My sage plants –who have seemed to play dead in past seasons– decided to go crazy this year! So Robin and Lynn from RL Linden & Co (you know, the awesome plant ladies who make amazing products and we all absolutely adore) came over to show me what I could do with them. I was super stoked they were up for doing this with me bc they’re currently prepping for their Autumn Witch & Bitch class they hold in collaboration with the lovely Shae from DRAM Apothecary. The focus this session is fire and they’ll be teaching a more in-depth look at smudging traditions.
In my yard I have Russian Sage with flowers, Silver Sage, and Lavender. We decided to use these plants to make smudge sticks. I have used smudge sticks of sage in the past to clear the air: lighting it I slowly and prayfully take it around the house and the corners of the rooms to refresh the stale air both literally and spiritually. I did this a lot when I was readying for Harriet’s arrival. And I recently did it when I had uneasy exchange with a stranger who was in my home to clean my couch. For me, it is a reset button of the energies in the home; making space for the good vibes I want to be surrounding my family.
I am not Native American and I understand I am not necessarily using smudge-sticks (not a Native American term) in the original way. Using the spirit of the tradition I must say here that I AM appropriating it for my use and do not claim to be adhering strictly to any historical cultural rituals. I mean not to offend and do believe strongly we all have a lot to learn from other cultures and spiritual practices. Being a Christian, I find that smudging my home –as well as meditating and celebrating new and full moons, among other non-Christian practices– has led me to a much deeper love of the God I serve of the world He created and all that is in it, as well as a deeper respect for the mysteriousness of the spiritual and mystical realm.
Robin and Lynn explained that first, before I begin harvesting the plants, I must give an offering to the ground from which they came. This time with them I gave a couple strands of my hair. When I went out another time, I spread cornmeal around the plants. Breast milk, they said, would also be a very meaningful option. Then, as I cut each stem I said a silent thanks for what I was able to receive. I must say this was my first time talking to plants and I felt humbled and grateful.
In addition to my sage and lavender, Robin brought some herbs from her home garden. Clockwise starting from the left and looping in is: || mugwort || silver sage (female) || lemon thyme || lavender || flowering oregano || lemon balm || motherwort || yarrow || spearmint ||
We laid them out and got to work. Essentially, you make a thick bundle of one or multiple herbs. I discovered that the smell of flowering oregano is quite heavenly indeed and the aroma that sage leaves on my fingertips is one I want to carry around with me everywhere. You can cut the plants to any length before you bundle or choose to have long bundles. I quickly took the cue from Lynn and Robin that there is no wrong or right way to do it. One thing for sure, it was a beautiful way to slow us all down in the middle of our busy day.I felt so blessed in this moment: crafting this useful and beautiful item while communing with women I greatly admire.
Once you have your bundle ready, tie a knot with your string (100% cotton) at the bottom around the stems leaving about 2 inches of loose string. Then tightly wind the string up around to the top of the bundle and then back down, overlapping the wound string, creating a criss-cross-like pattern. When you get back to the bottom, tie this end with the 2 inch loose string. You can choose to trim both ends to make them even, or let the tops frill out more wildly.
Once done, I tied more string around the bases and hung them from hooks in my porch to dry. I left them there just a little over one week. If you live in more humid climate (Denver is dry dry dry) then leave them hanging to dry for longer, or find a dry spot inside to either hang or lay them out. If you do lay them out, make sure you turn them throughout the week so that all sides can properly dry out.
We made lots! And I’m stoked to be offering one of the smudge sticks we made to one of you readers! In addition to a smudge stick, RL Linden & Co is adding their roll-on Ironwood Signature Perfume Oil to the pot. But wait! There’s more! DRAM Apothecary is also throwing in a tin of DRAM Woodlands Loose Leaf Tea.
Please leave a comment below saying what ceremonies or rituals (traditional or personal) you practice at home to focus yourself or calm yourself or get centered or send out good juju. Want more ways to win?
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I’ll pick a winner next Friday!
Awesome giveaway and great craft instructions, Em! I have a GIANT sage plant (mine also went crazy this year – think it’s because it’s been less dry!) in my garden plot and I have been pondering what to do with it. I will share a ritual for the contest, but also I have some questions about smudge sticks! First, ritual: it is not that remarkable or amazing, but here in the mountains, when the breeze blows, the air is often filled with the smell of juniper and sage. Whenever I catch it (often when I’m on the bike path walking to work or hiking) I pause, take a deep breath in, and thank God for making this amazing place my home. It always brings a huge smile to my face, and a feeling of overwhelming gratitude.
Ok smudge stick question: can you incorporate flowers into this? (my sage plant has purple flowers on it) and how much can I cut off my plant without killing it?
OHHHH. I want one! I love the idea of intentionally going thru and clearing the “stale air literally and spiritually”. Beautiful work ladies!
In the morning I set my snooze button and all of my animals get belly rubs and lovin. They enjoy it and it starts my day with the right energy. I am a veterinarian and I also offer up a breif meditative prayer before doing anything to my patients ( placing an acupuncture needle, etc).
I just moved into anew home and haven’t had a chance to smudge yet. Reading this reminds me that I need to do so. Thanks for the post!!
We have had a lot of strange things happen since we moved into this house. The previous owners son lived in the basement & after he moved out & was grown he killed himself. I felt something odd in the house & so have other family members, so a few years ago I did a sage ritual throughout the house, then I did it again. But we then got super busy with taking care of kids and aging parents. Sadly we have had two deaths and my mother has Alzheimer’s. I want to smudge my house again and like the idea of the homemade ones as I feel the bad kharma keeps sneaking back into this house. Can you use a sage stick just to carry in your bag to work to keep bad spirits away too? Does it have to be burned?