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How to Make a Sage Smudge Stick
Smudging

How to Make a Sage Smudge Stick
Smudge sticks are used in traditional Native American ceremonies to purify people and places. There are similar ceremonies in many cultures where herbs are burned for cleansing. Smudging can be used to counteract depression, anger or bitterness. If you would like to try smudging, it is very easy to make your own sage smudge sticks.

Difficulty: 
Moderately Easy 

You Will Need:
Western or desert sage 
Garden clippers 
Sturdy string 
12 by 18 piece of newspaper 

Procedure:
1 Cut the sage branches into 7 to 10 inch lengths.
2 Snip a piece of string 2 1/2 times the length of the cut sage branches.
3 Hold three branches together with the tips pointing down. 
Begin wrapping the string tightly around the base of the branches.
4 Wrap firmly, working your way to the tips of the branches. 
When you reach the tips, switch directions and begin working your way back up to the base of the sage branches. 
Tie the two ends of the string together when you reach the base.
5 Place the wrapped branches 1/4 of the way up from the bottom of the piece of newspaper, and fold the short end of the paper over the stick.
6 Use a firm, even pressure to roll the stick up inside the paper. 
When the paper is all used up, you have a smudge stick. 
Trim the edges neatly.
7 Dry your sage smudge sticks in a flat basket or on a screen for a week, and use them in your own smudging ceremonies.

Smudging
Smudging is the process of burning herbs, in the Native North American tradition. It is a way to cleanse negative influences from the body, an object or a given area. Smudging is a preparatory process for Vision Quest, in Sweat Lodge, in rituals and ceremonies. Smudging is a sacred ceremony, a tradition dating back to hundreds of years. It has its roots in the indigenous cultures of the world. Archeological digs reveal evidence of incense burning during rituals or ceremony. The priest waves his incense around the altar, then waves it in front of the congregation. In Bangkok, the evening breeze carries the smell of burning incense,the smell seems to pervade through the whole city.Some cultures perform a form of smudging after burial of a loved one, every member of the family is smudged prior to entering the house after the funeral. This is to ward off negative spirits roaming around the departed prior to death, especially after a prolonged illness and difficult death. It is also believed to banish lost souls who wander in the cemetery and "cling" to the grieving relatives. SMUDGING can be used to shield and ground us, strengthen our intentions before and after healing, initiation or ritual.It helps clear a room after an argument, protect a room from negative and other unwanted energies. Some herbs are believed to help in psychic work, visions and prophetic dreams. The surrounding area around the home, even he vehicles we own can be smudged for protection and to clear away unwanted and negative influence.

The Elements:
Draw upon the power of the elements to enhance the smudging process. Burning on a shell uses the water element.Water is flowing and filling. Use sand to line the bottom of the shell or ceramic container to represent Earth. The herbs are gifts of the Earth, this represents strength and creativity.Fire stands for courage, passion, and stamina.Lighting the herbs invoke this element. The smoke that rises from the herbs represent Air, this carries the prayers,intentions and release the negative energies. Each plant energy belong to one of the elements Drawing upon the element enhances the holistic energy the plant has to offer. The ancients used this knowledge in their workings,we can rely on their experience and wisdom.Trust that through the plant, we make a connection with the greater spiritual realm that stand behind the whole of existence. There is a fifth element- the Spirit. Smudging invokes this element. Combining the energies of the elements and that of the plant penetrate the physical and spiritual world.

How to Smudge: 
There are different ways to smudge, as there are herbs to use.Trust your intuition, be guided by your Spirit. Before smudging, prepare everything needed- the shell or ceramic container, sand or charcoal for a base, matches, decide what herb to use, feather or Peyote wand. It is not advisable to breathe on the herbs, this introduces unwanted influence. Fan with your hands if you do not have a feather available.But do not blow on the herbs. A moment's meditation to state the purpose of the smudging gives the process sanctity, reverence and it defines the sincerity of purpose. Invoke the power of Love and Peace as you smudge. Drive the smoke with the feather or your hands over the person, object or room to be smudged.

To Smudge a House or Room: 
Start at the main door. Go clockwise, thoroughly fan the smoke to the walls, around the whole perimeter of the room. every window, every door. Concentrate on your intention. You may want to do one room at a time. Give a good dose of smoke, think of the positive energy, positive thoughts as you wave the smoke throughout the room. Leave a small opening in the window to let the air take out the negative energy. Some will argue this point. Close the window,smudge again, this time with window closed to keep the positive energy in the room. After the process, light a white candle to "seal" the effects of the smudging. Do not forget to say a prayer of thanksgiving. A room can be smudged for different reasons- after an argument, when one feel something unpleasant or a negative energy around, smudging can help alleviate the negative effects.

