Smudge sticks and why we use them

There are so many variations on the market right now.  When somebody asks you to smudge you tend to automatically think of White Sage right away, and you would be correct as the Indigenous Americans have been working with this sacred herb for a very long time.

I remember having a conversation with a few friends on finding more local herbs to dry and burn so that we could preserve the White Sage for which the trend to 'Sage' has exploded. As a result, the plant is becoming more and more scarce. Poachers are incorrectly harvesting and over-harvesting sage to meet demand.  White Sage is a Keystone Species, meaning many organisms in its natural ecosystem rely on it to survive. And as the population is diminishing, it's negatively impacting adjacent plant and animal life, some of them endangered.

People post on Instagram about smudging and cleansing negative energy - I talk about it all the time and practice it regularly. But few can pinpoint the exact source of their sage and whether or not it was sourced sustainably.  I believe this comes to the ethics of the seller (me) and knowing the source and trusting the source.  I have looked deeper into it and started looking at local alternatives as well as other plants and in fact found that Cedar is a great option.  

Cedar leaves are similar in function and shape to white sage, but in smell similar to Palo Santo. You can bundle and smudge Cedar leaves, as well as white sage. The effect is not as intense as white sage, but is still experienced as healing. The bundles are, as the name already reveals, made of dried cedar leaves of the cedar tree. 

Unlike white sage, cedar smells a bit sweeter and increases the spiritual atmosphere. It calms and stimulates the self-healing ability.

The benefits of cedar sticks:

  • A good alternative for whom white sage doesn’t find a pleasant smell;
  • Clean your home with these pre-tied bundles;
  • Easy to use in combination with smudge bowls (I have some pretty Terracotta ones in this shop!)

Now of course some will prefer to use White Sage by itself, and others will add other herbs such as rose petals, peppermint and cinnamon.  

The combination of white sage and cinnamon sticks has a soothing and purifying effect. Cinnamon is known for its warming effect, both on your body and on your mind. White sage is known for its cleansing effects and the power to expel negative energy. In addition, white sage is soothing and refreshing.

The scents and effects of white sage and cinnamon

The interesting thing about cinnamon and sage is that they are two very different scents. It is precisely because of this that they complement each other perfectly. White sage is heavy and spicy. It is a soothing and invigorating scent. As soon as you burn sage, you are soon convinced of the cleansing feature of this herb.

Cinnamon is known worldwide. Both in the kitchen (stew, cakes, tea) and in products like essential oils, incense and scented candles. The scent is soft, friendly and sweet. This is also the effect that the scent has on your mind. Together with white sage, it soothes negative thoughts and creates a pleasant scent in your home.

Smudge sticks can be used for cleansing of the aura, for example before meditation or prayer, or they are quite often used by body workers and therapists before treatments.  Smudging has long been used to connect to the spiritual realm or enhance intuition. Burning sage or smudge can lift one’s mood it could also be a great ally against stress.

The practice of burning smudging is fairly simple - you can use any of the following:

  • A seashell
  • Ceramic bowl or terracotta dishes
  • Glass bowl
  • Brass singing bowls

to hold burning sage or capture the ash, (optional you can use feather or fan for fanning smoke).

How do you use a smudge stick?

The nice thing about smudging is that you burn pure, dried herbs. So there are no additions. The only thing you need is a smudging bowl (which can be found in this shop) or shell. As I mentioned above - you can even use your singing bowls if they are brass for example!  You put a few twigs in the bowl. Light them with a match or lighter, and wait until the twigs burn. Then you blow out the flame.

With a feather you can ensure that the scent of the herbs spreads extra well. This way you can perform the smudging ritual. If you really want to clean your living space properly, it is best to open one or more windows. So that negativity and unwanted odors can leave your home. You also ventilate your house, which always remains important.

Herbal smudging tips

Did you know that indigenous Americans united the four elements for their smudge rituals? Hereby the herbs represent the element earth, the combustion for fire, the smoke for air and a shell for water.

Here at KendaReiki, you will find a small range of different options for both the smudge sticks and the terracotta bowls. Just like with incense, it is important not to burn anything when you are not around. Always pay attention to pets and young children.

My suppliers have the smudges and loose sage leaves and this way you are ensured of the highest quality products that are offered to you. Before packing, the leaves were dried before they got sealed to keep each one in good condition, so I can guarantee that this white sage is mold-free.