8.03.2012

Homemade Smudge Sticks & Blessing Kits

Tomorrow is our local Homemade & Homegrown Food and Craft Swap so I've been busy cooking and crafting! I'm bringing some sets of my orange-blossom calendula body cream and lip gloss, as well as some yummy edibles (watch for a post to come on these), and a few homemade smudge sticks and blessing kits that I thought I'd share here.
All summer, I've been drying bunches of my homegrown herbs for use in the kitchen. However some I set aside to make smudge sticks. Smudging is the name for the sacred smoke bowl blessing of the native North American tradition. This powerful cleansing technique calls on the spirits of sacred plants to drive away negative energies and restore balance. Smudge sticks are traditionally made with dried sage, and a selection of other herbs. Mine are a combination of homegrown sage (transforms energy and brings change), rosemary (a powerful healer that brings clarity) and lavender (restores balance and creates a peaceful atmosphere; also attracts loving energy and spirits).
Mt lavender (acquired at a previous swap) was already dried, so I put it in the middle and arranged a  bunch of fresh sage and rosemary around it, all trimmed into about 7 inch-long sprigs. I tied one end of the bundle with a long piece of cotton string and wound it up and down the bunch until it was securely wrapped. Then I tied of the end with a loop to hang the stick for drying.
After drying inside a vented paper bag for several days, the smudge sticks were ready to go. For the swap, my blessing kits each contain one smudge stick, as well as a found cockle shell from my inherited family shell collection, and a small bag of local beach sand (our Siesta Key Beach has 99% quartz sand!). The sand goes into the shell "bowl" to offer a safe place to rest a smoldering smudge stick, and extinguish it after use. I've also included a found feather for wafting the smoke, and a vintage match book from another inherited family collection (my father collected matchbooks for years during business travels!). Finally, each kit includes directions for a self-clearing ritual utilizing the items included.
Smudging is something I do regularly, both in my home and in monthly new moon ceremonies with my sisterhood. It's a simple and powerful way to cleanse the spirit, or a space, and it smells so good! That said, I think this is my favorite "craft" item that I've prepared for a swap to-date!

A Self-Clearing Smudging Ritual
Adapted from "The Smudging and Blessings Book, Inspirational Rituals to Cleanse and Heal," by Jane Alexander.
  1. Light the end of a smudge stick and let it burn until the tip starts to smolder. Then extinguish the flame so the smudge stick smokes.
  2. Call on the spirits of the smudge to cleanse and protect you saying, "Sacred sage, drive away all negativity from my heart; take away everything unworthy and impure."
  3. First, waft the smoke towards your heart. Then take the smudge smoke over your head, down your arms, and down the front of your body. Imagine the smoke lifting away all the negative thoughts, emotions and energies that have become attached to you.
  4. Breathe in the smudge, visualizing the smoke purifying your body from within.
  5. Bring the smoke down the back of your body toward the ground. Visualize the last vestiges of negativity being taken back into the earth, and away into the air.
  6. As you smudge, imagine yourself being surrounded by gentle, loving energy - breathe in positivity, courage and love.
* You can adapt this simple ritual to cleanse your space, or another person.