How to make smudge sticks

Smudging is a Native American practice used to cleanse and purify spaces, people and places. It involves the use of a baton of rolled up herbs such as sage or rosemary known for their cleansing and healing properties – mugwort is a great one to use in a native smoke over here.

These herbs are dried and formed into baton shapes and when lit lit produce aromatic grey smoke. The smoke is then wafted around a space that needs cleansing. It can also be used to cleanse a person and is great to do after having an argument or if you are feeling a little down.

When I recently moved into my new home I ‘smudged’ my house using a smudge stick made by my herb tutors The Seed Sistas. There is quite a funny story about this;

My friend Natalie came round one evening soon after I’d moved in, bringing her African drums and mantras for us to recite. We performed a ceremony leaving the curtains and windows open to shoo away negative energies. We had a lot of fun doing it and made quite a bit of noise in the process!

The following week I went to my new local pub where the locals get together on a Friday evening. After being introduced to one of the lovely locals he said

“so you’re the lady that bought Brian’s place”

“yes” I replied rather hesitantly, “why do you ask?”

“What’s all this about an exorcism?” he asked.

“Errr not sure I follow….”

“People have been telling me that you employed a monk to perform an exorcism on the cottage” he said

At which point I nearly spat my drink over the bar – I was in stitches! “Well my friend Natalie is the best looking monk I’ve ever seen!”

Needless to say he also saw the funny side, particularly whenI offered to bless his drink!

In spite of my witchy ways I have been very warmly welcomed to Hinton St George which is a delightful village inhabited by some wonderful folk.

I recently had a go at making my own smudge sticks together with my friend Patch and his daughter Lily. Having foraged for some local flowering Mugwort we selected more fine herbs from their abundant garden and here’s what we did:

Step One: Harvest some Mugwort that is just flowering and cut to about 50 -60cm in length (the Mugwort is the plant on the right of the picture – the leaves have silvery undersides and the flowers are little white balls)

Step Two: Harvest other herbs of your choice. We used lavender, rosemary, sage and lemon balm

Step Three: bend the Mugwort length in half and add other herbs of around 30cm in length to your ‘bouquet’

Step Four: Wrap some string around the bundle of herbs – we used bindweed because we liked the idea of using natural material. Start at the bottom and work your way up, you may need to use a few pieces of bindweed to do this

Step Five: Mix them all up and play the game ‘guess who made which smudge stick’ – apparently you can tell a lot about a person by the way they tie their smudge sticks. Lily was a very good guesser!

You can now leave them to dry in your airing cupboard or a dark end of a warm room

More on the Seed Sistas smudge stick recipe here
More on the history of smudging here
You can click here for more information on how to smudge your house or yourself

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