilated sunny spot. Allow between 3 days - 3 weeks drying time.

To light your smudge stick your can place it in a fire-safe shell or bowl away from anything flammable, while keeping a close eye on it. Allow it to slowly burn itself out, this should take a few minutes depending on how you made it, or simply place the lit end under running water for a few seconds to put it out, subsequently laying it somewhere the herbs can breathe and dry out thoroughly, reusing it in the future until you can no longer hold it comfortably.

If you would like to incorporate small things like rosebuds and smaller herbs, first create your smudge stick, then go back and tuck them into the bundle where they feel secure.

Smduge sticks are a unique gift to make for friends and family, plus once you realise how easy and fun it is, you’ll be wrapping up all different kinds of herbs, leaves, incense and even crystals!

Here's A Few Reasons Why You Should Totally DIY Rather Than Buy:

1. Your bundles will smell a-maz-ing!

2. It's easy and can basically be free if you think ahead.

3. The whole point of this kind of spell or ritual is to connect with nature local to YOU, what’s better than using plants native to your local area?

4. So many people order sticks of Palo Santo and White Sage online that are both being over-harvested. This over-harvesting is damaging to the natural environment where they are grown, NOT in the spirit of honouring mother earth at all.

5. Smoke cleansing with Palo Santo and White Sage is culturally appropriating Native American smudging ceremonies, and means that there's a shortage for Native American people's religious and spiritual practices.

6. You have complete control over the intentions you put into growing and gathering your own bundles. You can send positive energy to the plant each time you water it and you know exactly how well it's been cared for. If you’re buying bundles online you’re getting a product which has picked up who knows what kind of energy from the harvester, the manufacturer and whoever else along the way.

7. Buying online also involves a whole lot of air miles - which again is very much not in the spirit of connecting with nature.

8. Growing your own is also much more fun and creative, which is exactly how a ritual should feel. You can mix herbs and get creative with your ritual practice and your own magick! I’ve mentioned Lavender and Rosemary but you can experiment with all kinds of herbs including homegrown Sage. You can even mix your herbs to make unique scents and experiment to find your favourite fragrances.

When To Do A Smoke Cleansing Ritual:

Smoke clearing makes a great space-cleansing ritual for a Full Moon

You can do it before an intention setting spell at New Moons

It can be carried out to mark pagan festivals like Ostara or Beltane to honour the energy of rebirth and resetting

Ultimately, you can do it anytime you want to reset the energy of a space

When NOT To Do A Smoke Cleansing Ritual:

If you are happy with the energy of a space it's best NOT to do any smoke cleaning. That’s because the aim of smoke clearing is to wipe the existing energy clean entirely. So if you’ve invested time or energy making a space feel positive already, it might be in your best interests not to carry out any smoke cleansing.

If you can’t open windows for any reason, skip the smoke cleanse. Open windows are important for ventilation and also provide an exit for the negative energies you’re clearing.

Don’t start your ritual if you don't have a fire-proof bowl or safe place to put your bundle once you’re finished. Make sure you get these ready before you begin.

Be extra careful if you or any people / pets you live with are sensitive to smells or smoke.

For so many important reasons making your own herb bundles is the ultimate way to instill more magic and good intentions into your rituals AND connect to nature and the turning of the seasons while doing so. Which is, after all, totally the whole point to carrying out rituals in the first place!

For a how to guide on carrying out your DIY smoke cleanse check out Heather’s instagram, or find out more about moon rituals check out Heather’s website or follow her. 

The content provided in our articles is provided for information purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice and consultation, including professional medical advice and consultation; it is provided with the understanding that YK DAILY is not engaged in the provision or rendering of medical advice or services. The opinions and content included in the articles are the views only and may not be scientifically factual. You understand and agree by reading anything on our website that YK DAILY shall not be liable for any claim, loss, or damage arising out of the use of, or reliance upon any content or information published. All images are from Pinterest, if you know the original creator please let us know, so that we can credit them.


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