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Smudge sticks.

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Making smudge sticks: advice, please
From: cdeleo.lamar.ColoState.EDU (Claire DeLeo)
Date: 20 Jul 1995 21:40:37 -0600

Michael J. Corrigan (corrigan.weber.ucsd.edu) wrote:
: Marina Wolf <cn.jpg.forsythe.stanford.edu> wrote:
:>1) Is sagebrush, in fact, what those commercially-made smudge sticks are made of? The one I bought says "sage"...I don't think it matters, because it smells the same to me, but maybe it does.
:>2) I figured that the sage(brush) has to be dried a bit before using, so I have bundled it together at the base of the twigs (making two or three small broom-shaped bundles) and I have them hanging from a clothes hanger in the dark space behind my bedroom door. Is there anything else I should be doing to it? How long should I let it dry?
:>3) Once it is dry, what is the best kind of thread to use in binding it into the traditional, tighter sticks? Does anyone have any tips on the binding techniques, and then what about storage?
:>I appreciate any advice on this, but if no one can help, I'll just fumble through, probably. In the meantime, the hanging bundles of sagebrush are making the apartment smell quite nice. Thanks in advance!
: I have a 29-page booklet called "Sacred Sage: How it Heals" by Silver Wolf Walks Alone. I paid $4 for mine at a bookstore.

In making smudge sticks, use your common sense! You don't need to pay money to buy a book on it. If anything, you should ask someone who is Native American. There are two newsgroups for this, soc.culture.native and alt.native (something like that, I can't remember exactly.

In any case, experiment. There is no right way to make smudge and you don't have to use any particular type of sage. Depending on what tribe you are from, you will use a different type of sage, or you won't use sage at all! I think big sagebrush (Artemesia tridentata) is the one that is sold commercially, but I have used white sagebrush (Artemesia ludoviciana) and fringed sagebrush (Artemesia frigida). I think it is a matter of personal taste if it is not a tradition in your family. (I quite like white sage, Salvia apiana. -Henriette)

If you want bundles, wrap them before you dry them. Then, when they are dry, remove the thread. Again, it doesn't matter what type of thread you use. You don't even need to bundle them. That is a personal thing too. I know natives who don't bundle their smudge. I personally think it is more convenient to burn bundles. Sometimes, if I have time, I braid four branches of sagebrush together.

As long as you are respectful of the plant, it really doesn't matter what you use for smudge. I am assuming that you are using it for cleansing or pray. If so, you could pray and ask what kind of sage (or sagebrush) you should be using.

I am not native myself, but have learned some of this through my native friends and some from experimentation. I think if you are going to use something from Native American culture, you should have the respect to ask from the source, instead of buying a book or buying overpriced smudge from some non-Native who exploited Native culture to make a buck. You learn a lot more that way, and it is more considerate of Native Americans.


From: Jeanne Ross <ross.together.net>

cn.jpg.forsythe.stanford.edu (Marina Wolf) wrote:
>1) Is sagebrush, in fact, what those commercially-made smudge sticks are made
of? The one I bought says "sage"...I don't think it matters, because it smells the same to me, but maybe it does.

When we were out in S. Dakota we collected sagebrush. I don't know if it's what is sold commercially but it has the same scent and because I know where I got it it has more meaning.

>2) I figured that the sage(brush) has to be dried a bit before using, so I have bundled it together at the base of the twigs (making two or three small broom-shaped bundles) and I have them hanging from a clothes hanger in the dark space behind my bedroom door. Is there anything else I should be doing to it? How long should I let it dry?

I found it easier to make the smudge sticks before it was completely dry because it crumbles easily when it's dry.

>3) Once it is dry, what is the best kind of thread to use in binding it into the traditional, tighter sticks? Does anyone have any tips on the binding techniques, and then what about storage?

I used the thread that is used for needle point. I didn't separate it into the little threads you would for doing needle point though. I tied a knot around all the stems then wound the thread around the bundle to the tip then I wound it back to the stem. It's kinda hard for me to describe it! I store the bundles I'm not using in a brown paper bag. Don't let them get too moist or they will mildew.

>I appreciate any advice on this, but if no one can help, I'll just fumble through, probably. In the meantime, the hanging bundles of sagebrush are making the apartment smell quite nice.

I was four weeks pregnant when we made out trip out west. I found the smell of sagebrush in the car helped calm my nausea.



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