Sunday, September 22, 2013

How to Make a Smudge Stick

 The first of many posts about my Salem visit. While there, walking the streets and shops and cemeteries and seeing what has come to be after the generation-spanning effects of the witchcraft hysteria and trials, I saw "smudge sticks" being commerically sold. A smudge stick being, simply, a bundle of dried herbs used for any number of religious and/or spiritual rites through burning. With thoughts of stories where sage is burned to cleanse malicious spirits or release energy, I was intrigued, and thought of the herbs I had growing back at home.

 Some online research shows the worlds the customs of making and burning smudge sticks have become. Attempted definitions refer to customs in the spirit of some unnamed and hard to trace Native American, or otherwise indigenous, spiritual practice. The history of smudge sticks seems to have deriven from specific Native practices, and has-- while still being practiced for those original purposes-- been repurposed, and often commercialized, to become a practice of using a calvacade of herbs for an equally as diverse number of spiritual purposes.
What you will need. 

 And so, with due respect to the practices, religions, customs and beliefs of those who lead to the creation of this practice, I made some smudge sticks, using a number of how-to directions from the Internet. This is what I found, and how I did it. Many other blogs, articles and websites-- such as here at have far better directions than I will on how to do this-. So, if you will: take this as one ghost's experience making herb smudge sticks, for the first time.

 What You Will Need:

 -Freshly cut or dried herbs. (I used sage, lavendar and rosemary, freshly cut.)
 -A pair of scissors.
 -Some string or twine.
 -Patience. (The drying process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a month.)

Step 1: Harvest or cut your herbs. Place them into roughly neat bundles, and make an effort to line up the bottoms of the stems as best you can.

Step 2: Take your string. Cut about 5 feet, 8 inches of string for each stick you will do. I found it worked best to have the string pre-cut, before starting on the bundle for each smudge stick. Drape about an inch of string over the end of the stems, at the bottom. Take the other side of the string, and wrap the string, at the same point/place, several times. About four to five.

 Step 3: Take that string, and at an angle, begin to wind the string up the bundle. Half way to the top, take the string and wind a few times at the same point for support.

 Step 4: Repeat the winding of the string a few times once you have reacher the top. Leave some space at the top as you will, once finished, cut a bit of the top to make the stick even.

 Step 5: Wind the string downward, going back to where you started. Once you have reached the end, you should have roughly the same amount of string left as the inch or so you hung off at the beginning. (However, if this isn't the case, don't fret; you may cut them to make the stick even.)

 Step 6: With the end you have been winding together at the original, other half of the string, tie 2-3 knots for support.

 Step 7: Cut any excess string down as much as possible. Also cut an even line at the top of your stick; do the same at the bottom. Feel free to trim any excess herb sticking out of your bundle you feel necessary.

 Step 8: And so you have your smudge stick. Find a place to hang your stick(s) to allow them to dry and form. Some writings say to place the sticks in a paper bag while you hang them, to protect them from light which causes their color to fade as they dry.

 Step 9: Wait 2-4 weeks for the sticks to dry. Some sources say a full month, others 2-3 weeks. I'm going with 2-4 weeks.

 Step 10: Then, you will have your smudge stick. With herb combinations such as sage and rosemary, used by many traditions for spiritual and energy cleansing purposes, you will be ready to burn, in a fire-resistant container, your smudge stick.

 Once I have reached this point and have experience enough to write about it, I will do another post and link here for an update.

No comments:

Post a Comment