Smudge sticks.


Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Making smudge sticks: advice, please
Date: 1 Aug 1995 04:09:39 -0400

Marina said:
:>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 have been making sage, lavender, rosemary and other herbal censing bundles for years.

There's one nearly foolproof way to eliminate many of the steps and achieve a tight 'professional' roll, ready for tying with coloured twine. I was taught always to honour the plant which I do by first asking its permission, then making an offering of a Jobe's plant spike - the solid fertiliser. After honouring the spirit of the plant, I cut, near the base four to ten (depending on the size you want it) stalks of any given plant. You may wish to wash the plant if excessively dirty, or not as you choose. Shake off most of the water and roll in several layers (about six) of cloth or paper toweling. Roll tightly, starting at one end, as if you were rolling a burrito or jelly roll. Tie the outside with twine to keep the towel from unrolling, or tape it, either one. Hang in a clean, draught-free place. In about three weeks you unroll the bundle and tie with any colour of twine you fancy. The resultant stick is tightly packed, tinder dry and well formed.

My favorite combination is lavender (L. augustifolia or munstead) and white desert sage which I wildcraft from flatlands near my home. Another heady aroma is fresh cedar (or other balsam/conifer) boughs and sage; either garden variety or desert.

One thing I have done which is especially easy with the rolling and drying method above is to insert into the bundle (before rolling) other fragrant herbs. Small chunks of copal, pinon or frankincense (olibanum) sprinkled randomly throughout works well - also sprinkling a set of boughs/branches with finely powdered resin dust. I love the fragrance of oakmoss; tucking a few bunches down the central portion of a roll of sage or sage and cedar is lovely. The commonly available true amber resin and its many cheaper imitations (most of which are simply crystallized essential oils mixed in labdanum concrete) both make good additions to a smudge stick: simply rub the resin or imitation across the leaves before rolling. Good luck!