pantry magic: DIY smudge sticks
Palo Santo is literally keeping me sane these days. So much so, my shower routine has basically evolved into a full-on seance. I make my bathroom nice and dark, burn the sweet smelling wood, light a three-wick candle, and play songs that put me in a state of bliss (yesterday I was in the mood for Lemonade). Something about the experience is SO calming. It’s like I can feel my anxious thoughts being trapped in the particles of water and smoke, the billows of steam carrying them out through the bathroom door. An auditory and olfactory production of sorts guided by Beyonce’s haunting vocals and flickering of flames. Incredibly dramatic for a shower, huh?
With all the sh*t that’s been going on, it’s no wonder smudging has become a more frequent practice for me. I used to think of it as a “special treat”. A deep cleanse, similar to how I would use my fave mask or facial peel from the ridiculous collection of skincare products I keep above my sink -- a small fortune, really! But now that I have the luxury of making my well-being a priority, the privilege of which is not lost on me, I am allowing the practice to be something I do on the daily. Don’t get me wrong, I still treat these ancient plant medicines with the utmost respect. We even wrote a whole blog post about that you can find here. But now more than ever, I’m finding myself turning to the spiritual wellness practices that give me the most joy, the ones that help me feel like my most magical self, and I’m doing them more. And I think that’ pretty fucking great.
Enter the next installment of Pantry Magic: do-it-yourself smudge sticks.
I thought What the hell! Everyone’s out here making sourdough starter, might as well take the time to learn how to make your own smudge! The beauty of this recipe is that it’s SO sustainable. Many of these plants can be found at your local grocery store, planted in your garden, or just leftover from your culinary endeavours. For instance, I made my DIY smudge stick with herbs that were left over from making a roasted chicken recipe! Ina Garten, duh.
To make this easy, I’ve compiled a list of commonly found herbs and their intended benefits. Be sure to use organic ingredients as you will be burning these herbs and don’t want to be exposed to any harmful chemicals!
Rosemary - soothing, peaceful, release
Lemongrass - energy, clarity, focus.
Sage - cleansing, balance, peace.
Cinnamon - motivation, warmth, vitality.
Eucalyptus - protection, health, cleansing.
Bay Leaf - healing, protection, success.
Lavender - rest, relaxation, happiness.
Mint - soothing, revitalizing, light.
Clove: cleansing, psychic ability, spirituality.
Dill: protection, luck, opportunity.
Ginger: energy, cleansing, passion.
Thyme: clearing, cleansing, awakening.
Basil: power, protection, energy.
Rose: love, healing, calm.
Citrus rind: abundance, luck, energy.
- Cooking twine
- Your chosen herbs/plants
- Optional: an old smudge stick that has burned through
- A good playlist is key. Again, Lemonade works every time.
- Choose your herbs. Keep in mind, the properties of the herbs I’ve listed generally fall into two categories: more “energizing” or more “calming”. Feel free to mix them, but make sure it makes sense for *your* particular needs. Complementary herbs will be the most effective in achieving your desired results.
- The number of sprigs/leaves/petals you include in each smudge stick will determine how long your smudge stick will take to dry. For more immediate use, I recommend limiting the actual amount. Maybe even make multiple smaller smudge sticks if you have leftover plants.
- Wrap the twine around your bunch and tie off the loose ends.
- Remember that plants are living beings and can pick up on your vibes. Take this opportunity to think good thoughts and you’ll infuse your smudge stick with a positive intention and energy.
- If you have an old smudge stick, wrapping these herbs around it is a great way to repurpose. I like using old Palo Santo sticks that have burned through to get the most I can out of them!
- Using excess twine, hang the smudge stick somewhere upside down to dry. Preferably, find a place that catches sunlight AND moonlight to add a little extra dose of magic.
After about a week, your smudge stick should be ready for Beyonce bath time! Refer to this post again for a complete guide on how to smudge. If you have extras, it might be nice to give them away (safely) to friends with a note of encouragement. We could all use one right now.