Learn how to make your own eco-friendly DIY smudge sticks, and find out why it’s so important to collect local and seasonal plants in your area.
Hello my beautiful friends!
Today I invite you to go out into your garden or the closest park/forest and find your own ritual plants, those that grow in your local fields and gardens, that developed thanks to the sun and rain of your part of the world … Depending on where you live, common herbs could be sage, lavender, mugwort, laurel, rosemary…
But first, let’s find out what are Smudge Sticks, why it’s important to find alternatives to Palo Santo and White Sage, and which other herbs can help us purify our homes, our crystals or our minds.
What are Smudge Sticks?
Despite their rising popularity worldwide, some people still don’t know what smudge sticks are and especially why they are so special.
Herbal smudge sticks are used in smudging ceremonies, “practiced by some Indigenous peoples of the Americas, that involve the burning of sacred herbs, in some cases for spiritual cleansing or blessing” (source).
Nowadays people worldwide have implemented the burning of herbal sticks, just like incense, outside religious or cultural traditions. Not out of disrespect or cultural appropriation, but as a way to embrace different cultures and bring back a spiritual level into our lives, that has been painfully lacking in the post-industrial era.
Why not Palo Santo?
WIth the Palo Santo craze that has taken the world by storm these last few years, the Palo Santo tree is now officially threatened with extinction. The global demand being too vast, for both spiritual and esoteric purposes, Palo Santo resources are currently being ransacked by unscrupulous people, obviously the ancient shamanic rituals of harvesting are not being respected, trees are becoming scarce, and soon they will disappear. History repeats itself.
Why not White Sage?
Just like Palo Santo, I do recommend the use/purchase of White Sage . The marketing of this sacred Native American plant is not without consequences for the environment: coming mainly from California, you can imagine its carbon footprint in order to be conveyed and sold all around the world.
So I do not encourage you to turn towards this sacred Native American plant for your practices and your rituals. It’s rather problematic to continue to feed farms and businesses that have nothing to do with the spiritual and sacred aspect of the plant.
Choose local, season herbs
Borrowing from the Locavore philosophy, it is equally vital to turn ourselves to the plants born in our regions for our spiritual practices, those that vibrate under our sun and that correspond to our own needs.
Whether you want to smudge, purify, meditate, please let’s all rethink our practice and its impact on the planet and the ecosystem. Do we really need to appropriate ourselves of the rites and herbs of remote cultures that we know so little about?
We cannot claim to be spiritual beings if our actions participate in the destruction of flora and fauna, sacred or not (all Forests and all Animals should be sacred, in my opinion). I invite you to reinvent your own spirituality so that it connects you to Mother Earth at an even deeper level.
Grow your own garden (or just a little plant in a pot), appreciate what flourishes around you, establish that your territory and what grows on it, is sacred and in connection to you.
Which herbs to choose, and what are their properties
✼ Lavender: used for cleansing, protection, happiness, healing, purification, tranquility, sleep
✼ Mugwort: getting rid of negativity, lucid dreaming
✼ Juniper: purification, invigorating for both body & mind
✼ Common Sage: meditation, cleansing, purification
✼ Rosemary: cleansing, invigorating
How to make your own DIY Smudge Sticks
To make your own herbal smudge sticks will need:
- ❥ fresh herbs (5 to 10 sprigs per smudge stick)
- ❥ flowers and petals
- ❥ natural twine
- ❥ scissors
- ✩ Whatever your beliefs, put yourself in a state of gratitude and appreciation for the harvesting and bundling session. Be sure to correctly identify the plants, and only gather plants that are abundant and haven’t been sprayed. Also never take too much from one plant — cut a little and then move on to the next one.
- ✩ Cut a few sprigs from the plant.
- ✩ Lay your sprigs in the same direction. You can prepare your herbal smudge sticks with only one type of plant, or you can prepare mixed bundles comprising different plants, herbs and flowers. For these I used fresh common sage, a little lavender and rose petals – all rigorously freshly picked in our garden at The Burrow.
- ✩ Remember that your smudge sticks will shrink considerably as it dries, so make it plumper than your desired final size.
- ✩ Using any kind of natural twine (rafia, cotton etc), cut a piece that is 4 times the length of the stick.
- ✩ Tightly encircle the base of the bundle and tie it off in a knot.
- ✩ Wrap your twine up spiraling around the sprigs, remembering to pull the string as you go.
- ✩ If you want a neater edge, fold or cut the extra bits over at the top (I like the natural look!).
- ✩ Crisscross back down with your twine at a diagonal angle, crossing over the first loops.
- ✩ Encircle the base again, tie off the string at the bottom and cut the excess twine.
- ✩ Dry your bundles by evenly setting them apart or hanging them, preferably in a dry room.
- ✩ After 2 or 3 weeks, your herbal bundles should be ready: if a leaf/sprig breaks when bended, it’s ready to be burned!
- ✩ Once fully dry, you might want to store your smudge sticks in big glass jars to preserve the freshness, the aroma and the essential oils of the plant.
And there you go, now you know how to make your own DIY smudge sticks and you’ll never need to buy them again. Did you enjoy this post? Let me know in the comments down below which are your favorite plants and for what reason.
Also don’t forget to pin this post to share the good vibes ♥
I wish you a love-filled day xoxo