What are they? Why would you use one? How are they made? What’s in them?
Well ... Smudge Sticks are bundled herbs. Usually sage, lavender, rosemary, thyme or any “woody” herb. The bundles can also be infused with essential oils and sometimes resins are used in them as well.
They are used for ritual work, cleansing of negative energy from the home, to invoke spirit and meditation. They can also be burned simply as an incense. Smudging is a ritual from Native American tradition. The idea behind smudging is that the smoke attaches itself to negative energy and carries it away, cleansing it at the same time so the negativity does not end up somewhere else.
Smudging can be used when you have felt ill, depressed, down, confused, unable to focus, have had unwanted guests, or just not yourself. I also use it with grounding meditations for balance and clarity.
You can purchase smudge sticks online or you can make your own! I prefer to make my own as not only do I grow my own herbs but I know then that all the energy within the smudge stick is pure and of positive energy.
To make a smudge stick gather the herbs you wish to use. Lay them out to dry. Once dried it will take some practice to get them laid out correctly to tie them into the bundle. You do not want too thin of a bundle as then it will burn too fast, although “woody” herbs do burn slower you will want a fairly thick bundle. Once you have them laid out properly tie them with a thin string, I have used kite string, thin twine, and sewing thread.
Once you have the bundle tied you light the tip and blow it out so that the stick will smolder and smoke but not continue to burn, just like a stick of incense.
To do a simple cleansing on your home to rid it of negative energy light the stick with a wooden match, wood matches are always preferred in ritual work over a lighter. Using as natural of materials as possible is key. Once lit walk about the parameter of the home paying close attention to corners, doors, windows, mirrored walls, and closets. Walk in as circular of a pattern as possible, fanning the smoke as you go. Before you begin this process it is best to have a clear intent for your work. Making a short prayer or statement as to why you are doing the smudging and what your intended purpose for it is will do.
Smudging can also be used in healing work by fanning the smoke over a person to pull out toxins and negative energies and replacing them with the healing abilities of the herbs. You can fan the smoke over the whole body, certain points of the body that need special attention or by fanning over each chakra point.
Smudge sticks can also be used to clean ritual tools such as crystals. Simply fan the smoke over the items and give thanks to both the item being smudged as well as the smudge stick for their help.
When putting your smudge stick out it is best to have a fireproof receptacle such as a shell, ceramic dish, etc. You can use sand, dirt or even the receptacle itself to tamp out the smudge stick. Just be sure it is extinguished before leaving it unwatched. Usually a smudge stick will go out on its own once you stop fanning it however it is always best to be safe making sure it is really out.
See below to order smudge sticks online or information about using smudge sticks and their history.
For another great article on smudging please see Ms. Yvonne's blog on the same topic here:
Why and How to Smudge
Article is used with permission by the author Azzrian Visions who is a dear friend and colleague of mine