Craft Corner

Smudge Sticks
By Tabitha Chamberlain

2015-12-28 11.33.46

At the end of last year's growing season a friend gave me bunches of lavender, rosemary and sage straight from their garden. They were cut straight from the plants: buds, leafs and stems all attached. It was awesome using rosemary and sage straight off the stem. Lavender I tend to use as incense more than anything, as I don't have any cooking experience with it. 

I cleaned up the bunches, pulling out all of the things that didn't belong. Other leaves, strings, dirt things like that. Than wrapping them loosely in twine and hang them in the my kitchen. The smell was wonderful. After letting them dry for roughly a month I laid them on wax paper and started stripping away the leaves and buds from the stems. 

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The leaves I put in to small jars that I've saved from other things, writing the name of the herb and closing it tightly. I can use these either for cooking, incense, or other spell work. Or I can bind the leafs of the herbs and burn them as smudge sticks as well. 

What most people fail to realize that some of these herbs you can use the stems as well. Now keep in mind you're going to have to do a bit of research to find out specifically once ones are safe to do this with. All plants are not safe to burn just as not all of them are safe to eat. Also what smells good fresh from the garden doesn't always smells good when smoldering. 

Most stems don't have the same strong smell as the leaves do, but still carry the same properties as the leaves. If you want to use the entire plant this is a good way to do that. 

To make smudge sticks you're going to need: 

Your choice of herb stems or leaves
Thread or string in any color

I personally use embroidery thread it's thin enough to burn easily and cleanly, but strong enough to hold together tougher stems. If you do spell work you can also choose colors to coordinate with what you're working on. 

If you're using stems make sure to strip them as clean as possible from all extra stems, leaves, and flower buds. Once you're done gather them together making sure they are all of similar height and width. While you can't truly control width of the stems you can cut them down to match the size. 

The wider stems will be harder to light because of that make them your center of the smudge stick. Work all others stems around that one or two. Taking the string tie off the bottom of the stems leaving about ½ to hold on to when you're smudging. The best way to tie is to have smudge stick in the center of the string so you have two long tails. 

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Taking these two long tails weave them around the stems like you would braiding. Trial and error on my part, don't just weave to the top and tie it off. This will cause the string to snap and nothing to hold your stems together. Instead at each circle around the stems tie it off. This is going to keep your stems together making it easier to use the smudge sticks without having to light individual stems. 

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Leaves are exactly the same way again making sure it's safe to burn them before doing this. Yet just repeat the same process you'll have a leaf smudge stick. They are a little harder to work with so I would suggest pulling out the larger leaves to use as your smudge stick and the smaller ones to cook or do spell work with. 

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