Smudging is a widely used practice to cleanse the body, mind or space of any negative energy. There are several herbs that can be used and several ways to smudge but the most commonly used in our grove is a Sage Stick.
Light the stick and once you have achieved a decent burn you can extinguish the flames and let the sage smoulder. Using your hands, you guide the smoke around and over your body or space to be purified and through ritual or meditation you fill that clearing with your intent and fresh energy.
With this being our most common practice, I started to grow Sage in the garden and dry it to be used as offerings and for smudging. This year I am making my own Sage sticks and I wanted to share that experience with you.
I had sage from a couple years past that needed pruning so you will see both youngling plants and some that have clearly been around for a couple of years in this post. Once the sage is fully grown and ready to be picked you can trim the stem back about half way or, pluck leaves if you are looking to have loose herb. The best time to do this is late summer or early fall but my older plants were wild and crazy so I jumped the gun a little.
Making your sage bundle:
Once your have sized up your stems (I like to keep my sticks about 3-4 inches) you can then begin the binding process. (Note : I like to allow freshly cut branches to wilt for a day or overnight before beginning the next step.)
Bundle the branches together to your desired thickness (I go about an inch)
With the tips of the branches pointing down, begin wrapping the cord tightly around the base of your bundle. I use a natural twine or hemp cord for my bundles but many people prefer to use brightly coloured string. You will need about 4 times the length of your sage bundle.
Then, wrap the cord around the bundle (while firmly pressing the plant material together) working your way to the top of the bundle
When you reach the top, begin working your way back down toward the base.
Tie the two ends of the cord together at the base.
Trim the edges if you’d like to make it look all nice and neat.
Set the smudge stick to dry in a basket or on a drying screen for about 7-10 days. Alternatively, you can use a food dehydrator to speed up the process and have your bundles ready in a couple of hours.
In my garden, Sage seems to grow like a weed so this is a simple process for me. This is a fun activity and can be done in quiet contemplation or as a group/ family activity. It is enjoyable, productive and you can use it all year long for ritual. I would encourage you to give it a try but also to share your sticks with grovies, family and friends so that everyone can enjoy the fresh scent of sage and its purification properties.
Best of luck and enjoy!