Herbs Used for Smudging: 
AMBER is a sweet resin that can be burned on charcoal to release fearful and painful energy. It is often crumbled into massage oil as a healer for the skin or it can be rubbed directly onto the skin as a sweet subtle perfume. It brings awareness and joy.
BAY LEAF is traditionally used to protect against colds and flu.
COPAL ESSENCE is the traditional incense burned by the native peoples of Central and South America.This rich and fragrant smoke can be used for initiations and clearings,before and after healing experiences. Copal is resinous incense and must be burned on a charcoal tablet.
FENNEL is effective in repelling negative energies and calms the nerve. 
CEDAR,CYPRESS,JUNIPER Some Junipers are called cedar.Cedar is used as cleansing herb especially the desert white cedar. For smudging, the western red cedar. It is used to bless a house before moving in. It helps purify and "clear" the air as well as attract good energy. It is available in chipped form. Sprinkle it over charcoal in a brazier.Burning cedar with sage in a bundle is effective. Cedar and Sage Bundles are long, thick bundles that are individually wrapped and carefully decorated. These are especially helpful for burning to purify intentions or "clear the air," psychically.
LAVENDER It is one of the most useful herb- it can be used for healing, helps promote good wishes and sleep, it can also help attract men.
MUGWORT is probably the most widely used herb by witches. It promotes psychic ability and stimulates prophetic dreams. Mugwort is used for healing, divination. It is very good for astral projection. It can be burnt for rituals or before sleeping. Some find it mind-altering,so avoid using it before driving.
MULLIEN is an effective herb for healing emotional trauma. It is used for courage and protection from wild animals and evil spirits. It is useful for cleansing and purifying ritual tools and altars, sacred spaces and psychic places. It guards against nightmares.The smoke is believed to have a calming and grounding effect. It is often used at the end of a ritual, especially if mugwort was used at the beginning.
MYRRH used with frankincense,it is protective and purifying.
ORRIS ROOT The powder is used as a love drawing potion and increases sex appeal.When burned with celery seeds, it increases psychic gifts and concentration.
PINE It helps in finding focus, it helps in cleansing the atmosphere where it is burnt. The sawdust is used as a base for incense, and it is particularly associated with money. 
SANDALWOOD This has a high spiritual vibrations, advisable to burn with frankincense at the time of full moon. It is believed that anything visualized at this time will come true. It clears away negativity, it is good for protection and healing workings. 
SAGE there are two major genii and several varieties of each genus. Salvia, the herb used for cooking comes in two varieties, the Garden Sage and the S. Apiana. Sage is hand gathered and sun dried on sacred land. It's abundant smoke can be used for clearing the energy of your aura, crystals and rooms. It is also wonderful for preparing sacred space and sacred time. The White Sage has long been known for its healing . (This is not the same as the Garden sage)In the Sioux nation, the sacred pipe is kept in a bundle of sage boughs. Special crystals can also be kept this way. Sage is good for protection, and promotes financial stability.

CAUTION ABOUT SAGE: 
Some may be allergic to the smoke of sage,as with any allergic reaction,it is important to make sure it is safe to use this herb for smudging.

SWEETGRASS is important to the Sioux and Cherokee nations.Its botanical name is Hierochloe odoratis. It is braided like hair. It could be burnt by lighting the end or by shaving bits onto charcoal brazier. Sweet Grass Braids are hand gathered by native people of Canada. It is traditionally burned while offering prayers of thanksgiving. It is also given away as gifts to the nature spirits and our other teachers. Sweetgrass is burned after smudging with sage to welcome the good and positive influences after the negative has been driven away.
YERBA SANTA This herb has many medicinal uses. Burn it to nurture and protect that which is ancient. When you are feeling discouraged and you need a boost, use this herb for courage.
ALOE VERA is not used for smudging- it is used for protection, success and peace. It is widely known for its healing qualities, for treating wounds and for maintaining a healthy skin. Keep a pot of aloe vera in the house in ceramic pots, never in metal or plastic containers. Treat this plant with respect, ask permission when you cut a leaf off , respect the protective power of this plant is used to banish unwanted influence.

Remember to harm none!

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