Smudge sticks are a custom from the Native American Indians, they are small, dried bundles of usually sage twigs that are burnt and the smoke wafted to clear bad or negative energies from spaces or people and for ceremonial blessings.
White sage was traditionally used but you can also use rosemary, thyme, rose or lavender to make smudge sticks. Below, for a New Year’s Day ritual, I made rosemary and thyme smudge sticks. In the Languedoc region of France the landscape of the ‘garrigue’ provides a multitude of wild herbs and plants for smudge stick making, so I was lucky to be able to harvest some fresh sprigs in the December sunshine!
To make the smudge stick cut and collect a number of sprigs from the rosemary, thyme or lavender bush, lay them out and arrange them into bundles. Choose a 100% cotton thread colour (the colour can denote a sentiment, i.e. white for purity, blue for healing, red for energy etc.) and tie a knot at the stalk end of the bundle:Then wrap the thread around the bundle in a figure of eight pattern going up and then finishing down at the stalk end again. Tie another knot to fix the thread. The thread must be cotton as it will need to burn harmlessly, i.e. nylon thread would melt and give off noxious smoke.
Hang up or lay your smudge stick bundles in a warm, airy place to dry out, they need to be completely dry before you can use them, this may take 2-3 weeks depending on the size and the freshness of your sprigs.
You can use your smudge stick to waft the smoke, customarily using a feather, around a room, and then if you leave it burning sit it in a fireproof dish.