Herbal smudges or burn bundles are a beautiful way to preserve wild or garden grown plants.
Smoke medicine has been used for centuries to cleanse the air of impurities, send prayers to great spirit, clear negative energies, and imbibe the room with uplifting aromas. The alchemy of the plant compounds in the smoke attaching to the particles in the air to difuse unwanted airborn particles and remove heavy energies is one of the least scientifcally studied but most profound traditional practices of plant medicine.
Smoke is a momentary manifestation of the transition between the material world and inmaterial. And as it moves across worlds it carries with it our intentions and prayers.
White sage has a long reputation as a powerful herb for smudging. In recent years there has been a lot of discussion of the ethics of harvesting white sage as the plant has become endangered in some places and some of the Native tribes who work with this plant in ceremony have asked for a more ethical approach to working with smoke medicine that does not include sage. The great news is that making homemade smudges from local plants gives you the same cleansing effect without the harmful impact on the plant communtiies!
Burn bundles are fairly simple to craft and make an inexpensive and intentional gift. Here's all you need to get started:
Plant material to wrap.
A good choice for the winter months are evergreen burnables such as cedar, rosemary, pine, or juniper. Other great choices are common garden sage, lavender, rosemary, or mugwort.
Cotton or hemp twine
How to make a smudge:
To craft your smudge, you must first gather fresh plant materials.
When harvesting always ask permission of the plant, give gratitude to the plant for allowing you to harvest from it, and utilize ethical harvesting practices by never taking more than you need any only harvesting from healthy communities of plants.
Once you have gathered your plant material, gather them into a pile and sort them into stacks or "bundles" of a similar size. You can choose to use just one type of plant or to combine different plants into your bundles.
Next, you will cut your twine at about 18 inches (or more depending on how long you want your bundles to be)
Holding your bundle of plant material together, carefully wrap the string around the bundle crossing the string over itself to hold the plant material in place.
Once it is wrapped, hang it in a warm, dry place out of direct sunlight to dry. After about a week, your bundle will be ready to burn and enjoy!